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Backbone State Park celebrates 100 years with dedication ceremony, sign unveiling

  • 7/28/2020 12:29:00 PM
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DUNDEE, IA – With the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks in full swing, Backbone State Park celebrated its centennial with a re-dedication ceremony on Friday, July 24. Local community members joined Governor Kim Reynolds, DNR Director Kayla Lyon and park staff for the ceremony, which took place in front of the park’s newly renovated Beach Lodge. 

The ceremony included a Governor’s Proclamation announcing 2020 as the Iowa state park centennial.

“Early conservationists and state leaders sought to protect Iowa’s most unique and historically significant natural spaces,” said Kayla Lyon, DNR Director. “We are proud to continue this tradition, as Iowans appreciate Backbone and all Iowa state parks for their contributions to quality of life in our state.” 

Mike Carr, grandson of the original landowner who donated the Backbone park land, spoke about the history of Backbone, while Roger Helmrichs, president of the Backbone State Park Friends group, presented a time capsule to be opened in 100 years.  

According to Lyon, the centennial celebration is also about planning for the future, which included launching a new “look and feel” to state park signage. “We have created a master plan that provides consistent, recognizable and welcoming signage for Iowa’s state parks,” said Lyon. The DNR unveiled the design with a new portal sign at Backbone’s south entrance.

Also recognized in the ceremony was a $650,000 grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant helped restore several CCC-era buildings including the historic beach lodge, boat house and auditorium, along with other improvements, in time for the park’s centennial celebration.  

Backbone State Park was Iowa’s first state park, originally dedicated on May 28, 2020. Iowa is home to more than 70 state parks and forests. For more information about Iowa state parks, visit Visitors can also sign up for the Iowa State Park Passport at: