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Friends projects greatly benefit park

April 24, 2015
Estherville News

If you haven't visited Fort Defiance State Park on the southwest side of Estherville - or haven't visited it for a while - you should do so right away.

With a lot of help from a lot of great people and organizations, including grants from the Emmet County Community Foundation, Excel Estherville, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, the Friends of Fort Defiance have been able to publish brochures, install park benches, build trails, upgrade the campground electrical service, help get rid of invasive species, repair and stain picnic tables, clean the lodge, reroof and stain the uprights on the picnic shelter, do bank stabilization on School Section Creek, do trail work, lay dock sections across both Spring Creek and School Section Creek, clean up storm debris and do many other projects.

A huge partner has been Gary Phillips' environmental studies class at Iowa Lakes Community College. The students have participated in cutting back and trimming trees, doing controlled burns, getting rid of invasive species and building the Whitetail Ridge Interpretive Trail.

Compared to other state parks, Fort Defiance is in excellent condition - due mainly to an excellent relationships the Friends have with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and area organizations and volunteers. It's not easy maintaining several hundred acres. But that's what these people have done.

We urge you to consider joining the Friends of Fort Defiance - and even better, become a volunteer. The group meets at the park the first and third Tuesday of every month, working from 6-8 p.m. The more volunteers, the easier the work becomes and more projects will get done.

Memberships are just $10 a year and may be sent to: Friends of Fort Defiance, P.O. Box 314, Estherville, IA 51334. Proceeds from memberships, donations and memorials go to park improvements.



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