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Superintendent News & Views-Get Outdoors!

August 8, 2019
By David Hill, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Superintendent , Northern-Sun Print

I was raised on a family farm in Northern Tama County within close proximity of a beautiful county park. Growing up, my family also had access to a large timber area near our farm, along with a good number of wooded acres along Wolf Creek. I spent countless hours hiking in the woods, mountain biking, enjoying the creek, identifying trees and collecting insects with my grandma, fishing with my grandpa, mushroom hunting with my mom, and more. It was a great way to bond with my family, enjoy nature, and get some physical activity.

We're so fortunate here in the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District to have access to some wonderful parks and other opportunities for outdoor recreation. I want to issue a challenge to our G-R students and their families to GET OUTDOORS AND ENJOY NATURE before the summer gets away from us. There are numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors right here in our area.

Union Grove State Park near Gladbrook is located within the boundaries of our district. It offers great sites for camping and picnicking, as well as trails for hiking and a great lake for activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing. If walking or bicycling are your thing, try the Wolf Creek Nature Trail starting at Gladbrook, which combines with the Comet Trail in Grundy County to connect the cities of Gladbrook, Beaman, and Conrad along with the Wolf Creek Recreation Area in rural Grundy County. Another great bike trail can be accessed just outside of Reinbeck. Extending through Morrison and the Wolfe Family Preserve on a former railroad bed, the Pioneer Trail runs concurrently with the highway for a short section before rejoining the railroad bed in Grundy Center and continuing to Holland.

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Kayaking has become a favorite activity of my family in recent years. It requires a relatively small investment in equipment and provides hours of enjoyment. This area provides numerous great places to enjoy a paddling excursion, including numerous parts of Wolf Creek along with a designated "water trail" along Black Hawk Creek. While paddling Black Hawk Creek, be sure to enjoy the beauty of the Grundy County Greenbelt area on the northern edge of Reinbeck. Our city councils also maintain very nice park facilities within our communities, offering multiple opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy nature along with some great physical activity.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently rolled out the "99 Counties, 99 Parks" initiative to highlight the wide array of recreational activities our state offers within its county parks and to expand awareness of the county park system. The state of Iowa has more than 1,800 county parks encompassing nearly 200,000 acres.

Governor Kim Reynolds introduced the "99 Counties, 99 Parks" by inviting Iowans and others to visit our parks, stating, "We have an abundance of natural beauty in this state, and we're thrilled to issue an invitation for people to experience it firsthand. I know my family will be outside exploring all the county parks have to offer this summer, so I hope my fellow Iowans and visitors to our state will will join us."

Visit to learn more about the campaign. Families are encouraged to download the "99 Counties, 99 Parks" Family Fun Guide, which features a variety of activities including recipes, a scavenger hunt and art projects as well as information on geocaching and creating nature sculptures. Participants can track their visits to the featured parks on the "99 Counties, 99 Parks" checklist. Many of the parks also include "selfie stands" where visitors can take photos and share their experiences on social media using #ThisIsIowa or #99parks.

To learn more about our local county parks, visit and I want to commend the County Conservation Boards in Tama and Grundy Counties, as well as the dedicated county conservation employees, for the good work they do in providing high-quality outdoor experiences for area residents and visitors.

Before the summer ends, I hope each of our students and their families will take advantage of these resources and enjoy some quality family time in the process. Whether its boating, swimming, hunting, fishing, kayaking, geocaching, bicycling, orienteering, or just taking a nature walk getting outdoors and enjoying our natural resources is a great way to exercise your body and rejuvenate your spirit as you prepare for the new school year that approaches!

I encourage your feedback on this column, along with any questions you may have. You are welcome to visit my blog at where you can read all of my columns and leave comments if you wish. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter, where my handle is @DavidRobertHill.



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