Reaching a ‘milestone’

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS
It was a great day for fishing, kayaking, bag toss or just taking a stroll around Green Castle Recreation Area Sunday as the park’s 40th anniversary was celebrated. Other activities included live music and stargazing, and one lucky county resident won a new kayak.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS It was a great day for fishing, kayaking, bag toss or just taking a stroll around Green Castle Recreation Area Sunday as the park’s 40th anniversary was celebrated. Other activities included live music and stargazing, and one lucky county resident won a new kayak.

“It’s got some wildlife, some fishing opportunities, hiking trails, picnic shelters, it’s a little bit of everything.”

Green Castle Recreation Area has been on of Marshall County’s outdoor jewels since its purchase in 1977, and Central Iowans gathered at the park Saturday to help celebrate the event; Marshall County Conservation Director Mike Stegmann said the future of the park looks bright.

“We wanted to do something to celebrate the park itself, with the improvements that have been made through those 40 years,” he said, adding the most recent improvement was the renovation of Green Castle Lake.

Saturday’s celebration had plenty to offer visitors, including a free picnic supper to the first 250 to arrive, canoeing and kayaking, guided or unguided fishing, lure making, hiking, star gazing and live music from Chad Elliot.

As early as 2 p.m., several dozen visitors had driven to the southern Marshall County location to check out the event. Children and their parents played bag toss, took to the water in small boats and picked up fishing rods to try to catch one of the lake’s various species of fish.

Another activity meant to get people out into the park was a drawing to win a new kayak. The names in the running were determined by those who could find hidden tokens.

“That’s been going on for the last two weeks,” Stegmann said, adding 20 tokens had been placed throughout the county parks. “In order to win the kayak, you had to have found a token with the serial number on it, then turn that back into us to have your name put in the drawing for the kayak.”

Another 20 tokens were spread throughout Green Castle for Saturday’s event.

Along with celebrating Green Castle’s 40th anniversary, Stegmann said there is a lot of anticipation for a proposed campground at the park.

“We’re still doing fundraising for that, and that will be an ongoing project over the next several years,” he said. “Initially, it’s going to be primitive campground opportunities.”

Stegmann said the county has many areas for outdoorsmen and women of all stripes. He said the celebration was also meant to help area residents realize what opportunities exist within a short drive of where they live.

“It’s an attempt to just get people out to the parks, not just Green Castle, all of the areas that we’ve got,” Stegmann said. “We manage 29 areas throughout the county.”

The park totals 116.5 acres, and Green Castle Lake covers 16 acres. Fish species in the lake include largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, crappie, catfish and more.

A wildlife refuge can also be found at Green Castle, and features a small herd of bison and a trumpeter swan exhibit.

For more information on Green Castle, go to www.co.marshall.ia.us/departments/conservation/conservation-and-recreation-areas/green-castle-recreation-area

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com­