Campaign to designate the Loess Hills as a National Reserve

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 18th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Loess Hills Alliance will be holding a series of public meetings to discuss the opportunity for a national reserve designation for the Loess Hills landform in western Iowa. If the land is designated as a national reserve, the region would be led by the locally-run Loess Hills Alliance, a 28-member board, and considered an affiliate of the National Park Service (NPS). The designation would provide landowners with access to additional financial assistance resources.

For the past fifteen years, the Loess Hills Alliance, which includes 21 members appointed by the County Boards of Supervisors from each of the 7 Loess Hills counties.has been protecting land in the Loess Hills and offering programs to help landowners with conservation of their land. The organization encourages tourism and residency in the Loess Hills, which supports small local businesses and agribusinesses in the region. The national reserve designation will allow the Loess Hills Alliance to provide increased technical, financial and program assistance to landowners, communities and local businesses.

The designation will also increase tourism and recreational opportunities that offer significant economic benefits. An estimated 1 million visitors travel the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway each year, stopping in the small towns and communities along the way. The Byway winds through prairie, woodland and farmland, offering scenic vistas and linking conservation areas. In partnership with the NPS, the Loess Hills Alliance can ensure that this natural treasure will be preserved for future generations of Iowans.

Meetings will be held in January to provide more information and to gather input from the public. All are invited to attend and join the discussion. More information about the Loess Hills Alliance can be found at www.loesshillsalliance.com.

The meetings will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

Fremont County: January 8th at the “Gathering Place”, 609 Cass Street, in Sidney.

Harrison County: January 20th at the Community Center, 200 Maple Street, in Mondamin.

Mills County: January 16th at the Senior Center, 20 North Vine Street, in Glenwood.

Monona County: January 14th at the Onawa Community Center, 300 10th Street,  in Onawa.

Pottawattamie County: January 9th at the Iowa School for the Deaf, LMC Community Room, 3501 Harry Langdon Boulevard, in Council Bluffs.

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