The Friends of Fort Defiance, working in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, have made significant strides in park improvements, Friends President John Wittneben told Estherville Kiwanians Tuesday.
"It's a good marriage," Wittneben said.
Wittneben said the local Friends group initially scraped and painted 52 picnic tables two years ago. Later, the group built a low-grade trail starting from the native prairie area on the east side of the park, following Spring Creek to the main trail area at School Section Creek.
The group has also helped put in two more additional trails this year, an equestrian trail on the park's south side and an interpretive trail on the west side of the park. Iowa Lakes Conservation Studies students raised funds for materials which college Construction Trades students used to build a new interpretive kiosk.
Wittneben said that during trail construction and other projects the Friends have discovered a number of Civilian Conservation Corps artifacts throughout the park. The CCC built the park in 1930 and continued to maintain it until World War II.
The Iowa Department of
Natural Resources, owner and overseer of the park, this fall plans to upgrade electrical service from 20 to 50 amps on eight sites at the campground.
Friends memberships are available for $5 yearly or $10 for families. To join, send a check to: Friends of Fort Defiance, Membership Committee, P.O. Box 314, Estherville, IA 51334.