REAP In Your Region: High Trestle Trail, Gray’s Lake, Chichaqua Bottoms and more

For the next six weeks, INHF will be sharing the impact Iowa’s REAP program has in communities throughout the state. The Iowa DNR is hosting regional REAP Assemblies until Nov. 5, local meetings that allow residents to learn more about REAP and play a role in the programs policies and projects.


Region 11
Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Marion, Polk, Story, Warren

REAP Assembly – Bondurant
Nov. 5, 2015 | Open house: 6-6:30 p.m., Assembly: 6:30-8 p.m.
Bondurant Public Library (104 2nd St. NE, Bondurant, IA 50035)



Chichaqua Bottoms

Located just east of Ankeny, the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt has been expanded and protected for decades. It is home to various types of wildlife, including migrating waterfowl and several rare and declining species. Straddling Polk and Jasper counties along the Skunk River, the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt now contains more than 9,100 acres of wetlands and associated uplands. The wetlands slowly filter out runoff and remove contaminants, producing clean and clear water. Truly, Chichaqua’s benefits to Iowa’s land and water go beyond outdoor recreation.

REAP funding for this project: $104,875

Region 11
Region REAP Support (total): $32,142,517


Parks of Gay Lea Wilson Trail

Featured on the Iowa By Trail app, Gay Lea Wilson Trail extends for 35 miles in Polk County, through Des Moines, Altoona, Pleasant Hill and Ankeny. Along the way, six parks–we feature five here–offer riders a chance to take a break and enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty. Continue reading

RAVE along the Great Western Trail

INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel (second from left) with volunteers at last year's Taco RAVE.

INHF Volunteer Coordinator Mary Runkel (second from left) with volunteers at last year’s Taco RAVE.

Do you like biking? Do you like conservation? And most importantly, do you like volunteering? Then you’re in luck!

INHF, Polk County, Warren County Conservation and Bike Month will host the second annual Taco RAVE at Great Western Trail on Tuesday, May 19. From 5 p.m. to sundown, you can not only enjoy a bike ride to support conservation but also participate in a Random Act of Volunteering for Earth by picking up trash and spreading prairie seed along the trail. RAVE programs get people directly involved with their natural areas.

Participants can stop at various booths along the trail to pick up prairie seed bombs, see a live raptor and take advantage of drink specials at Outskirtz, a bar on the trail near Orilla.

Those who participate will earn a free drink at the Cumming Tap.

Parking for the Taco RAVE will be available by Orlondo’s Bar and Grill at the trailhead on Valley Drive and George Flagg Parkway near Park Avenue.

Questions about INHF’s volunteer program? Contact Mary Runkel at or call 515-288-1846.


Around Iowa: Iowa’s Spectacular Spring

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Photo by Ty Smedes

Iowa’s Spectacular Spring – Tuesday, April 2 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Spring is the perfect time to watch songbirds migrate back to the Midwest from warmer climates. So grab a pair of binoculars and join nature writer and photographer Ty Smedes at Polk County’s Jester Park Lodge to learn more about these tiny birds and their annual migration. Continue reading

Around Iowa: Evening Prairie Burn & Mud Hike

Evening Prairie Burn – Thursday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Join the Warren County Conservation Board at Annett Nature Center and light up the night sky with an evening prairie burn. Learn about why these types of burns are important to prairie ecosystems and experience this conservation technique firsthand. Continue reading