Due to the higher traffic during the pandemic, the nature center noticed more wear and tear throughout the park — from infrastructure to the ecosystems that call the park home. Over the past 10 years, the park has seen a 500% increase in visitors, according to a press release.
“Loess soil found at Hitchcock and along the western edge of Iowa was formed by glaciers and wind that blew dust and silt into high dunes during the last ice age, which ended about 12,000 years ago,” the release said.
According to the release, the new updates include:
Forty new parking spaces near the Moonseed and Boardwalk trailheads and expanded overflow lot, as well as ADA-compliant parking near the Loess Hills Lodge.
Roads have been widened in several areas for safer two-way travel.
The widened main park entrance now allows for two-way travel in and out of the park.
There are now two main entrance lanes and a total of four entrance-fee pay stations.
“Parking and roadway improvements help ensure visitors can more safely and efficiently experience the beauty of the Loess Hills while protecting this landform that dates back to the last ice age and is found in only two places in the world,” the release said.
Pottawattamie Conservation said they knew that parking and road updates were necessary to continue to protect the park.
“As conservationists and public servants, it’s our job to ensure that the public can experience the Loess Hills in a way that balances the needs of our guests with the needs of this incredible natural resource.” said Jeff Franco, Pottawattamie Conservation deputy director in the release. “This project improves the safety and efficiency of our park while minimizing impacts on the land, creating a better visitor experience for our guests today, tomorrow and for the generations to come.”
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