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Iowa History Daily: September 17 - Dedication of Lake Darling

Iowa History Daily: On September 17, 1950, the Iowa Conservation Commission officially dedicated Lake Darling State Park. Named for Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling, the park seeks to honor the influential Iowans legacy as a conservationist.

Darling’s influence on Iowa’s public lands long predated the dedication of the park. Credited as the visionary behind the state’s 1933 Iowa 25 Year Conservation Plan which brought all of Iowa’s state lands and waters under one agency, Darling long advocated for improved access to nature for all Iowans.

Part of the 25 year plan focused on the creation of artificial lakes throughout southern Iowa. Lake Darling, near Brighton in Washington County, directly resulted from the project. Darling personally set the impoundment gate on the dam built to create the lake in a ceremony prior to the dedication. With the waters filling in, Darling again was on hand in September of 1950 to celebrate the dedication of the new lake and state park named in his honor.

Today, the 1,387 acre park offers visitors a variety of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in southeastern Iowa. An all-season lodge, camping cabins, the universally accessible Ding Darling Interpretive Pathway, and other amenities await visitors to the park named for one of Iowa’s most important early conservationists. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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