I would like to thank not only the Iowa DNR but the Estherville Daily News for their recognition of my recent award. But I believe the recognition actually should go to all the volunteers, groups and students I have worked with.
The Friends of Fort Defiance have made huge improvements at the park over the past four years. It's amazing what a few concerned citizens in the beginning have grown into, a group now totaling near 200. They have been involved with trail design, construction, and maintenance; upgrading the electrical system in the campground; bridge abutment stabilization; lodge preparation each spring; picnic table repairs and staining; grant writing; and a large list of other park maintenance items.
Professor Gary Phillips of ?Iowa Lakes Community College, his students and the Conservation Club have been heavily involved with ecosystem management for over 20 years at the park and have donated 1,000s of hours of service to Fort Defiance. They assist with prairie burns, trail design and construction, invasive species management, and timber management. Others at ILCC have helped at the park too. The Construction Services students from Emmetsburg constructed the kiosk at the west parking lot and this past weekend the ILCC Wind Energy and Turbine Technology Club assisted with cleanup along the roadways after the tree damage from our first snow.
Every year the local Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts help at the park. They always contact me to see what they can do for a service project at the park when they're on the annual campout. Inman Electric and Iowa Lakes Electric COOP were crucial in the campground electrical upgrade, donating time, equipment, and some materials to the project. The City of Estherville helped with wood chips for the new interpretive trail. And all the individuals that walk the roadways and hike the trails that pick up litter and move a branch to the side make my job just that much easier.
I believe credit shold go where it is due and I'd like to thank all of the individuals and groups named above along with those I may have missed for their dedication to keeping Fort Defiance State park a place of natural beauty.
Steve Reighard Sr.
Iowa DNR?Park Ranger