Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

January 24, 2014

Changes in the Works: Public Open House for Water Works Park Master Plan

1Des Moines Water Works invites the public to see the 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 January 29, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Des Moines Art Center, located at 4700 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. A brief presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Des Moines Water Works operates Water Works Park, a 1,500-acre urban park in the heart of Des Moines, and a major component of the city’s open space system and trail network. The park is also home to Arie den Boer Arboretum, one of the world’s largest collections of flowering crab apple trees. Water Works Park is bisected by the Raccoon River and a three mile long infiltration gallery, major sources of drinking water for the Des Moines metro area.

Des Moines Water Works, in collaboration with Iowa State University Department of Landscape Architecture, hosted an international design competition in 2011 to reinvent Water Works Park.  Sasaki Associates, with RDG Planning & Design and Applied Ecological Services, was selected as the design competition winner out of 44 proposals.  The Master Plan process included public outreach and community involvement.

“Finalizing and presenting the Master Plan is a significant step toward re-envisioning and renovating Water Works Park into an education and recreation destination,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “The Master Plan highlights opportunities for education and emphasizes the role water plays in the community, as well as incorporates additional recreational features throughout the park.”

Funding for the Master Plan was provided through generous community support. Grants and funds totaling $165,000 were received from the Allied Construction Services, Bankers Trust, CDS Global, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle, Gray’s Lake Park & Meredith Trail Fund, Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Merchants Bonding Company, Polk County and The Principal Financial Group.  Donations from private donors total an additional $35,000.

A Water Works Park foundation is being established to coordinate fundraising and implementation of the Master Plan. Implementation of the Master Plan could begin early in 2014.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Parks September 5, 2013

Water Works Park Bridle Trails

KIMG0230With 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.


Posted by: Scott Atzen No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Parks August 28, 2013

Changes in the Works: Open House for Water Works Park Master Plan

1Des 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.

For the latest updates, visit For more information about the event, contact Teva Dawson at (515) 244-8590 or [email protected].

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.

6:00 p.m.

  • Water Dance – Paddleboarding dance performance by modern dance company, Hurley and Dancers.

6:15 p.m.

  • 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.
Posted by: Laura Sarcone 6 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Parks August 27, 2013

Maffitt Lake 5 & 10 Trail Race – A Nature Lover’s Dream Race!

Maffitt Lake RaceCourse Description
A nature lover’s dream race! The course starts on the east side of Maffitt Lake, near the shoreline. Runners will start up the gravel road and take a right on the doublewide path through a prairie of  wildflowers. After two miles, runners enter a short section of single-track trail in the woods near Maffit Drive. At the edge of the lake, runners turn south and run along the scenic shoreline with a few hills sprinkled in. The course continues toward the starting area to enter a shared nature/bridal trail for a short out and back section around the south end of the lake. Runners competing in the 10 Mile Race will complete a second loop.

Registration is available online at or in person at packet pick-up on Saturday, September 7, or race day from 6:00-7:30 am.  In an effort to go green, no paper registrations will be accepted.

Entry Fees
$30 by August 1
$35 by September 1
$40 at Packet Pick-up or Race Day

Start and Finish at Maffitt Lake, 12460 Maffitt Lake Road, Cumming, Iowa, 50061. Be prepared for a cross-country style, dirt, gravel and grass trail race.

General Information

  • Both the 5 and 10 Mile Races will begin promptly at 8:00 am
  • The 5 Mile Race will complete the course once and those competing in the 10 Mile Race will complete the course twice.
  • Walkers may participate and encouraged to register for the 5 Mile Race.
  • The course will remain open for 2 ½ hours.
  • Proceeds from this race will be used to purchase signage for Des Moines’ dirt trail systems.
  • Additional information is available at

Packet Pick-up
Packets will be available for pick-up on Saturday, September 7, from 2:00-5:00 pm at Active Endeavors, located at 4520 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266 or on Race Day from 6:30-7:45 am.

Awards/Age groups
Awards will be presented to the overall males and females of the 5 and 10 Mile Races and to the top three runners in each of the following age groups:
10 & Under (5 Mile)

Thank You to our Sponsors:


Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks August 14, 2013

Healthy & Happy Outdoors at the Iowa State Fair

3Des 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.

1Des 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!

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Environment, Health, Parks June 3, 2013

Canoes and Kayaks Now Allowed on Maffitt Lake

Maffitt Lake shorelineDale 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.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks May 13, 2013

Crabapples in Bloom at Water Works Park

Water Works Park CrabappleOne 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.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks May 2, 2013

Get Healthy and Happy Outdoors Today!

Healthy&HappyOutdoorsIf you’re looking for a way to get healthier, a new program from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in partnership with Des Moines Water Works and several Iowa organizations, provides you resources and recognition for spending more time outdoors.

The Healthy & Happy Outdoors initiative, or H2O, connects you to Iowa’s natural resources and helps you enjoy an active lifestyle.

It’s easy to get started:

  1. Register online at
  2. Get outside. Log your outdoor recreation activities on the H2O website.
  3. Need some recommendations? Find more than 1,600 recreation locations across the state in an interactive map (including Water Works Park and Maffitt Reservoir Park) along with suggestions for outdoor opportunities you might enjoy.
  4. Win prizes! Each activity you log counts as an entry for regular drawings of outdoor-themed prizes, with a first-year celebration of H2O at the Iowa State Fair in August 2013.

The DNR and the program’s partners aim to have 1,000 participants sign up for H2O in the first year, and 50,000 participants by 2016. Program partners include the Healthiest State Initiative, Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa Tourism Office.

“Our goal is to help Iowans increase mental and physical health through outdoor recreation in Iowa’s natural spaces,” said Chuck Gipp, DNR Director.

The H2O website will continually grow with tips, healthy resources, additional activities and more. You can also help improve the map – if you visit a recreation area not shown on the map, just include it in your activity log and the H2O team will add it.

Des Moines Water Works is pleased to be a part of this exciting initiative. Get healthy and happy outdoors today!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customers, Environment, Health, Parks March 14, 2013

Earth Day Trash Bash

TRASHBASH_700x300Des Moines Water Works is a sponsor for City of Des Moines’ 2013 Trash Bash on Friday, April 19.  This year’s event is dedicated to improving Iowa’s waterways and water quality.  Teams of volunteers will kick-off the event at Nollen Plaza, where DMWW will have an educational booth and the DSMH2O Mobile Water Station for visitors to fill up their reusable water bottles!  Trash Bash volunteers will then set out to pick up trash in various locations around the city, including Water Works Park.

Last year, over 1,000 volunteers on 64 teams in 50 project locations removed over 24,000 pounds of litter, brush & recyclables as well as beautified our public lands, cleaned up storm damage, and cleared away invasive species in an effort to improve Iowa’s water quality and waterways. They even collected 37.7 pounds of cigarette butts.

Volunteers are needed for Iowa’s largest Earth Day volunteer event to continue these efforts! For more information, visit and sign up by March 29, 2013.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Environment, Parks December 12, 2012

Jolly Holiday Lights in Water Works Park

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 ParkDes 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!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Parks