Kyrie Cox, a 7-year-old homeschooled second-grader from Omaha, left, holds a wind meter as she tries to identify clouds with Naturalist Rene Stroud during a session of Homeschool in the Hills at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek on Tuesday, April 2.

On Monday, the State of Iowa announced an effort for residents and visitors to explore Iowa’s outdoors with the “99 Counties, 99 Parks” initiative.

The initiative features one county conservation-managed park in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Activities include fishing, boating, hiking, golfing, archery, disc-golf courses, and more.

The announcement was made at Sioux City Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center on Earth Day, and highlighted the variety of recreational activities the state has to offer within county parks.

“Iowa’s county parks are great places to feed your sense of adventure,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “We have an abundance of natural beauty in this state and we’re thrilled to issue an invitation for people to experience it first hand. 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.”

Southwest Iowa featured parks include: Littlefield Recreation Area, Exira (Audubon County); Swan Lake State Park, Carroll (Carroll County); Cold Springs Park, Lewis (Cass County); Yellow Smoke Park, Denison (Crawford County); Willow Lake Recreation Area, Woodbine (Harrison County); Peters Park, Rodney (Monona County); Hitchcock Nature Center, Honey Creek (Pottawattamie County); Nishna Bend Recreation Area, Harlan (Shelby County); Fremont County Campground and Golf Course, Sidney (Fremont County); Pony Creek Park, Pacific Junction (Mills County); Hacklebarney Woods, Villisca (Montgomery County); and Pierce Creek Recreation Area, Essex (Page County).

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On the “99 Counties, 99 Parks” website, there is a family fun guide for download, and a checklist is available to check off the parks that were visited.

“In addition to being beautiful, our county parks play an important role in Iowa,” said Reynolds. “Research shows that natural beauty and outdoor activities are key qualities in places where individuals want to travel or live. We think the ‘99 Counties, 99 Parks’ initiative is another great way to help spread the good word and surprise people about Iowa.”

Many of the parks include “selfie stands,” and experiences can be shared online with #ThisIsIowa or #99parks.

For more information, go online to traveliowa.com/99parks/.

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