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Celebrating 100 Years Of Iowa State Parks

Waubonsie State Park in Hamburg
Michael Leland
Waubonsie State Park in Hamburg

A century of stewardship 1920-2020

Iowa’s landscape is the most altered of any state in the nation. Our native tall grass prairie was plowed under for agriculture and very little of it remains, but even as the land was being tamed and altered some people had the vision and foresight to preserve some of Iowa’s wildness. The result is the Iowa State Parks system, now celebrating 100 years.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe looks back at how the parks were created. Because of the pandemic, the centennial celebration hasn’t been exactly what it was planned to be, but with more and more people turning to nature for recreation and solace, our state parks are more important and beloved than ever. This spring the book "Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship 1920-2020" was released by author Rebecca Conard as one of the many ways to celebrate this anniversary.


  • Rebecca Conard, professor emeritus Middle Tennessee State University, author of “Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship 1920-2020"
  • Kevin Szcodronski, former chief of parks for Iowa State Parks
  • Angela Corio, former Iowa State Parks planner
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River