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Great turnout for lodge cleanup

By Staff | May 5, 2011

A packed parking lot at Fort Defiance State Park Tuesday night was a great testament to the volunteers who showed up to clean the lodge and police the grounds in the surrounding area.

A lot of new folks showed up, a great sign in these troubled times of budget cuts at state and federal levels. At a summit last month in Des Moines, Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials laid out the hard reality – trying to do more with less is forcing the state to cut back in areas such as maintaining its state parks. And, while the DNR is committed to keeping all its state parks open, truly a noble effort, the money just isn’t there to hire the personnel to do a lot of things that the public has taken for granted in the past.

While the DNR will continue to maintain the lodge and campground through the summer, it will be up to volunteers – such as the Friends of Fort Defiance – to clean the lodge, bushwack weeds and spread wood chips on the Whitetail Ridge Interpretive trail and mow in areas not directly around the lodge.

Judging from Tuesday night’s turnout, the park should be in fine shape this summer.

And if you haven’t heard yet, the first-ever Fort Defiance Day will be 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 25. There will be tours of the interpretive trail, interactive exhibits and traditional games (anyone remember playing checkers with Grandpa?).

If you would like to help, just drop by the next work night 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17. You can also help by joining the Friends of Fort Defiance. Dues are only $10 a year for both individuals and families and may be sent to: Friends of Fort Defiance, P.O. Box 314, Estherville, IA 51334.

Fort Defiance State Park is truly a treasure and a valuable resource to our area. Your participation can make it even better.