Plenty of Tasty Treats Along the Byway During Dairy Month

Plenty of Tasty Treats Along the Byway During Dairy Month

During National Dairy this June, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favorite sweet treat while traveling along the 460 miles of Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway – A National Scenic Byway in Iowa. Starting in Clinton and working your way across the state to Council Bluffs there are plenty of family-owned shops to stop at and delight in a tasty ice cream treat!

Cookie Monster and Superman Ice Cream
Smilees Ice Cream in DeWitt

How about weighing in on who’s going to win the rumble between Superman ice cream and Cookie Monster ice cream while at Carol’s Original Dairy Treat in Clinton? Then stop further down the road at Smillee’s Ice cream in DeWitt and taste their super-premium chocolate.

Small family-owned Parlor City Ice Cream has served up unique treats like their Smores and Thin Mint sundaes in Cedar Rapids and Marion for over fifty years! From there drive over to Tama’s Dairy Sweet Treats (formerly the Sugar Shack) and have a Daisy’s Twister.

Head further west to Starbuck’s Drive-In in Nevada, family-owned not the chain, for flavors like blackberry, key lime, and strawberry.

Stop in Jefferson for a triple threat that features twins. How’s that for a twister? You can’t beat a root beer float from A & W, then stop at Twiins Shoppe (yes two ii’s) for a goodie, and finish up your visit at Ice Cube Concessions and Skating Rink in Spring Lake County Park for some hand-dipped Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream before you strap on your roller skates!

The Dairy Mart in Glidden boasts “Good Food and Better Ice Cream” while Nutshelle’s Dairy Sweet in Woodbine has malts, shakes, sundaes, floats, and cones along with pints and quarts to take home and savor!

Finally, you reach Council Bluffs on Iowa’s western border where Christy Crème, a true neighborhood mom and pop locally-owned since 1954 rotates ten different flavors of sherbet daily. Whatever your sweet tooth desires, you cannot go wrong with this lineup!

Iowa Byways Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Sign
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The Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Recently Designated a National Scenic Byway

The Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Recently Designated a National Scenic Byway

February 19, 2021 (Ames, Iowa) — On February 16, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation announced that the Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway was chosen as one of 34 newly designated National Scenic Byways joining 150 already designated in the national program. Prairie Rivers of Iowa submitted an 830-page application to the Federal Highway Administration.

Moving forward, the byway will be known as the Lincoln Highway National Heritage Byway. “With this honor, the Iowa section of the Lincoln Highway will continue to gain visibility worldwide and build and expand on the opportunities to market traveling along Iowa’s section to the globe,” says Prairie Rivers of Iowa Executive Director Penny Brown Huber.

Prairie Rivers of Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Coordinator Jan Gammon states, “We are very excited for the 460 miles of the byway in Iowa to be named a new National Scenic Byway. The Nebraska section was also given this honor and as we join the Illinois route, this will make over 1,000 miles of continuous byway in three states.” The road passes through 13 counties and 43 communities in Iowa with so much history to be shared with travelers.

In 1991, a group of Iowans formed the Greene County Lincoln Highway Association to help preserve the Eureka Bridge just west of Jefferson. One year later, the national Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) was reborn. The Iowa chapter of the LHA applied to have the Iowa section of the Lincoln Highway included in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byway program. The application was approved in 2006. Two of Greene county residents, and long-time byway supporters, are Bob and Joyce Ausberger.

According to the Ausbergers, “This is great news for the Iowa Lincoln Highway. Prairie Rivers of Iowa and other organizations helped with planning, hard work and perseverance to make this dream come true. The Lincoln Highway in Iowa has now been raised to the national level it deserves!”

“The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway achieving National Scenic Byway status is very much warranted based on the outstanding interpretive sites that exist such as Reed Niland’s Corner in Colo, Youngville Station west of Cedar Rapids, brick streets in Woodbine, and many others,” relates Iowa Department of Transportation Systems Planning Office Director Craig Markley. In addition to experiencing these interpretive sites, byway travelers enjoy city and rural landscapes while tasting food and libation, viewing art, touring museums, appreciating the outdoors and more.

Youngville Cafe Along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway in Benton County, Iowa.

The Youngville Café in rural Benton County on the National Register of Historic Places is one of the many attractions along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway that was a factor in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent decision to designate the byway in Iowa as a National Scenic Byway.

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Story County Develops First of Its Kind Water Monitoring and Interpretation Plan for 2021 – 2030

Story County Develops First of Its Kind Water Monitoring and Interpretation Plan for 2021 – 2030

Water Quality Monitoring and Interpretation Plan Cover

Prairie Rivers of Iowa along with staff from Story County and eight other local jurisdictions and organizations have developed a first-of-its-kind countywide comprehensive water monitoring and interpretation plan for 2021 – 2030.

 

This completed plan is a result of an effort facilitated by Prairie Rivers of Iowa who assembled a 24 member planning team representing Story County Conservation, City of Ames,

Nevada, City of Gilbert, City of Huxley, Iowa State University, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Izaak Walton League, Story County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Story County Community Foundation.

Starting in April of 2020 the planning team met monthly through December to learn how water monitoring helps understand how to identify water quality issues and solutions detailed within the plan.

“Water quality is very important to the Ames community so when provided the opportunity to join with other organizations to make more impact within Story County, we saw this as an important collaboration,” states City of Ames Municipal Engineer Tracy Peterson. “This plan is a first of its kind in Iowa where a countywide plan has been developed. It provides a working document for meeting goals and strategies as the planning team continues to meet and support effective, practical stream and lake water quality monitoring efforts.”

The monitoring and interpretation plan creates a roadmap to guide work towards four primary goals that include increasing water quality awareness, the expansion of monitoring efforts, identifying and promoting actions that improve and sustain water quality and resiliency of lakes and rivers while strengthening relationships between current and future partners. “This marks, most importantly, a commitment to learning all we can about our water resources and how to improve them,” adds Story County Conservation Director Mike Cox.

Specific chapters in the 86-page report outline the county’s current state of water quality, what action steps are needed for obtaining accurate water quality data, how and where that data is collected and how to sustain monitoring through 2030.

“Many Iowans grew up playing in creeks, lakes and rivers. They want to make sure their children can do the same without being exposed to harmful bacteria,” says Prairie Rivers of Iowa Watershed Educator Dan Haug. “We can use water monitoring data we’ve collected to know where problems exist, take the appropriate precautions and fix it.”

 Haug further explains, “Farmers, water treatment plants and local governments are working to keep nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil, thus out of our rivers, lakes and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. Readers of the report will get a sense of the challenges with water monitoring and how we need to work going forward to gather and interpret the data for the public to understand what water quality concerns we have and then plan to develop steps taken by responsible parties to improve conservation efforts.”

The planning team will continue to refine and complete the actions needed to implement the goals and strategies to understand about water quality and measure improvement within Story County.

Visit here to read the entire plan.

Prairie Rivers of Iowa and Preston’s Station Historic District Will Unveil New Interpretive Panel Saturday, May 1

Prairie Rivers of Iowa and Preston’s Station Historic District Will Unveil New Interpretive Panel Saturday, May 1

Tourists driving through Belle Plaine along the Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway™  – A National Scenic Byway can discover a treasured legacy that has stood for more than four generations. In celebration, the Preston’s Station Historic District will unveil a new interpretive panel at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 1. Visitors viewing the panel will learn about its history and see the faces behind its 100 plus year legacy.

The Ames, Iowa-based not-for-profit Prairie Rivers of Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway program facilitated the interpretive panel’s design and construction as part of a ten-panel project using grant funding from the Union Pacific Railroad Community Ties Giving Program and Humanities of Iowa along with a cash match courtesy of The Burke Heritage Foundation. The panels offer travelers and their families a safe, fun, educational and engaging activity.

“We are honored to be one the sites to have been selected to install an interpretive panel,” says Preston’s Station Historic District owner Mary Helen Preston, “This panel showcases four generations of Prestons that began in 1913 when my great grandfather followed the Union Pacific to Belle Plaine for work and while watching the Lincoln Highway be rerouted through the town.”

From great grandfather to grandfather, to father, to daughter Mary Preston and her husband Garry, the family has remained Preston Station’s caretakers preserving the property and telling the story of how important the railroad and the Lincoln Highway have been to Belle Plaine.

Located at 402 13th Street in Belle Plaine, Preston’s Station was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in September 2020. It comprises an old gas station, a garage and motel. Visitors can appreciate what travel was like during the past along the Lincoln Highway while experiencing vintage gas pumps, signage and memorabilia.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway – A National Scenic Byway in Iowa is managed by Prairie Rivers of Iowa in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Transportation. Prairie Rivers’ mission is to preserve its history and tell the hundreds of stories from along its 470 miles running east to west, river to river through 43 communities in 13 counties in the state. Learn more at prrcd.org/lincoln-highway-heritage-byway.

National for Twelves Day

National for Twelves Day

On National For Twelves Day (4/12), our nation honors a magnificent number that holds significance in several ways.

We measure our days in two 12 hour sets. When we buy roses, eggs, and pastries, we purchase them by the dozen. How many months are in a year? Twelve. Of course, math lovers appreciate 12 because it has a perfect number of divisors.

On this special day, we want to bring to your attention 12 species of pollinators and wildlife that are listed as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, a full list of which can be found here

Rusty Patched Bumblebee
Habitat: Riparian Prairie and Woodland
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Pollen and nectar; preferred plants include milkweeds, prairie clovers, jewelweed, asters
Notes: This is the only federally endangered bee species in the lower 48 states.

Regal Fritillary
Habitat: Tallgrass Prairie
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Prairie and Birdsfoot Violets as caterpillars, nectar as adults
Notes: This butterfly was once considered for Iowa’s Official State Butterfly.

Gorgone Checkerspot
Habitat: Tallgrass Prairie
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Sunflowers and Lysimachia as caterpillars, nectar as adults
Notes: As adults, this butterfly exclusively visits yellow flowers.

Monarch
Habitat: Tallgrass Prairie
When in Iowa: Breeding Season (Spring-Fall)
Diet: Milkweeds as caterpillars, nectar as adults
Notes: The Monarch migrates all the way to Mexico for the winter.

Bald Eagle
Habitat: Forests near water
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Fish
Notes: The mating dance for the bald eagle involved two birds grabbing each other’s talons and free falling.

Trumpeter Swan
Habitat: Lakes and Ponds
When in Iowa: Breeding Season
Diet: Plants
Notes: This is the largest species of bird in North America.

Horned Lark
Habitat: Tallgrass Prairie
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Seeds and Insects
Notes: There are 42 subspecies of Horned Lark worldwide.

Eastern Kingbird
Habitat: Tallgrass Prairie
When in Iowa: Breeding Season
Diet: Fruit and Insects
Notes: This bird has a hidden patch of bright feathers on its head that it uses to intimidate predators.

Gray Tree Frog
Habitat: Forests and Woodlands
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Insects
Notes: This species is strictly nocturnal, and is often found feeding on insects attracted to outdoor lights.

Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
Habitat: Wetlands and Ponds
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Aquatic Invertebrates
Notes: This small frog only lives for around 1 year.

Tiger Salamander
Habitat: Underground in Tallgrass Prairie and Woodlands
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Insects, Worms, and Frogs
Notes: This is the largest ranging salamander in North America, found coast-to-coast.

Common Snapping Turtle
Habitat: Ponds
When in Iowa: Year-Round
Diet: Small Animals
Notes: Snapping turtles can live to be over 100 years old.

Contact our Watershed Coordinator David Stein to learn more about restoring habitat and wildlife on your land: