About Friends of Yellow River State Forest
Why Should I join?
Part of being a member is being part of something larger than yourself. It's about taking care of the place you love, and giving back. It's about preserving for future generations, improving what is naturally here and helping others enjoy Yellow River State Forest. Joining also gives you a voice in our decision making.
If I join, do I have to volunteer?
Some of our members donate countless hours of their time, others contribute to our efforts financially with memberships and donations. The choice is yours, but we do really appreciate the help!
Do I have to be a member to volunteer?
No, anyone is welcome to volunteer. It is required that you fill out a volunteer form once a year.
We are always looking for help with firewood prep. And, if you know of a teen that needs service hours we are a not-for-profit organization you can volunteer for!
What does the Friends group do?
We work hand in hand with the local DNR staff and exist to assist and support the DNR's mission, and the mission of Iowa State Forests.
We do not oversee the operations or management of YRSF, but we may assist when asked. For example, when the park ranger wanted more trees in the campgrounds, our group approved the funds to purchase trees and the YRSF staff put them where they wanted them. We do not decide what trails are open or close down unofficial trails, but if extra gravel is needed for trail improvement the Friends Group can pay for it if there are not funds in the regular budget.
What do you do with the money from memberships and fundraisers like wood and ice sales?
We are a 501(c)3 and all money we raise must be invested back into Yellow River State Forest (see the "About Us" tab on top of the screen to see what we have done so far!)
No one who volunteers their time or talents, including the board members, are paid anything.
Do you have meetings?
Our Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Sunday of every month. We currently meet via Zoom, and will return to meeting outside once the weather is warmer. Anyone is welcome to attend a Board meeting, but only board members can vote.
There is a full meeting of membership in March. Members are notified via email of the meeting, as well as it being posted on our website under the calendar tab.
I'm a member, How do I bring up something I want addressed?
Talk to a board member, come to a meeting, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are your Board members?
Our 2020-2021 Board of Directors are Kelli Boylen, Joe Vastine, Cindy Heffern, Wendy Morris, Beth Keehne and Jeff Morris and we work closely with YRSF Park Ranger Rylan Retallick and YRSF Forester Bruce Blair.
About Yellow River State Forest
How do I make a camping or cabin reservation?
To make a camping reservation, go to https://www.reserveamerica.com/explore/yellow-river-state-forest/IA/610130/campsites or call (877)427-2757. (The Friends Group is not involved in camping reservations in any way, we are just sharing information).
Seventy-five percent of the campsites in the established campgrounds are reservable. We highly recommend making a reservation. If you chose to use one of the first come first serve sites please note there is no guarantee of availability and make sure you self register within 15 minutes of your arrival. This can be done at the entrance to each of the four campgrounds.
How do I learn more about Yellow River State Forest?
Go to http://iowadnr.gov/yellowriverstateforest
How do I know if trails are open?
For the most up to date information about trails, etc, contact the Park Ranger at 563-586-2254. The recording will have the most up to date information. Or, refer to the website in previous question.
Will my cell phone work there?
There is no cell service in the camping areas of Yellow River State Forest. Please plan accordingly.
Do I need to register for the hike-in sites?
These sites are operated on a first come first serve basis and you can self register anytime in the parking lot at 729 State Forest Rd. There are 5 backpacking areas each with 4 individual sites. You must stay at one of these sites - you cannot set up campsites in areas other than designated camping areas.
Can I ride my UTV there?
No ATVs/ UTVs are allowed in Yellow River State Forest.
Isn't this a state park?
Although the campgrounds are classified as a State Park by Iowa state statutes, the rest of Yellow River is a State Forest, with a mission to conserve and enhance our natural resources... to improve the quality of life in Iowa and ensure a legacy for future generations.
State forests are managed for healthy, sustainable forests and prairies, demonstrate forest management and research, maintain and improve natural wildlife habitat for game and non-game species, ensure water quality. They also exist to create and enhance PRIMITIVE, LOW-IMPACT RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES by providing trails; camping facilities; hunting, fishing, and other game management activities; and other primitive activities such as backpacking and bird-watching.
What are the addresses?
(All Harpers Ferry IA)
720 State Forest Rd -Big Paint Campground
723 State Forest Rd-Information Kiosk (a-frame)
729 State Forest Rd-Headquarters (area forester office, cabin)
737 State Forest Rd-Sawmill Complex (ranger's office, wood and ice sales, access to fire tower)
784 State Forest Rd-Creekside Equestrian Campground
794 State Forest Rd-Little Paint Campground
481 Luster Heights Road - Luster Heights Unit
751 Highway 364 - Paint Rock Unit
1986 Old Mission Road - Yellow River Unit