Meetings planned to discuss future of Iowa state parks

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 3rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting a dozen public meetings to discuss the future of Iowa’s state parks. Kevin Szcodronski, state parks bureau chief with the DNR, says the forums will help the agency develop a five-year plan to improve the parks’ amenities. The meetings are taking place this month at 12 state parks. “It’s just an open book meeting, if you will, to get a good idea of what the people who use that park are thinking about that park’s future,” Szcodronski said. Two of the public meetings were held Monday in Creston and Tuesday in Boone. Ten more meetings remain – including two forums Thursday night at Gull Point State Park near Spencer and Backbone State Park near Strawberry Point.

Although improvements at state parks can be costly, participants are encouraged to bring all their ideas. “We specifically ask people in attendance, if money was no object, what would you like to see in that park? We’re thinking into the future quite a ways, so you really can’t let finances deter you,” Szcodronski said. At the same time, park users are being asked to be reasonable with their requests. “After they get done with their wish list…then we ask them, ‘O.K., given money is a factor, what should we focus on?’ We kind of bring them a little back to reality and talk about some of the top priorities that are within reasonable means,” Szcodronski said.

Upcoming meeting dates/locations:
Oct. 4 Gull Point
Oct. 4 Backbone
Oct. 8 Stone
Oct. 9 George Wyth
Oct. 9 Rock Creek
Oct. 9 Pleasant Creek
Oct. 11 Wapello
Oct. 11 Bellevue
Oct. 15 Waubonsie
Oct. 18 Prairie Rose (meeting to be held at the First Baptist Church in Harlan at 6pm, not at the Park itself)**

Learn more at www.iowadnr.gov

(Radio Iowa)