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Boone Forks Region is a natural wonder

There are some wonderful outdoor surprises awaiting anyone who thinks Iowa is just acre after acre of corn and soybean fields.

Right here in the Fort Dodge region there are two scenic rivers. The Des Moines River flows through Webster County while the Boone River flows through Hamilton County.

Than there are the area parks that offers forests for shade, trails to explore and places to enjoy a picnic. Chief among those parks are Dolliver Memorial State Park and Brushy Creek State Recreation Area, both in Webster County, and Briggs Woods Recreation Area in Hamilton County. Dolliver Memorial State Park, named after former U.S. Sen. Jonathon Dolliver and built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps, offers a dose of history along with the natural beauty.

For those who like a little motorized recreation, there’s Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park in Webster County, which has trails for ATVs and dirt bikes, along with camping spots.

In 2010, the state Department of Cultural Affairs recognized the recreational and cultural assets of Hamilton and Webster counties by adding them to the Iowa Great Places program. The two counties came together as the Boone Forks Region to enter the the program.

Boone County was subsequently added to the program.

Recently, the state agency re-desiginated the Boone Forks Region as an Iowa Great Place.

The practical result of that listing is eligibility for grants to promote and enhance the Boone Forks Region. The district previously received a $90,000 grant that paid for signs at the various parks and gateway entrances to other areas.

Local officials are now focusing on marketing the wonders of the Boone Forks Region to the rest of the state and nation.

Being named to the Iowa Great Places program again has brought a measure of prestige to the area. Local residents should be proud.

Area residents should also help to take care of the natural wonders that earned the area that desigination. That means, among other things, picking up litter and being careful with campfires.

Together, we can make the Boone Forks Region a treasure for generations to come.

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