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Clayton, Hash named to Green Ribbon project

August 1, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

At Tuesday's meeting the Emmet County Board of Supervisors named Estherville city administrator Penny Clayton and county supervisor Roger Hash to the executive committee of GLAPER.

One major push of the project, which is an umbrella for many more projects, is to invite others to "Escape to the prairies and lakes of Northwest Iowa." The region has a pending website at The region includes six counties: Emmet, Palo Alto, Dickinson, Clay, O'Brien, and Buena Vista. The name comes from the fact that many of the celebrated natural resources in our region were the creation of glaciers about 12,000 years ago. Upon the retraction of the last glaciers, lakes, mashes, rich soils, and diverse plant and animal life remained, according to the project's regional master plan.

Get ready for some alphabet soup. According to the Northwest Iowa Planning & Development Commission (NWIPDC), GLAPER (the Glacial Lakes and Prairie Escapes Region) is this region's part of the Iowa Parks to People Initiative. The mission of the organization is to "enhance, promote, sustain, and connect" the natural assets of the six-county region that includes Emmet County.

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The numbers indicate a wealth of natural world for area residents and visitors to enjoy. The region includes 740 acres of city parks, 2,915 acres of county parks, and 730 acres of state parks, 75 miles of dedicated trails, 80 miles of water trails on the West Fork of the Des Moines River and 120 miles on the Little Sioux River, 42 lakes measured at 30,700 acres, 762 acres of state preserve, 36,000 acres of wildlife management areas, and 39 locations on the National Register of Historic Places.

NWIPDC is dedicating a staff person to oversee the initiative, serve as a liaison for the entities involved in the project, and assist with applying for funding for the many projects in the six counties.

The master plan includes priority initiatives, opportunity projects, and legacy goals, the latter of which are long-term projects slated for the next 10-25 years.

After narrowing the list of proposed projects to a select few, the strategy became to link projects together based on similarities to achieve the greatest regional impact.

The committee considered viability, including committed funds, pre-planning/engineering, and availability of resources; regional impact, asking how significant is the project to the development of a regional system of amenities, and connectivity, determining how well the project enhances current facilities, educational programs or infrastructure.

Projects slated for Emmet County include: canoe and boat access in Estherville; playground equipment in Joe Hoye Park, and a camping area within the city of Estherville.



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