According to the calendar it’s still winter, but with a few days of 65 degree weather, the recent announcement of camping and RV reservations opening, as well as the incredible recreational updates taking place all over Clarke County, the outdoor activity bug has officially bitten!
Scott Kent, Clarke County Conservation Board Director, has been working tirelessly on major improvements to the campgrounds at East Lake Park as well as other locations around Clarke County. But without the ongoing support of local community members, organizations and businesses, he and his team wouldn’t have been able to accomplish seasonal preparations around the county.
Starting in 2017 with a $27,000 Pillars Grant from Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC), the Conservation Board had the financial momentum to pursue $100,000 of additional Federal Land and Conservation funding and to gather local business donations and community grants to build a campground that would attract travel and tourism dollars from around the Midwest.
“Scott’s passion for the improvement of the park and campgrounds is infectious,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “His ability to rally the community around these amazing projects shows his dedication and love for Clarke County, Iowa.”
The new East Lake Park camping area now consists of 25 independent sites, all set up for recreational vehicle/RV hookup. Each site supports dedicated water hookups, electrical access to 20, 30 and 50 amp connections, and central access to an environmentally green waste dump site. Also new to the campground area is a large, state-of-the-art men’s and women’s restroom and shower house with stainless steel countertops donated by Osceola’s Iowa Steel. The restrooms and showers also include full hot and cold plumbing.
Addressing every detail to the renovation of the campgrounds, Kent had custom campsite markers created which will adorn the sites and help location and registration coordination. Each campsite will be numbered and named in recognition of a tree native to Clarke County and that tree will also be planted on the corresponding site. The signs were created and donated to the Conservation Board by the team at Altec.
“We wanted to create a true community destination camp area,” said Scott Kent. “Clarke County now can compete with campsites all over the Midwest for amenities and access to other activities.”
Registration for the campground and shelters, is currently open for East Lake Park with camping starting April 15th and although the updates to the park are ongoing, Kent says the campgrounds will be ready for Spring and upcoming holiday travelers. Campers simply need to go to www.mycountyparks.com to start the reservation process.
With almost a mile of paved trail from East Lake Park to the Elementary School, connecting to the extended Osceola and Safe Routes to School trail system, anyone looking for walking, jogging or biking opportunities won’t be disappointed. As progress continues on the trails, users can take advantage of trail markers donated by Altec as well as the benches supplied through the Clarke Community Schools Industrial Tech Advisory Board. Throughout the campground will be 10 new picnic tables made from recycled plastic that were sourced through funds raised with Hy-Vee and Fareway as part of the Iowa Grocery Bag Association.
With temperatures slowly climbing and spring break and holidays quickly approaching, the campsites, trails and outdoor activities available throughout Clarke County are ready for recreational use. Now is the time to get your plans put together to take advantage of everything Clarke County, Iowa has to offer. If you and your family are looking to get back into nature and spend some quality time at one of the Midwest’s best campgrounds, be sure to check out the reservation system at www.mycountyparks.com.