Iowa will open its 89th state park this summer and the public is, for the first time, being asked to name it. A contest is underway now to come up with a fitting title for the park, located in southern Iowa’s Warren County between Indianola and Des Moines. The D-N-R’s Heather Cline says the name has to meet a few criteria. The park can be named after an individual, living or dead, who has made a significant contribution to the state parks system during his or her lifetime. It can also be named for an historical event related to the area, an indigenous culture or after a biological or geological feature of the area — like rivers or trails. Cline says this is only the second state park in the past 27 years to be dedicated and the first to be named by the public.The park is currently known as the Banner Wildlife Area but will become a state park after some major upgrades are complete. Established in 1954, it will be outfitted with several new attractions while other features are enhanced. Cline says a two-mile paved scenic bike trail will link the park to an existing bike trail between Carlisle and Indianola. She says there’ll also be three miles of mountain bike trails within the park itself. There are two boat ramps providing access to two ponds, measuring 15 and 59 acres. The area will be stocked with trout during the winter, becoming central Iowa’s only trout fishery. Picnic areas are also being built in addition to a shooting range with a concession stand. Contest entries can be mailed to Name the Park Contest; Iowa DNR; 502 East 9th Street; Des Moines, IA 50319 or on-line at “www.iowadnr/parks/info/nameform.html”. Deadline to enter is April 21.
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