Posts Tagged ‘Water Works Park’September 5, 2013
With the upcoming Water Works Park Open House on Tuesday, September 10, there is a lot of dreaming of what Water Works Park could offer to the community and visitors of Des Moines in the future. One unique and often hidden treasure of Water Works Park available today are the beautiful bridle trails.
Des Moines Water Works boasts several miles of bridle trails on the north side of the Raccoon River in Water Works Park. Avid and novice horsemen and women regularly visit the signed trails that wind throughout the park and the “Lost Planet” area. Horseback riders will encounter several species of wildlife on their excursion through the park, including white-tail deer, red fox, coyotes, and bald eagles. The trails are groomed and are accessible year-round. Riders can gain access to the trails off of Edwards Street, which is south of Grand by the Valley Park Stables.
Des Moines Water Works, in collaboration with Sasaki Associates and RDG Planning & Design, invites the public to see the exciting changes in the works for one of the largest urban parks in the nation. A public open house for the Water Works Park Master Plan will be held on September 10, 5:00-8:00 p.m., at Water Works Park’s event lawn (west end of the park off of George Flagg Parkway). Signs and volunteers will guide visitors to the site. Enjoy food, music and family-fun activities that will assist visitors to envision what’s on tap for Water Works Park.
The evening’s activities include paddleboarding and canoeing demonstrations, a water dance performance, a guided ecology bike tour, live music, fishing tips and tricks, and community eco-art projects for the whole family. See below for a complete list of activities and schedule. Enjoy free tacos from Tacopocalypse and free re-usable water bottles for the first 200 people. Your feedback on the park plan is the only request.
In the event of inclement weather, activities will be held at Des Moines Water Works’ general office building, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.
Water Works Park Master Plan Open House: September 10, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Throughout the evening, from 5:00-8:00 p.m.
- Enjoy free tacos from Tacopocalypse for the first 200 people.
- Free re-usable water bottles for the first 200 people or bring your own re-usable water bottle and fill up at Des Moines Water Works’ mobile water station.
- Live music.
- Learn about Water Works Park’s future amenities and provide feedback on the plan.
- View paddleboarding demonstrations by No Coast Stand Up.
- Win a prize by participating in a scavenger hunt.
- Share a picture of yourself next to a future park amenity in the photo booth and enter to win a prize if shared on the “Changes in the Works” Facebook site.
- Learn tips and tricks for successful fishing by experts from Izaak Walton League.
- Gain river paddling advice and demonstrations by Central Iowa Paddlers.
- Hang with the horses from Irish Run Farms and learn about riding the bridle trails at Water Works Park.
- Write your wish for the park and the river through the “wishing ribbons” eco-art project, hosted by Open Arts.
- Participate in green arts activities, hosted by Metro Arts Alliance.
- “Fish for Pollutants” by using a fishing pole to see how many pollutants like dirt, trash, fertilizer, pet waste and pesticides you can “fish” out of the water.
- Water Dance – Paddleboarding dance performance by modern dance company, Hurley and Dancers.
- Guided Ecology Bike Tour – Learn about the watersheds, flood plain forest ecosystems and the restoration of disturbed areas, including the infamous “Lost Planet.” A limited number of B-cycle Bikes from the Bike Collective will be available for use. Note: The trail is not strenuous, but participants will ride on asphalt, gravel and mowed grass.
Des Moines Water Works is a supporter of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Healthy & Happy Outdoors (H2O) program and was present when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off the H2O program at the Iowa State Fair. The H2O program helps you get connected to Iowa outdoor destinations, including Water Works Park, and recreational activities for a healthier life! Helping Iowans improve physical and mental health through outdoor recreation is an important goal for DMWW. Above photo: IDNR Deputy Director Bruce Trautman, Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds
Here’s how the H2O program works: After you register on H2O website, you can record your outdoor activities in Iowa parks and recreational areas. Each recorded activity counts as an entry into a prize drawing for outdoor gear– from bikes to binoculars to a vacation getaway. The more outdoor activities you register, the more chances you have to win. Log in today to get started! Participants who log activities between now and August 31, 2013 are eligible to win an Iowa State Park camping coupon book.
Des Moines Water Works and Iowa DNR is providing free water at the Iowa State Fair in the Department of Natural Resources building. Bring your reusable water bottle to the Fair and fill up!
Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. For the first time ever, Des Moines Water Works is now allowing the use of canoes and kayaks on the lake. Effective June 1, canoe and kayak enthusiasts now have the opportunity to purchase an annual user permit, which will allow them to launch their watercraft on these pristine waters.
The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.
The annual boat permit can be purchased at Des Moines Water Works General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines, for $20.00. No motors or sails of any kind will be allowed, which will help ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.
In addition to the land used for the lake itself, Des Moines Water Works maintains hundreds of acres surrounding the lake in an effort to protect the watershed. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres that comprise Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park.
Located southwest of Des Moines, Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.
Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.
For more information on the use of canoes and kayaks on Maffitt Lake, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.
One of the world’s largest collections of flowering crabapple trees can be found at Water Works Park, and will be in full bloom this week. Visitors may drive or walk through the Arie den Boer Arboretum between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. to view the colorful display of 1,200 crabapple trees, located in the northeast corner of Water Works Park, off of Fleur Drive.
The Arie den Boer Arboretum was established in 1930, and contains over 350 varieties of flowering crabapple trees, including some varieties that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Light Up a Child’s Life! Make-A-Wish Iowa’s Jolly Holiday Lights, presented by Hy-Vee, a can’t miss family tradition at the holidays! The three-and-a-half mile route of holiday light displays is located in the scenic Water Works Park. Des Moines Water Works is a proud sponsor of this annual holiday tradition. Visit the beautiful light display 5:30-10:00 pm everyday through January 1.
Jolly Holiday Lights is Make-a-Wish Foundation of Iowa’s biggest fundraiser, and typically raises enough money to grant the wishes of about 30 of Iowa’s children living with a life-threatening medical condition.
- Cars: $10 ($5 Monday for Hy-Vee Value Nights!)
- Limos: $20
- Buses: $45
Santa’s Wish Shop – complete with snacks, Santa and gifts – is open 5:30-9:00 Sunday through Thursday and 5:30-10:00 Friday and Saturday. Santa’s Wish Shop will close December 23, to allow Santa time to deliver his gifts!
In early 1928, a log cabin was built to provide winter shelter for workers who were clearing the back tracts of the water supply grounds. Nestled among the trees in the western portion of the park and built of native wood, the cabin and outdoor stone fireplace were made available to the general public when the park opened in April 1933.
An article published in the April 19, 1933, issue of the Des Moines Tribune said, “The log cabin on the Des Moines Water Works grounds is one of the most popular picnic spots in the city. Charles S. Denman, manager of the water company, said that the cabin, which was opened to the public April 1, is booked for the remainder of the season, which will end September 1. Denman said his office has had as high as 80 applications in one day for use of the cabin by Des Moines organizations. Reservations include lodges, bridge groups, Sunday school classes, church congregations, sororities, sewing circles, and ladies’ aid societies.”
By 1955, the cabin was in such disrepair that it was torn down, but the fireplace and chimney were left and are still standing.Today the “log cabin area” is a popular spot for scouting events.
Des Moines Water Works Park is approximately 1,500 acres of natural woodlands, prairie and river bottom ground with an abundance of wildlife. The park, which is nestled in the city limits of Des Moines, and is only a stone’s throw from the downtown area, boasts a variety of wildlife species. Whether one bikes, walks or explores the park on nearly eight miles of bridle trails – they are sure to come across a variety of wildlife.
White-tail deer, turkey, fox and coyotes are a few of the wild animals that can be found in the park. Look in the tree tops and you will find hawks, ravens, various birds and even bald eagles. With acres of water within the ponds and Raccoon River, park patrons will find dozens of different species of waterfowl as well. Hundreds of ducks and geese call Water Works Park home and can be seen nesting on the banks and diving for food; however, we encourage park visitors to not feed them, so that they do not lose their natural ability to determine a predator threat.
Water Works Park is truly a nature lover’s destination and fall is the perfect time to enjoy it. What wildlife have you discovered? Water Works Park hours are 6:00 am-9:00 pm.
In 1935, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) started to consider storing Raccoon River water as an alternative water source when river levels were low. Following substantial drought conditions in 1939 and 1940, DMWW identified a sight for construction of a reservoir.
In 1942, Neumann Brothers Construction of Des Moines received the bid and surveying and construction began immediately. With the assistance of DMWW’s Grounds staff, Neumann completed construction of the lake and dam nearly a year and a half later. It was named the Dale Maffitt Reservoir in honor of the then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. In 2000, DMWW began operating the L. D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population.
In addition to the land used for the lake itself, DMWW purchased hundreds of acres surrounding the lake, in an effort to protect the watershed and ultimately the drinking water to the best of its ability. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres in and around the reservoir and river.
The park is a nature lovers dream. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.
In 2001, DMWW constructed permanent restrooms, installed wild flower areas and seal coated the park roads. Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem in the Des Moines area.
Maffitt Reservoir Park is located southwest of Des Moines – take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.
Maffitt Reservoir Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). For a complete list of park rules and regulations, visit http://www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir/
Photo by Christopher A. Knisley – Freelance Wildlife Photographer
A recognizable landmark in Water Works Park is the weathered white barn just northwest of the general office building. The old barn is probably most well-known for serving as a rustic backdrop for numerous photo shoots over the years.
The barn was built around 1900 to shelter the horses that were owned by the water utility for farming operations. In those days, crops of wheat, alfalfa, corn, timothy, and clover were grown on the water supply grounds. In 1924, farming operations were discontinued on the grounds, so most of the horses and farm equipment were sold, retaining only those necessary for maintenance of the grounds.
Most recently, Water Works Park maintenance equipment has been stored in the barn and it is now the home to a large number of bats and mice.
Questions have been received from the public about the 100+-year old barn which has had its share of flood damage. Originally, plans had been to renovate it, but several years ago it was discovered that the barn has suffered significant termite damage that precludes putting any money into it. It is hoped that approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be received to relocate a section of the earthen levee near the barn and grounds shop building making room for new Water Works Park maintenance facilities on the dry side of the levee, and the current barn and shop building would be dismantled, with as much of the material salvaged as possible.