Volunteers Help Clean Up Derecho Debris from Des Moines Parks

Press Release

DES MOINES, IOWA - Friday, August 28, 2020 - Cleanup of storm debris in Des Moines parks is underway following the derecho storm that hit Des Moines on August 10. City staff have partnered with generous volunteers to help speed up the process and return parks, trails and cemeteries to normal condition.

Des Moines Parks and Recreation oversees more than 4,000 acres of land throughout 75 parks, 65 miles of paved trails and seven cemeteries. From just a few trees down to most trees down in some parks, the damage from the derecho was extensive.

With record use of our parks system this year due to COVID-19, staff are working hard to safely remove debris as quickly as possible. Des Moines Parks and Recreation and Public Works staff have been working alongside community volunteers to create piles of smaller debris, to cut away larger debris from trailways and to pick up and dispose of the debris.

"I want to thank the volunteers. We put out a call to our volunteer network and received a great response," said Benjamin Page, director of Des Moines Parks and Recreation. "Folks came from all parts of the city, from the corporate segment to individual residents, and they all came out to help us clean up some of these parks."

Unlike residential neighborhood cleanup efforts, larger debris in Des Moines parks will need to wait until the ground freezes before being removed. With the current temperatures, the large equipment needed to remove large debris would create ruts on soft ground and would require additional investment to repair. Parks and Recreation staff are recording where large debris has fallen and will return to those areas once the ground is frozen.

Due to damaged limbs that may not have fallen yet and may not have been addressed by staff, residents are asked to be aware of their surroundings and to look up for loose limbs before deciding to sit underneath a tree.

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About Des Moines Parks and Recreation
Founded in 1892, the Parks and Recreation Department’s mission is “Helping Des Moines Live Well, Play Hard and Protect the Earth.” Our department is responsible for the management of 75 parks, over 4,000 acres of parkland, 81 miles of trails, seven cemeteries and numerous municipal facilities.  In addition, we offer numerous programs in the areas of sports, urban conservation, environment education, sport instruction, volunteerism, rentals and special events.  For more information on Des Moines Parks and Recreation programs or facilities, visit our website (dmparks.org), Facebook (facebook.com/desmoinesparks), Twitter (@desmoinesparks) or Instagram (instagram.com/desmoinesparks).