This summer, Iowans are flocking to state parks in record numbers and enjoying their outdoor amenities and natural spaces. With extra visitors, state parks need more help to stay beautiful, ensure people are safe, and take care of natural resources.
Here’s 6 easy ways you can help care for Iowa state parks when you visit:
Carry Out Trash:
An increase in park visitors also means more garbage. Please “leave no trace” by bringing along trash bags and taking your leftover cans, plastics and other garbage home with you. If you are camping, please do not burn your garbage, which can cause extra messes and contaminate the air.
Stay on Trails: It’s tempting to explore seemingly untouched areas of parks, but it’s important to enjoy nature from the trails. Walking off trails causes soil erosion and can harm nearby ecosystems. Trails are designed with visitors in mind, so enjoy nature’s landscape while keeping both yourself and natural resources safe.
Pets on Leashes:
We love dogs! We really do. But they belong on leashes and off beaches. Dogs can harm natural areas, scare visitors and of course, poop where they shouldn’t. It’s illegal to have a dog off-leash or on any state park beach.
Harmony on the Beach:
Hot weather means lots of people visiting beaches. Please take care of your neighbors and be extra vigilant near the water. Do not bring glass containers or other sharp objects that could cause injury. Be aware of alcohol laws pertaining to certain park beaches, and bring life jackets for young children enjoying the water. And did we mention carrying out garbage?
Slow Your Roll:
Park roads often wind through natural areas and campgrounds, which means critters, bikers, hikers or children could unexpectedly cross your path. Please slow down and take care of animals and park visitors sharing the roadway with you.
See Something, Say Something:
Park staff are here to help. If there’s a tree limb across a trail, something broken, or any kind of suspicious activity, let someone know as soon as possible. Sharing your concerns helps everyone.
And finally, with COVID-19 still a health risk, please practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and stay home if feeling sick. Thanks for sharing the love and doing your part!