Garlic Mustard Awareness Week: April 11-17

Mayor Lorraine Borowski is declaring by proclamation: April 11-17 Garlic Mustard Awareness Week

Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that can take over our woodlands if it is not controlled.

Join Friends of the Park to learn about and help remove garlic mustard at the following events! For all events bring gloves, and a hand diggers or hoe if you have them. We’ll also have tools on hand.

Wednesday, April 14, 4-5pm: Dunning’s Spring parking lot on the south side of Ice Cave Rd.

Friday, April 16, 4-5pm: Palisades parking lot near where the paved road forks up towards Palisades Park.

Saturday, April 17, 10am-noon: Van Peenen parking lot off of Quarry Hill Rd.

Other outings are being planned before and after, and opportunities to adopt a plot will be provided. Please contact: Mary Lewis 563-202-4064 for further information.

Try eating the enemy (garlic mustard) at both La Rana and Rubaiyat during the week of April 11. Both restaurants will serve tasty offerings made from Garlic Mustard.

Prairie Burns Scheduled

Prescribed prairie burns will take place on parts of the Decorah Community Prairie. The burns will take place between April 12 and May 14.  Weather conditions are the major determination as to when the burns will take place. If you would like a notification of the exact day and time of the burns, please call the Park and Rec. office at 382-4158 and leave your phone number. We will try to notify you when the exact date and time are determined.

Prescribed burns are an effective resource management tool utilized to discourage the growth of weeds and woody vegetation while promoting the growth of desired native vegetation in prairie restoration sites.

Job Openings: Summer Lifeguards

Lifeguards in waterThe Decorah Parks and Recreation Department is looking for highly energetic, motivated, and responsible individuals to join our staff as lifeguards!

The Decorah Parks and Recreation Department is now taking applications for lifeguards for the 2021 pool season. The pool season runs mid-May through late-August and offers full and part-time lifeguard positions. For more information and to request an application contact the Decorah Parks and Recreation Office at 563-382-4158 or via email (

The Decorah Parks & Recreation Department is still working to finalize lifeguard certification dates.

Spring Off Road Trail Etiquette & Information

Spring weather has arrived and we are all ready to get outside and enjoy the trails, but unfortunately many off road trails are not ready for bike or foot traffic just yet. Each spring the off road trails go through freeze thaw cycles and walking or riding trails too early in the season can cause significant immediate as well as long term damage. This can also occur after rain, which results in muddy trails.

Decorah boasts a wonderful off road trail system. Please be mindful of trail conditions before heading walking, riding, or running on the trails, and please remember to stay on trails while you’re exploring.

For more information regarding freeze thaw cycles please visit this article by Decorah Human Powered Trails, which was published a few years ago, but is still equally relevant today.

Thanks for being respectful of the trail system and for monitoring trail conditions before you head out to explore!

Easter Egg Hunt – Sun, March 28

Children 8 years and under are invited to participate in Decorah Parks & Recreation’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt Sunday, March 28th at 3:00pm at Will Baker Athletic Fields!

The Egg Hunt will begin promptly at 3:00pm and children will find a designated number of eggs filled with candy or prizes. The Easter Bunny will be available for photos and egg hunters will receive a participation gift at the close of the hunt. Masks should be worn when social distancing is not possible.

Registration for the Easter Egg Hunt must be completed in the Park-Rec Office by Friday, March 19. Cost is $4 per participant and must be paid with cash or check at time of registration.

Spring Soccer Informatoin

youth soccer player with maskDecorah Parks and Recreation Spring Soccer program is open for registration. Soccer is open to children ages 3 thru 7th grade and is held Saturday mornings at Will Baker Athletic Fields. Registration for all soccer leagues must be completed by Monday, March 22.

Pee Wee Coed Soccer League (ages 3 & 4) is held Saturday mornings, April 24 thru May 15. Cost is $20 per child and includes a t-shirt. 5 year old thru 7th grade soccer is held Saturday mornings, April 10 thru May 15. Participants are divided according to age and grade level. Cost is $25 per participant and includes a t-shirt. All players are required to wear shin guards, which Decorah Park-Rec provides at the fields. Masks must be worn by participants, coaches, staff, and volunteers at all times.

Registration can be completed online or in the Park-Rec Office. Credit and Debit cards are accepted online, registration in the Park-Rec Office must be paid by cash or check.

BookWalk in Phelps Park

BookWalk GraphicThe Decorah Public Library, the Decorah Community School District, and the Decorah Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a BookWalk Friday, March 12 thru Sunday, March 28.

A BookWalk is a fun way to read while enjoying the outdoors. This month’s story is Whoever You Are written by Leslie Staub. Pages of the book will be posted on the paved trail in Phelps Park.

The BookWalk is free, open to the public, and does not require registration.  The story is available in both English and Spanish.

Warm Places in Outdoor Spaces: Fire Pit Reservation Program

Photo of fire & fire pitDecorah Parks and Recreation is now offering a reservation program for fire pits at Phelps Park Shelter #1, Whalen Cabin, Will Baker Park, and Upper Twin Springs Park.   Firewood will be provided; patrons should bring their own chairs and are responsible for starting and extinguishing the fire.  Fire pits are available 7 days a week, but all reservations must be made Monday thru Thursday, from 8 am to 4 pm, by calling the Park-Rec. Office at (563) 382-4158.

There is no reservation fee, but patrons are encouraged to make a free will donation to support the Decorah Parks System.  A cash donation or check payable to Decorah Park-Rec. may be put in an envelope addressed to Decorah Park-Rec. and dropped in the Water Bill Drop Off Slot at the front entrance of the Decorah Municipal Center.  You may also mail it to Decorah Park-Rec., PO Box 513, Decorah, IA 52101.

Winter Trail & Recreation Information

Updated March 3, 2021

The ice rink and snow are melting quickly due to warm temperatures. The extended forecast of temperatures in the 40s and 50s are bringing an ended to our outdoor winter recreation opportunities. At this point, the ice rink is closed and the ski trails are continually melting away. Thanks for a wonderful winters season!


The following trails were groomed Monday, February 22

  • Carlson Park
  • Palisades
  • Trout Run Trail section beginning at the west end of Dug Road and traveling east to the Fish Hatchery
  • Will Baker Athletic Fields

The following trails were groomed Tuesday, February 23

  • Decorah Community Prairie
  • Luther College Intramural Fields
  • Luther Gateway Prairie
  • Trout Run Trail from the Decorah Campground to the Fish Hatchery traveling south


Decorah Parks & Recreation encourages those snowshoeing to use the multi-use trail in Carlson Park, the Decorah Community Prairie, and the trails in Van Peenen. Please be courteous of skiers and stay off the groomed ski trails.

Plowed Walking Routes – new this season!

Staff will plow routes for walking throughout the winter season.

  • Route #1: Starting at 5th Ave Bridge, travel south along bike trail to Pulpit Rock Campground. Pulpit Rock Campground will be plowed for pedestrians to walk loops around the campground and can return to 5th Ave bridge via the bike trail.
  • Route #2: Freeport trail is plowed from Bowstring Bridge to Haugen Hummel. Pedestrians can park in the parking lot by bowstring bridge or in the northwest corner of the Walmart Parking lot.

Ice Skating Rink

The skating rink opened for the season January 1, 2021. The warming house and restrooms are closed due to COVID-19, but a porta potty is available. There is no rink attendant. Please obey signage and be mindful of cones which indicate poor ice conditions. Park-Rec staff will continue to add water to the rink evenings when overnight temperatures dip into the teens. It is important that individuals stay off the rink after it is flooded to give water time to freeze and make good ice.

February Book Walk

The Decorah Public Library, the Decorah Community School District, and the Decorah Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a Book Walk Friday, February 12 thru Sunday, February 28.

A Book Walk is a fun way to read while enjoying the outdoors. This month’s story is Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Pages of the book will be posted beginning at Bowstring Bridge off of Highway 9 and traveling northeast along the Freeport Trail towards the Dog Park.

The Book Walk is free, open to the public, and does not require registration. The story is available in both English and Spanish.