A pair of beloved nature camps that have left an indelible mark on generations of Iowa youths are set to be demolished. The Conservation Education Center at Springbrook State Park and the Clover Woods 4-H camp, both located in central Iowa, will make way for restoration projects aimed at preserving the state’s natural heritage.
Due to the historical significance of the buildings at both sites, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is required by state law to mitigate their loss. The Iowa Economic Development Authority recently approved agreements that will allow for the clearance of five buildings at the Conservation Education Center and approximately 30 structures at Clover Woods 4-H camp.
To compensate for the loss of the Conservation Education Center, the DNR plans to restore a Civilian Conservation Corps shelter at Trapper’s Bay State Park. Additionally, at the entrance of the Clover Woods parking lot, the DNR will create a display providing information on the history and use of the site.
The decision to demolish the camps was not taken lightly. Emily Saveraid, the executive director of Iowa 4-H, acknowledged the emotional attachment and cherished memories associated with the camps. However, the high costs of maintaining the sprawling facilities and the need to preserve the woodlands ultimately led to the decision to sell the properties.
Fortunately, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation purchased the land and intends to sell most of it back to the state as funding becomes available. The remaining land will be retained and preserved by the foundation, ensuring that the woodlands and the legacy of the camps are protected for future generations to enjoy.
Q: Why are the nature camps being demolished?
A: The nature camps are being demolished to make way for restoration projects aimed at preserving Iowa’s natural heritage.
Q: Will any of the buildings be saved?
A: Unfortunately, due to damage sustained in the August 2020 derecho, none of the buildings at the camps can be saved.
Q: What will happen to the land?
A: The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has purchased the land and intends to sell most of it back to the state. The remaining land will be retained and preserved by the foundation.
Q: Will the public still be able to utilize the property?
A: Yes, once the demolition is completed, the area where the buildings were located will be converted to grassland and made accessible to the public.
Q: What will happen to the memories and legacy of the camps?
A: The legacy of the camps will be celebrated during the 75th anniversary of the Iowa 4-H Foundation in 2024. The stories and memories of the camps will be an integral part of the celebration.