Lake Darling opens Thursday
BRIGHTON — Friends of Lake Darling president Fay Vittetoe said today that it has been a long time coming, and on Thursday afternoon a ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially reopen the Lake Darling State Park campground.
While the campground will officially allow campers at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Vittetoe said that the ceremony would mark the official opening. Just as when the campground was opened in 1950, she said, the work on the campground is not entirely complete. She cautions visitors to the park to be on the lookout for unfinished areas of the park, construction equipment, and animals that are not used to sharing the park with humans or vehicles.
“They are going to be working on the camp for the rest of the summer and probably through the winter to put the finishing touches on the campground,” Vittetoe said. “By this time next year, people will be able to see all the changes in the camp.”
The ribbon cutting will take place at 1:30 p.m. Vittetoe said that because the weather on Thursday is uncertain, the location has been moved from the main entrance to the new 200-person capacity picnic shelter at the first boat ramp inside the park. She said this is about four-tenths of a mile inside the park.
Area chambers of commerce and ambassadors will hold the ribbon cutting. During that time, Vittetoe said the Brighton Chamber of Commerce would unveil its Iowa Department of Transportation-approved plans to rename a section of Highway 78 as the “Ding” Darling Memorial Highway. The highway is being named in honor of Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, whom Lake Darling is named after. Darling was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who worked for newspapers in Des Moines and Sioux City. He was also a prominent figure in the conservation movement. He dedicated Lake Darling State Park on Sept. 17, 1950.
A bronze bust of Darling will also be unveiled at the site. Sam Koltinsky, executive producer of documentaries “America’s Darling” and “Darling is Back,” will present the “Brush of Excellence” to the Friends of Lake Darling.
An inaugural picnic will follow the ceremony. Tours of the newly renovated park will also be given.
Additionally, Vittetoe said, at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hold an official Grand Rededication of the Lake Darling State Park Program at the Lake Darling Legacy Lodge, formerly the Four Seasons Lodge.
Vittetoe also said that later this year or early next year, four-seasons cabins will be built in the park. She said a grand opening ceremony for the cabins would be announced at a later date.