outdoor recreation

Vincent Delegge / UNSPLASH

Nate Sherwood grew up in a time when skateboarding was viewed as rebellious and countercultural. Now skateboarding is viewed in an entirely different light with clinics for young skaters, family skateboard outings, and cities all across Iowa constructing skateparks. This fall the City of Des Moines will be opening the Lauridsen Skatepark, which will be the largest skatepark in the United States with 88,000 square-feet of skatable surface.  

Iowa DNR

High water and swift currents on Iowa rivers are prompting Department of Natural Resources officials to warn kayakers and canoers to find other options.

Todd Robertson is an outreach coordinator for river programs. He said the conditions are dangerous, especially for rookies.

"Make sure you know how to control your boat properly, that you’re an efficient paddler," he said. "The best way to do that is to stay off of moving water and start practicing on flat water. Right now with the way rivers are, flat water and lakes are the safest place to be."

Iowa DNR

A group of state, federal and local law enforcement officers will join forces Friday through Sunday to draw attention to the hazards of boating while intoxicated.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Boating Law Administrator, Susan Stocker, says the effort called Operation Dry Water will use random check points on several of the state's lakes and rivers. She said they'll be especially looking for boaters who've had too much to drink.

andremuc71 / Flickr

There are no National Parks in Iowa, and few across the Midwest. Joe Schomberg, a Fort Dodge native living in Chicago wants to change that.

Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is sponsoring free fishing this weekend. State residents can try fishing without buying a license Friday through Sunday.

DNR Chief of Fisheries, Joe Larscheid, said there are a number of activities planned designed to help make memories.

Cyclists ride across the High Trestle Trail bridge near Madrid, Iowa.
Phil Roeder / Flickr

A plan to create a nationwide trail network for hiking and cycling includes a winding route through Iowa, from Davenport to Council Bluffs. The Great American Rail Trail was mapped out by the non-profit Rail Trail Conservancy and builds off of the state’s existing trail network.

Courtesy of Orange City Tulip Festival

A northwest Iowa town will bloom with Dutch heritage starting Thursday as people celebrate the 79th annual Tulip Festival in Orange City.

Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has unveiled a new online hunting and fishing license system.

DNR Customer Service Supervisor Alex Cross said the new system called Go Outdoors Iowa also offers a free app with handy connections to a number of sources.

Michael Leland/IPR

If you don’t mind the cold, tomorrow could be a good day for a hike.  More than two dozen Iowa state parks are hosting so-called First Day Hikes New Year's Day -- free hikes guided by park staff. Hikers will get the chance to experience the quiet beauty of nature in winter, spectacular views, and a host of cultural treasures offered by Iowa’s state parks.

Courtesy of Sioux City https://www.sioux-city.org/home/showdocument?id=17457

Sioux City hopes to draw more people into the city by making part of its riverfront more fun and interesting.

YMCA Camp Wapsie

YMCA Camp Wapsie has just wrapped up summer camp, for the 100th time. The Eastern Iowa camp is celebrating its centennial year of bringing youth outdoors for a week of adventure, fun and friendship.

To get a sense of how Wapsie has been successful in establishing a camp culture that transforms generations of campers into counselors and staff, we asked Maxwell Meyer and Sami Therme, both of Iowa City, to keep audio diaries of their experiences as counselors for some of the oldest and youngest campers.

The Kids' Ultimate Adventure Book

Jan 5, 2018
Lotzman Katzman/Flickr

There are so many ways for kids and their parents to experience and learn about nature. Splashing in a puddle, examining a spiderweb, listening to night sounds, and following animal tracks are all examples. But what to do in the winter? 

photo submitted

More people than ever are enjoying Iowa's trails and waterways, but because of state funding cuts, there are Iowans concerned about the future of those waterways. In this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Brian Morelli, Gazette Reporter who recently examined this issue in "An Unclear Path for Outdoor Recreation."

Louis / Flickr

From canvas tents to Class C motorhomes, how we camp is changing as technology improves and the outdoor industry adapts military technology for use by the average consumer. 

Recreational camping became a hobby in the United States after the Civil War when wealthy business owners would hire guides to take them up into the Adirondack Mountains. That’s according to Martin Hogue, who teaches landscape architecture in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York in Syracuse and is author of the forthcoming book Thirtyfour Campgrounds.

Flickr

Floating down the river on an inner tube is a common way to escape the summer heat. However, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has some advice to make your trip a smooth ride.

The DNR’s Todd Robertson says even though you’re surrounded by water, you still need to consume plenty of fluids.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Cannon

Steve Cannon, originally from Mediapolis, became the first person to run all the way around Lake Michigan in 2012. He’s written about the experience in his new book “40 Days.”

When he set out on the run, it was three times longer than any other run he’d begun.

“Setting records isn’t really that difficult if you choose something dumb enough that nobody else would try it,” Cannon laughs.

Olivia Godfrey

The 2015 high school cross country season is drawing to a close. The state meet will be hosted this weekend in Fort Dodge, and this marks the first year that girls and boys will race the same distance.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has slowly been increasing the distance high school girls race, at the dismay of some rural coaches who warned that the move to a 5k instead of a 4k could destroy the sport. 

Courtest of 261 Fearless

Runner and author Kathrine Switzer first made headlines in 1967 when the Boston Marathon race commissioner yanked her from the course by her sweatshirt. Today, she’s written three books and tours the world spreading her message that anybody can run a marathon. She was keynote speaker at the IMT Marathon in Des Moines’ pasta dinner which took place Sunday, October 18.

She says it was great to see so many women running the marathon in Des Moines given the fact that women have really only recently been able to enter those races.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

This summer at camps across Iowa, some kids are exploring the outdoors, some kids are crafting art projects, and some kids are designing hovercraft.

At the University of Iowa's Belin Blank Center, a group of preteens are working with Mark Ginsberg of M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art to make working hovercrafts with Computer Aided Design and 3-D printing. Ginsberg says this is the first step towards the technology of the future.

Gene Alexander, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Lots of us like to go camping for the weekend, but what about for several weeks or months at a time?

Instead of dealing with leases and temporary housing as a part of his season with the Iowa Cubs, Blake Cooper, a pitcher for the Iowa Cubs, decided to live with his wife in a camper at the Adventureland campground in Altoona.

Katherine Perkins / Iowa Public Radio

Summer Program Director at the Des Moines YMCA Camp Alex Kretzinger says its difficult to develop schedules for summer camp not knowing when school will start next fall.

Courtesy of Lisa Uhl

Fort Dodge native and professional runner Lisa Uhl is hoping to make her mark in the marathon in the next Olympic games.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

On a cold, blustery day in Dubuque, Iowa, a giggly, 5-year old named Etta McCarthy was bundled up in pink snow gear at Bunker Hill Golf Course. 

Iowa DNR

If you’re looking for a healthy way to start the New Year, take a hike. IPRs Julie Englander spoke with Todd Coffelt, the bureau chief for state parks with the Department of Natural Resources. He says on January first, Iowa State Parks are participating in America’s State Park’s First Day Hikes…

For more information on Iowa State Parks First Day Hike go to the Iowa Department Natural Resources events calendar at www.iowadnr.gov.

When Robert Buckely reached retirement, he decided he needed a new adventure and started walking... hundreds of miles in multiple countries.  He has now completed four super long distance hikes, the last one at the age of 70.  He's written about his experiences in the book Two Miles an Hour.

Invasive Species: Air and Water

Jul 18, 2013
U.S. Forestry Service Region 5

The Emerald Ash Borer is spreading through Iowa.  It has now been found in Burlington.  Hear how the insect spreads and what is being done about it.  New rules are in effect for boaters on Iowa's waterways aimed at preventing the spread of invasive plants and animals.

Also, in the second half of the program, we talk about a Cuban baseball player that defected to the U.S. while in Des Moines.  And we wrap up the hour with a discussion about the weather and how Iowa's crops are reacting.

Safety on the Water

Jun 18, 2013
Peter Roome

Last week a man was killed in a boating incident on the Cedar River, and over the weekend a man had a close call while trying to rescue a child on Clear Lake.  What are the rules and what are the good and bad ideas on the water?  Also, hear about preventing recreational water illnesses.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

Officials with Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois are voting on whether to downsize four of their Girl Scout camps. The proposal is a step back from an earlier plan, to sell all four camps entirely. Girl Scouts officials say today's girls want a more modern camping experience.

There are certain traditions that are essential to being a Girl Scout: reciting the Girl Scout Pledge, selling cookies, and – for many girls over many decades – going to summer camp.

Grant and Denise Stejskal

This week Hy-Vee's retired chairman and CEO, Ric Jurgens, was honored by the Food Marketing Institute. On the first half of this River to River show, host Ben Kieffer listens back to his 2012 interview with Jurgens about the evolution of food shopping.

Adapting Well

Jun 17, 2012
Pat Blank

As athletes around the world fine tune their skills in order to compete in the London Olympics, another much smaller, specialized group has just completed a four day camp in Cedar Falls.  Iowa Public Radio’s Pat Blank takes us to the Adapted Sports Camp at UNI.