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Escape to the Wildness to Learn about Johnston

Posted September 24, 2012 in Community Blogs, Johnston

Fall is here and there is no better time to ride, run or walk the Johnston trails than right now. The days are cooler and the leaves are turning vibrant shades of red, gold, orange and brown. We have over 32 miles of trails in Johnston but the favorite for many are those that meander through the Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area.

The Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area offers Johnston residents a rare opportunity to escape from the city to a place a short distance from their homes that allows them to reconnect with nature. Located in the center of our community, the Beaver Creek NRA is a 160 acre greenway that includes Beaver Creek, prairies, woodlands and wetlands.  Wildlife and native plants are abundant throughout the entire area.

New to the Beaver Creek NRA this fall are interpretive signs that are located along a one and half mile loop of the trail.  Beginning at the trail head behind the Shazam building on Pioneer Parkway, eight kiosks have been designed and installed providing information about the people and the place we call Johnston.

The early settlers, including Ezekial and Mary Hunt, are described on one of the kiosks. Henry Wallace and the founding of Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company are described on another. Several of the kiosks focus on Johnston’s natural habitat, wildlife, and landscape.

In addition to the kiosks, the interpretive sites also offer seating made of lime stone and logs for users of the trails to rest on.  A recent visitor who just happened to come upon the interpretive sites emailed the following message to me:

“We discovered the trails through Johnston that were accompanied by signs explaining the tallgrass prairie, wetlands, early settlers (the Hunt family), flowers and trees.  We loved them!  The signs contain a surprising amount of information, far more than one normally sees.  My compliments to the City of Johnston on both the signs and the great bike trails!”

If you haven’t seen the interpretive signs in the Beaver Creek Natural Resource, get out to see them  soon.  I’m certain you’ll find them informative and educational. Wondering where the money came from to pay for the interpretive signs? They were funded with a REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) grant received from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

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