Viking Lake State Park Expansion Includes Former Church Camp

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STANTON, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is planning to expand a popular southwest Iowa state park, and is seeking public ideas for this new area.

Viking Lake State Park is located off Highway 34 east of Stanton in Montgomery County. In 2010 the DNR acquired the former Aldersgate Camp, which was run by the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1984 until around ten years ago. A church publication said the camp was closed due to declining use.

Now the DNR is asking for people’s opinions on how to use the former camp site.
A public hearing is scheduled Wednesday November 6th at the Viking Lake Restaurant and Concession building from 4-7 pm.

“Before we move forward with anything we just want to make sure the public is on board with it,” said Michelle Reinig, Southwest District Supervisor for the DNR. “We’ve had that since about 2010, so its time to move forward with it.”

The camp property consists of 167 acres of trees and trails, as well as some buildings used by the camp when it was still open. Some consideration was given to taking the old buildings down.

“We haven’t as of yet, the buildings are in pretty bad shape,” said Reinig. “That’s what we’re looking at doing, but before we do that we would have the public open house.

Viking Lake is man-made body of water, dedicated in 1957.

“Back in the day there was the idea that every Iowan could have the opportunity for recreational opportunities within 25 to 50 miles of their home,” said Reinig. “This is one of those artificial lakes that was developed to provide recreational opportunities.”

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