Things are heating up at the parks with lots of events for you to enjoy in April and May! For all you eager campers out there, the campgrounds are almost ready to open fully for the season so keep an eye on our social media and website for updates. With it being National Volunteer Month, we also want to take a moment to thank our amazing volunteers! We truly couldn't do it without so many hardworking and passionate folks by our side who help make Pottawattamie Conservation parks extra special.
April 23rd is Free Entry Fee Day at the Parks!
Visit any Pottawattamie Conservation park free of charge.
Have you been meaning to get out and explore the outdoors this year, but haven’t made time for it? Are you looking for a new spot to enjoy your favorite nature activities? Here’s your sign!

In honor of Earth Day, we will be waiving park entry fees on Saturday, April 23rd. Bring your friends and family and enjoy all the beauty our county parks have to offer!
Please note that all other park fees, like camping, will remain in place.
Arrowhead Park
Location: Neola, IA
Park Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Features: 17-acre fishing lake, canoe and paddleboat rental, playground, sand volleyball court, nature trails (equine-friendly), tent and RV camping, modern and camping cabins, lodge rental
Botna Bend Park
Location: Hancock, IA
Park Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Features: Bison herd, elk herd, boat access, views of the West Nishnabotna River Water Trail, nature trails, tent and RV camping, Rubber Duck Outfitters for river adventures, lodge rental, archery range, disc golf, sand volleyball court, playground
Hitchcock Nature Center
Location: Honey Creek, IA
Park Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Features: Scenic views of the Loess Hills, the Loess Hills Lodge gallery and exhibit, nature trails, archery, tent and RV camping, camping cabins, playground, lodge rental, geo- and earth caching, observation deck and tower, pond
Narrows River Park
Location: Council Bluffs, IA
Park Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Features: Boat access, views of the Missouri River, playground, shelter rentals, archery range, access to the Iowa Riverfront Trail, seasonal hiking trail, native garden
Old Town Park
Location: Macedonia, IA
Park Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Features: Small 9.5 acre park, boat access, views of the West Nishnabotna River Water Trail, playground, Rubber Duck Outfitters for river adventures, primitive camping area
What's the Best Way to Welcome Spring?
Get Moving Outdoors!
Learn about parks’ powerful role in health in our “Healing Home” series.
Read our blog post for fun ideas that will get you and your family moving with Pottawattamie Conservation. 

Here are some quick facts about how getting outside is good for you (and our environment!):
  • 🌳 Time spent outdoors, especially combined with physical activity including walking, running, camping, and climbing, can:
  • Improve your health (especially during the pandemic), 
  • Reduce pain, 
  • Increase focus and memory, and 
  • Support creativity and life satisfaction.
  • 🖍️ Kids are more active outdoors than indoors (playing outside helps tucker them out and builds important risk-taking skills, too!).
  • 💚 When we build our relationship with the natural world we take better care of it because we see how important a healthy environment is for our health.
Volunteer Spotlight: Ed & Cindy
Please help us celebrate Ed & Cindy as they kick off four years 🎉 of camp hosting at Botna Bend Park in Hancock, IA!
Camp hosts are essential for upkeep, maintenance, and a great visitor experience during peak season, and Ed and Cindy really are the "hosts with the most." They love the fun opportunities that being camp hosts offers - like caring for elk and bison herds and helping kayaking groups explore the West Nishnabotna. 
Operation Dump Busters!
Celebrate Earth Day and join our park cleanup at Hitchcock Nature Center.
Did you know that Hitchcock Nature Center was almost turned into a bottled water factory, and then of all things, a dump!? Thankfully local community members came together, put their feet down, and fought to protect this beautiful area. They're known as the Dump Busters!

Together, we can protect the park's special beauty and all of the plants and wildlife that call it home.

Join our park cleanup event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23rd and follow in the Dump Busters' footsteps!
Previous park cleanup participants weigh their trash after picking up litter on trails.
Intro to Backpacking is coming up May 3rd
Sponsored by the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol
Interested in backpacking but not sure where to start? Explore the dynamics of backcountry travel during Intro to Backpacking!

In this three-part lecture and hands-on course, you will learn how to navigate and travel in the wilderness with all your gear. We will examine how to plan a trip, select and use essential gear, then implement what you learned on an overnight adventure in the Loess Hills Hitchcock Nature Center.
Save the Date for Go Wild for Conservation
This year's fundraiser will take place on Thursday, September 8th.
We can't wait to see you all for Go Wild for Conservation 2022 on September 8, 2022! Put on by the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation, this fundraiser will take place at The Plaza courtyard in the Mid-America Entertainment District (same location as last year).

Details coming soon.

Interested in sponsoring or donating an auction item for a good cause? Send an email to Kim Wickersham at
Upcoming Programs
Little Tike Hike
Hitchcock Nature Center | Through April 10th during park hours
Botna Bend Park | Throughout April during park hours
Free with park entry | All ages; Best for ages 3 to 5

Enjoy sights & sounds along the trail as you spot activities along your route that are designed to help learners ages 3 to 5 experience nature in a new way. While it is designed for young learners, any age can learn something new and have fun, too!
A Land Ethic Workshop: Woodland & Prairie Flowers
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, April 9th | 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$15 per person | Ages 14+

Program participants will enjoy a full morning of instruction & learning led by celebrated educator Ron Cisar, including:
  • Early spring wildflower identification study
  • Guidance for successful nature journaling 
  • A reading & discussion of Aldo Leopold's essay "Draba"
  • A look at the history of Earth Day  
  • Anatomy of a flower
  • April Nature Calendar (phenology)
Gardening for Diversity: Selecting Native Species
Council Bluffs Public Library | Wednesday, April 13th | 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
$15 per person | Ages 14+

Learn how to select native plants that will thrive in your garden and yard while taking into account your budget, light and soil conditions, and more. We'll also cover where you can purchase native plants.
Early Spring Medicinal & Edible Plant Walk
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, April 16th | 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
$12 per person | Ages 16+

Get to know your early spring flowers and herbs on a deeper level including which ones are edible, their medicinal properties, and interesting folklore. Led by Dustin Clayton.
Race Against Extinction...Footprints for the Future
Hitchcock Nature Center | Friday, April 22nd | 6:00 p.m.
$35 through April 19th, $40 day of | All Ages

Join the American Association of Zookeepers in their 2022 Race Against Extinction and help save the painted dog! Choose from a 4-mile trail run or a 1-2 mile or stroller-friendly walk and celebrate Earth Day while enjoying the outdoors and supporting a good cause.
Arrowhead Park Trail Run
Arrowhead Park | Saturday, April 23rd | 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
$30 through April 22nd, $35 day of | All Ages

Enjoy scenic lake & wooded views while you run, jog, or hike the trails and celebrate Earth Day 2022! All proceeds support the Pottawattamie County Trails Association. Choose from a 5k, 10k, or complete as many laps as you can in the 4 hour Enduro.
Master Conservationist Program
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, April 23rd | 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
$100 per person (student discounts available) | Ages 18+
LEARN MORE HERE | Call 712-366-7070 to register.

Are you curious about conservation and interested in becoming a knowledgeable natural resource leader? Then join us on April 23rd at Hitchcock Nature Center for the Master Conservationist Program hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Operation Dump Busters
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, April 23rd | 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Free park entry all day! | All Ages

Without a group of passionate community members called the Dump Busters, Hitchcock Nature Center would be a dump! Hard to believe, right? Follow in the Dump Busters footsteps and help protect the park's special beauty by joining our park cleanup event.
Homeschool in the Hills | Seasonal Survival: Spring
Hitchcock Nature Center | Wednesday, April 27th | Morning & Afternoon
Waitlist Only | All Ages
GET ON THE WAITLIST: 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. or 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Registration for this event is now full, but you may add your child to the waitlist if you like. Keep an eye out for upcoming Homeschool in the Hills events later this fall!
Intro to Backpacking
Hitchcock Nature Center | May 3rd, May 7th, and May 14-15th
$40 per person | Ages 18+
REGISTER HERE | Sponsored by the Loess Hills Nordic Ski Patrol

Learn how to navigate in the wilderness with all your gear, examine how to plan a trip, then implement what you learned on an overnight adventure at Hitchcock Nature Center!
The Merry Month of May: Part 1 | With Dustin Clayton
Hitchcock Nature Center | Saturday, May 7th | 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
$12 per person | Ages 16+

Look deeply at the plethora of folklore and myth associated with this busy month as the forest fills up with life, color, and sound. Observe the many changes taking place as spring turns to summer and watch a demonstration for making simple folk tinctures.
Subscribe to the UNleashCB Bulletin to keep up-to-date with upcoming events in Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County. Every Thursday, you'll receive a list of events happening that week, from concerts to family-friendly activities to community events and more!
Stay in the loop. Click on an individual park below to follow its Facebook page.

Pottawattamie Conservation | | (712)-328-5638