FAYETTE--The Friends of the Volga River Recreation Area hope that new ID markers for the Volga River near Fayette, will keep recreational enthusiasts familiar with the area, as they enjoy the beauty of the river.
The identification system for the Volga River was designed to aid kayakers, hunters, and hikers who become lost or find themselves on the river as darkness descends.
In recent years, recreationists have overturned in canoes and needed help, and squirrel hunters from out of state have gotten lost on several occasions. The bluff country makes it difficult to determine one's location, and doesn't always allow for good cell phone reception.
Volga River Rec Area Park Manager Tom Halverson, says that just this past April, a group of five to six people in canoes became separated and started to panic as darkness began to fall. "It was almost 10 p.m. before they got off the river because they just didn't have a good idea of how long their trip would take when they started out." He added that temperatures were in the 30's that night, and at least one of the canoes had overturned, so the occupants were quite chilled by the time they reached the canoe access point of the Volga River Rec Area.
The Friends group has several ideas for potential projects to benefit the state park just north of Fayette. However, it's first project was to have signs crafted (by Iowa Prison Industries) that will be placed on bridges and posts along the Volga River.
The nine signs, which cost around $325 to have made, include one sign that will be placed at Klock's Island Park in Fayette. The signs contain helpful and basic suggestions for paddlers as they begin a canoe/kayak trip. According to volunteer Luke Wright, the signage includes: the distance to upcoming take-outs, and the recommendation to shut off cell phones (as the area of bluff terrain often causes phones to search continuously, wearing a battery down).
Additional signs instruct on the distance to Wadena (the next public take out) from the Heron Road Bridge at the state park's east edge, and identification of landmarks like the Albany Bridge and Big Rock.
The signs are reflective and will be put in place (in true Iowa style) when the members of the volunteer group are able to get together and the weather is warm enough.
*The organization of volunteers has acquired 501(c)3 status. If anyone would like to make a donation to the Friends of the Volga Rec Area, or do so in memory of a loved one or family member, contributions can be sent directly to:
Friends of the Volga River Rec Area
Treasurer Brad Pleggenkuhle
P.O. Box 211, Denver, IA 50622