Nearly $3 million in renovations and new features are being unveiled at a state park in central Iowa. A celebration is planned on July 17 at Big Creek State Park, which located about 11 miles north of Des Moines. Greg Van Fossen, State Parks District Supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the park draws more than 350,000 people each year.
He’s hoping the changes will highlight the variety of recreational activities that are offered at the park. “There’s more to Big Creek than just the swimming beach,” Van Fossen says. “The swimming beach facility is one of the best in the state. It’s the largest beach in the state park system, but there are other things that go on out there. There’s boating, fishing, hiking, and bicycling…there are about seven miles of trails that run through Big Creek.”
Big Creek is one of only a few state parks without camping, but it’s still a popular destination – primarily because of the 822-acre Big Creek Lake. The improvements include three large shelters that can each accommodate roughly 200 people. “That was a problem in the past,” Van Fossen says. “There were three shelters there before, but they were very small and they didn’t accommodate large groups as well as small groups that well.”
Other improvements include nine new cabana shelters on the beach, new restroom facilities, and renovations to four of the lake’s five boat ramps. Van Fossen says more than $425,000 has been invested to improve the water quality of the lake, with an additional $580,000 yet to be spent. The celebration on July 17, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. A dedication program will take place at 4:15 p.m. in shelter #3.