After years of hard work, Iowa ATVers have a new park to play in: The Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park in Fort Dodge.
This new 300-acre park is envisioned to one day encompass some 1,500 acres.
That's almost how long it took to get the first 300 acres open. The park came about in a cooperative effort by government agencies and officials, state lawmakers, non-profit groups and four gypsum companies.
The park had been in the works for five or six years.
The park is built on former mining land. It includes 15 miles of trails, a motocross track and a practice track for younger kids.
The park is free, and the hours are from sunrise to sunset. There are various rules that must be followed:
ATVs must have and display a valid state Department of Natural Resources registration, helmets are required, nobody under 12 can operate an ATV, and operators under 18 must have a valid safety certificate.
In addition, riding double is prohibited, riding off the trail is prohibited, and riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.
Plus, you can't engage in careless, reckless or negligent operation of your ATV, and you can't ride faster than is reasonable or proper under existing circumstances.
Your machine must meet a sound limit of 86 decibels measured at a distance of 50 feet.
The park is being managed by the Webster County Wheelers club.
Officials expect the park will pump some $70,000 a weekend into the local economy, or about $3 million a year.
Fort Dodge has several hotels, restaurants and gas.
The Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park is located at 2390 Mill Road, south of Fort Dodge just off U.S. Highway 20.
For the latest information, including temporary closures, visit www.IowaOHV.com.