INHF protects shoreline on East Okoboji Lake

Posted on September 7, 2021 in Press Center


Contact: Joe Jayjack, Communications Director, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation or 712-310-7182 

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation protects shoreline on East Okoboji Lake 

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa — With the support of hundreds of donors, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) has raised enough money to purchase 50 acres on the shoreline of East Okoboji Lake and preserve its natural state.  

INHF was facing a Sept. 7 deadline to raise $8.2 million, and they met their goal with one day to spare thanks to an astounding push by the local community. More than 90 percent of the necessary funds for the project were pledged in the last two months.  

“This was an outstanding community effort, with more than 400 people participating and innumerable partners getting the word out, encouraging their neighbors to join in and stepping up themselves,” said Abby Hade Terpstra, INHF director of philanthropy. “This wouldn’t have been possible without all the people that care deeply about the Lakes.”  

INHF, a statewide conservation nonprofit, purchased an option in the fall of 2020 on the site just north of Elinor Bedell State Park on the eastern shore of East Okoboji Lake, and had until Labor Day 2021 to raise the funds necessary to exercise the option. With the purchase agreement now signed, INHF will close on the property and take possession before the end of the year.  

The property includes 2,020 feet of natural shoreline — the last remaining undeveloped, private-owned stretch of shore on the lake — set against open grassland and mature trees. It also offers one of the last remaining wildlife corridors between the lake and the vast Spring Run Wetland Complex to the east.  

“By protecting this place, we’re able to preserve vital wildlife habitat, water quality benefits and scenic beauty in a place that is used and loved by so many people,” said INHF President Joe McGovern. “We are honored to partner with the Iowa Great Lakes Community to ensure this special place will be preserved forever, and we look forward to people enjoying it for years to come.”  

INHF plans to own the property long-term and will work on ecological restoration of the shoreline, native prairie and oak savanna. The organization plans to allow low-impact public use, such as multi-use trails extending from the adjacent state park. INHF will also work with Dickinson County Conservation to place a conservation easement on the property, which will protect the natural state of the land in perpetuity. 

“Quality of life at the Lakes depends so much on protecting the few natural areas that remain. Keeping this property wild — in a lakes system that is increasingly developed and congested — will have countless benefits for the community and all who enjoy Iowa’s Great Lakes,” said Greg Grupp, a Spirit Lake resident and INHF board member.  


Members of the media interested in photos, video clips or maps of the project site can find them at the link below or contact INHF Communications Director Joe Jayjack at or 515-288-1846, ext. 19. 

Google Drive link: 

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit conservation group that works to protect and restore Iowa's land, water and wildlife. Since its founding in 1979, INHF has helped protect more than 180,000 acres of Iowa's natural resources.