Decorah Parks and Recreation is working to make your parks better
Below are current projects you might encounter in the parks.  Please email us at if you have any questions.

Restoration of Pulpit Rock Picnic and Gathering Area

This area has been cleared of invasive species to restore the original picnic and gathering area.  A wall around the area was built.

rock wall at Pulpit Rock gathering area

picture of pillars marking the entrance to Pulpit Rock trail

Pulpit Rock Trail Restoration

The off road trail in Will Baker Park that leads to Pulpit Rock will be restored with funding from the Iowa Great Places Grant. Will Baker Park and Pulpit Rock will remain open to visitors throughout this project.

  • Stone pillars were installed at the trail head by stone mason John Klosterboer.
  • New signage will be installed.
  • Trail restoration was started in late fall and will be completed in Spring 2021.


picture of new playground equipment at Vennehjem

New Playground Equipment at Vennehjem Park

Vennehjem Park received a considerable improvement to its landscape this summer with newly installed playground equipment.  This project began with a neighborhood fundraiser spearheaded by Spence McKinney, former director of Decorah Parks and Recreation, and a grant from the Winneshiek Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.  60% of the project was covered by donations and the WCCF grant.

Dunning's Spring parking lot

Dunning's Spring and Ice Cave Access

Dunning's Spring Park and Ice Cave are accessible from the west end of Ice Cave Road. Visitors should park in the gravel lot on the south side of the road. If the parking lot is full visitors may park along Ice Cave Road. Please be respectful of private property around the park.

  • Dunning's Spring Waterfall: 200 yard walk from gravel parking lot. Head north on paved drive across the road from the parking lot. Please note there is not parking at the waterfall.
  • Ice Cave: 1/2 mile walk from the grave parking lot. Head east on Ice Cave Road. This road is closed to vehicles and thru traffic. Ice Cave is open to the public with no fee for admission. Click here for more information about Ice Cave.
Phelps Park Bridge

Phelps Park Trail Improvements

Trails in Phelps Park will be improved through funding received from the Iowa Great Places Grant.

  • The rock steps approaching the first bridge as you head west on the trail from Phelps Park were renovated in June and July.
picture of pillaras at entrance to re-established trail connecting Dug Road to Phelps Park

Re-establishment of Trail from Dug Road to Phelps Park

Park staff are re-establishing a trail that links Dug Road to Phelps Park.  Stone mason John Klosterboer constructed stone pillars in July and August as a marker for the entrance of the north end of the trail.  This project is part of the Iowa Great Places Grant and trail work is expected to be completed in Spring or Early Summer 2021.

In addition to the trail work, large ash trees were recently removed due to the emerald ash borer disease.


Carlson Park trail

Carlson Park Trail Construction

Carlson Park is Decorah's newest park.

  • A master plan for future development is being created.
  • Parks crews cleared a main loop through the park that will serve as both a trail and maintenance road.
  • The park was closed for a period in  July following trail construction and seeding to allow the grass to grow.
  • Two open house events were held in early October at Carlson Park as an opportunity for the public to share their input regarding the development of a master plan for this new park.   Attendees were invited to bring their hiking shoes or off-road bike to explore the undeveloped property. Suggestions and comments were taken onsite by park planners during the open house events or could be submitted by electronic survey.