One of the greatest losses from the August 10th derecho that slammed into Eastern Iowa, was the loss of the tree canopy. Estimates in the Cedar Rapids and Marion area suggest that up to 60% of those cities trees are simply no longer there. I can attest to that. Driving into Marion on Blairs Ferry Road towards West 8th Avenue, you can look out over portions of the city that were never visible prior to the derecho. The other part of the state hit hard were our state parks.

One of the most popular state parks in Eastern Iowa is finally getting set to re-open tomorrow. CBS2 reports that Palisades-Kepler State Park, located off of Highway 30 near Mt. Vernon, will open up to the public again on Friday. It's been closed for 8 months. 8 long months of cleanup so that the public can once again go and enjoy one of Iowa's great state parks.

Late last year, DNR State Park Ranger Jim Hansen told CBS2 that Palisades had to remain closed because of all the tree damage in the park. Limbs hanging over walking paths made the park unsafe to visit. But, on Wednesday, CBS2 reports that the DNR says that roads, hiking trails, and fishing access points are all now open to visitors to Palisades. The DNR also announced that campers can begin making campground reservations on Friday too. The lodge at Palisades will remain closed because of damage to the roof.

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Palisades Kepler State Park is the final state park to re-open after last year's derecho. It is a park that my family has enjoyed for many years. Chase and I have fished there many times, we've gone on hikes. Holly and I even used to go there back when we were still dating.

A big thank you to all the crews who put in the work to get Palisades back open. We plan on visiting soon!


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