Central Iowa Sierra Group




PLEASE CALL THE OUTING LEADER IF YOU PLAN TO GO ON ANY OUTINGS.  This helps the outing leader plan and alerts you to possible changes.  Everyone, including non-members, is welcome to attend programs and outings. Children are also welcome to attend with their parents or caretakers unless otherwise indicated by the outing leader.  In order to participate in an outing, you (or your parent or guardian if under 18) will need to sign a liability waiver.  To read a copy of the waiver, please call 415-977-5630.  Carpooling on outings is encouraged but is strictly a private arrangement among participants, and participants assume all risks associated with such travel.  All telephone numbers in this listing are area code 515 unless otherwise indicated.





Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

Meet in the parking lot of the Pleasant Hill McDonalds at 6:15 p.m. or arrive at the Refuge about 6:30 p.m. to hike the Tallgrass Trail. Catch glimpses of butterflies and songbirds among the summer prairie.  Afterward, take an optional drive through the bison range to perhaps get an up-close look at these large prairie inhabitants.  Contact Karen by email at kktigges@live.com or call 515-865-8773 to sign up and get directions. Difficulty level: easy to moderate. 



Annett Nature Center, Warren County

Meet at Southridge Mall in Des Moines at 6:15 p.m. in the northeast parking lot near Petco and we will carpool from there.  This is a lovely place near Lake Ahquabi with mowed paths which includes prairie areas, wetlands and woodlands.  Contact Peggy at 285-6864 or peggybrowndm@gmail.com for information or to sign up.  Difficulty:  moderate



Des Moines Water Works Park

We will meet at the old footbridge over the Raccoon River which is along the main road through the park. There is a small parking lot at the bridge. The hike area may be "off the path" into a tall grassy area plus a marshy area, continuing on through a wooded area.  To get to the park take Fleur Drive and enter at the 4 way stoplight just across from Gray's Lake, then travel through the park for approximately a mile to the bridge.  Level of event: easy to moderate. You may also enter from George Flagg Parkway.  Contact Jackie at 577-0375 for information or to confirm walk.



Sand Hill Prairie Hike, Chichaqua Bottoms

Loren Lown, an ecologist with Polk County Conservation, has generously agreed to lead a hike at Sand Hill Prairie in northeast Polk County. The theme of this guided hike will be “Repairing Natural Systems.” As Loren says, “Drainage ditches, invasive species, herbicide and nutrient inputs from surrounding land, lack of major predators and herbivores, and many other factors make restoring natural systems a challenging task.”


We'll learn how he and other Polk County naturalists are managing this area of “restored” wilderness in our own backyard while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act as a nation.  This informative and fun hike will be a fundraiser for the Central Iowa Sierra Group, with a goodwill donation of $10 per person suggested. Treats and refreshments following the hike will be provided, but please be sure to bring enough water to drink while out on the trail. Families are encouraged to attend.


Sand Hill Prairie is part of the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, which is a half hour northeast of Des Moines near Elkhart and Bondurant. The Prairie entrance is located on 118th Avenue, west of 112th Street. To get there, travel out Highway 65/330 past Bondurant and across the Skunk River and take the first road on your left (NE 112th). Travel north to the first road on your left (less than a mile) and turn left on NE 118th Ave. The parking lot for Sand Hill is one-half mile west on 118th.  Difficulty:  Moderate, mowed trail.


So that we can have enough treats and refreshments for everyone, please contact the outing leader if you plan to attend.  Contact Karen by email at kktigges@live.com or call 515-865-8773.



Summerset State Park

Meet at Summerset State Park south of Des Moines at 6:30 p.m.  To get to the park, travel five miles south of Des Moines on Highway 69—there is a posted sign pointing east.  Meet at the public restroom just inside the park gates. This hike will take approximately 60 minutes on a level trail.  Difficulty level: easy to moderate. Contact George at 745-7563 for more information.





Full Moon Fundraising Hike

Red Feather Prairie, Saylorville

We will hike the Neal Smith Trail through Red Feather Prairie, just north of the Saylorville Lake Visitor’s Center. Watch the full moon rise over the prairie while it is reflected in the lake. The prairie is at its peak in the late summer and fall; come see the variety of native grasses and wildflowers there. Some of the species often seen in bloom in September include showy goldenrod, sky blue aster, hairy aster, upland white aster, rigid goldenrod, saw-tooth sunflower, great blue lobelia, and bottle gentian.


Meet at the small parking lot at NW 90th Avenue, just west off of Highway 415. Upon our return to the parking lot we will enjoy refreshments by moonlight. We encourage a goodwill donation of $10. Please show your appreciation for our hikes, the hike leaders, and the work of our Central Iowa Group by joining our walk and donating generously. Contact Etta at 778-3495 or ettalgeorge@msn.com or Jackie at 577-0375 for more information or for directions and RSVP. Difficulty level: Easy.  PLEASE pass this message on to anyone you know who enjoys a walk in the outdoors.



Bike Ride, Chichaqua Valley Trail

Meet at the Chichaqua Valley Trailhead just to the northeast off Highway 65/330 past Bondurant at 1:00 PM.  We’ll ride to Baxter or until the group wants to turn around whichever comes first. It is about 10 miles to Baxter so that would be a 20 mile round trip unless we turn around sooner.  Contact Penny at pennytks@gmail.com for more information.



Wild Places in Polk County

September 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  Loren Lown, an ecologist with Polk County Conservation, will present a program about “wildness” and wild places in our own backyard, especially in Polk County Conservation properties.   According to Loren, he’ll share a bit of   nature near the metro—about 1,300 acres in Polk County—some very nice natural areas.  Central Iowa Sierra public programs are held at Northwest Community Center, 51st Street and Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.  Contact Jane at jrclark@radiks.net or 223-5047 or Karen at kktigges@live.com or 865-8773 for more information about this program.



Yellow Banks County Park Hike

Meet in the parking lot near the Park Ranger's house just 50 yards inside to the left of the main gate at Yellow Banks County Park in the southeast corner of Polk County.  From there we will drive back to the west, travel 30yards to a small sign leading downhill to the boat launch. Once on the Des Moines River bank, we can hike about a total of  90 minutes west along the sandy beach for stunning sights.  Sunscreen, binoculars, and a Frisbee would be welcome! Over the years, along this stretch of riverbank, eagles, egret, a fox, deer, wild turkey and a variety of waterbirds (even Pelicans!) all have been personally sighted here. No need to RSVP, just come out.  Call George 745-7563 if questions.  Difficulty:  Moderate.






The Iowa Chapter annual luncheon will be held Saturday, October 4 at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City in central Iowa.  There will be a luncheon, a featured speaker and an opportunity for hiking.  See page one of the Iowa Sierran newsletter and watch for updates at our website [iowa.sierraclub.org].



Solar Energy Program and Fundraising Auction

Join us in the lunchroom in the NW Community Center for our silent auction fundraiser and a program by Tim Dwight of the Iowa Solar/Small Wind Energy Trade Association (ISETA).  He'll talk about how solar energy is produced, and how a new Iowa law provides improved tax credits for solar panel installation.  See Tim's article on page one of this newsletter section.  We'll start at 6:30 with the auction, followed by Tim's program.  Central Iowa Sierra public programs are held at Northwest Community Center, 51st Street and Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.  Contact Karen at kktigges@live.com or call 865-8773 for more information about the program.



Maplelag Resort, Callaway, MN

Initial sign-up is due in October

Go north January 29- February 1, 2015, for a weekend of cross-country skiing on 64 kilometers of groomed trails at this secluded, family-operated resort near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, voted No. 1 in North America. Ski trails of varying length and difficulty (from beginner to advanced) wind through forests, wetlands, and along lake shores. Amenities include the largest hot tub in Minnesota, steam room, saunas, massage therapists, and a library and game room in the main lodge,. All-you-can-eat gourmet meals are served family style in the stained-glass-lined dining room. Between meals, refuel from the free beverage bar and bottomless cookie jars. Brush up on your ski skills with a personalized lesson, or enjoy snow shoeing, ice skating or kick-sledding as well. Our accommodations are in the Northern Pacific Lodge in the spacious, knotty-pine-styled Miles City suite with a living room, 16 beds in 4 sleeping rooms (with accommodations for singles, couples, and small families), 3 bathrooms w/ showers, and a view of the lake.

Two departure options: Leave Thursday morning and arrive at Maplelag in the late afternoon, or leave Thursday evening (with a motel stay in the Twin Cities area Thursday night) and arrive at Maplelag by Friday noon. Return home Sunday after lunch and arrive home Sunday evening. Carpooling may be an option. The $355 fee ($109-$199 for children & teens) includes 2 nights lodging and 6 meals (Friday afternoon through Sunday lunch) and is payable to Maplelag at the end of your stay. You can add the additional night Thursday with three additional meals for $89 more ($15-$45 for children & teens). A 10% additional discount applies for families. Cross-country ski and snowshoe rental, ski waxing, ski lessons, and massages available for additional charges. Initial deposit of $100/person or $250/family due by October 31 to guarantee your spot (and make check payable to Maplelag). You may still be able to sign up after that date if space is available.  Deposits are non-refundable but transferable. Skill level: None required. Difficulty level: Easy to strenuous, depending on trails/activities selected. Contact Doug at 515-277-1263 or dra427(at)mchsi(dot)com to sign up. Go to www.maplelag.com for more information about the resort as well.





America’s Arctic – A Priceless Heritage

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain is a vital habitat for some of the world’s most beloved birds as well as caribou, polar bears and more. The Arctic Ocean is a vulnerable region, and home to polar bears, walrus and bowhead whales. America’s Arctic ecosystem in Alaska is unique – we will explore these special places and the ongoing efforts to protect or destroy these national treasures.  Come hear about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and America’s Arctic Ocean and what concerned citizens across the country can do to celebrate the natural connection we all have with these special places.  Lois Norrgard, presenting this program, is the Alaska Wilderness League’s Upper Midwest Field Representative, one of 7 outreach staff people across the country, and also coordinates the Alaska Coalition in the region. The Alaska Coalition is a nationwide coalition of over 1500 conservation, sporting, business, labor and religious groups working together to protect Alaska's wild public land.  Central Iowa Sierra public programs are held at Northwest Community Center, 51st Street and Franklin Avenue in Des Moines.  Contact Jane at jrclark@radiks.net or 223-5047 or Karen at kktigges@live.com or 865-8773 for more information about this program.





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