Protecting land, protecting memories

Posted on August 20, 2018 in Blog

Camp TahigwaINHF's Brian Fankhauser, Jered Bourquin and DNR staff perform a stream assessment and species inventory on Bear Creek at Camp Tahigwa in northeast Iowa.

Since the late 1960s, a set of bluffs in northeast Iowas has been much more than a summer camp - it's been a safe haven, a setting to be immersed in nature and a place of peace for generations of Girl Scouts. In fact, the camp's name, "Tahigwa" means just that - "at peace." 

The days of welcoming scouts through through Camp Tahigwa's gate has come and gone, but INHF members have opened a new chapter for the property as a public space.

Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) turned to INHF to find a way to permanently protect the camp as a natural area. The new owner is a familiar, yet unique partnership - all bureaus of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will work cooperatively to manage this Allamakee County land, from managing the woodlands and prairies in conjunction with nearby public land to restoring and stocking Bear Creek, a cold water trout stream.

"Selling a camp is never without emotion, but we celebrate that people's love of the land is what ultimately helps us protect places like Camp Tahigwa," said Heather Jobst, INHF senior land conservation director. "Over 300 acres will remain as wildlife habitat and open to the public because of our members and partners in conservation."

Tahigwa is now your public land. May you explore it as in the scouting song: on a trail that's out there waiting, on the loose.