Former resident of Union Grove Lake, Ann (Sharp) Raisch, grew up at Union Grove. Her family operated the concession at the park for 10 years (1963-1973) from the time was in second grade until she graduated from high school.
This experience left her with a lifetime love of Union Grove Lake and other Iowa State Parks. Ann is now on the board of the Iowa Parks Foundation and helping spearhead the construction of a second cabin at the lake.
The state lake is located between Gladbrook and Garwin in Tama county.
A deer is seen at the rear of the cabin in this view looking toward Union Grove Lake.
-Photos from Sue Thompson
The new cabin will be identical to the original. The structure is usable year round with heating and air conditioning. The floor plan consists of a bedroom and living area with a futon for extra sleeping space. The living room will also easy chairs and end tables. There will be full bath and kitchen. The kitchen will be equipped with refrigerator/freezer, stove, microwave, and dishwasher. It will have a table and four chairs for dining. The cabin will have a covered patio overlooking the lake along with picnic table and fire ring. The cabin will be built on a location in a wooded area near the lake. The cabin will be built on the south side of the lake positioned between the campground and the lake. It will be built on the east side of the original cabin with a screen of trees and shrubs for privacy. The location also make efficient use of the existing utilities. These cabins will make it possible for people to stay in the park that otherwise cannot, not everyone has or can have camping equipment.
The original cabin will be used more if there is a second. People like to rent a cabin with another couple or family to join them by staying next door. The cabins can also be enjoyed by local residents as well. It gives them an opportunity to stay in the park while enjoying hiking, boating, fishing, and swimming. Improving Union Grove Lake may attract new people to the community. Businesses and individuals are more likely to move to an area with outdoor recreation. Tourism can also improve bringing dollars to the local businesses as tourists purchase groceries, gas, and can visit other local attractions and restaurants.
Other improvements at Union Grove Lake are a Water Quality Improvement Project-purchased 110 acres of land, the land purchased makes a large portion of the lake's watershed area; Campground Project-added year round cabin, shower building, nine full hook ups with water, septic, and electric, and two new electrical sites; Storm Clean-Up-On July 11, 2011 straight line winds of over 120 mph tore through the park for 20 minutes; Restoration Project-purchase of 84 nursery trees 6 to 10 feet tall and caged each with a cattle panel attached to two steel fence posts; Electricity to West Shelter-local businesses donated money to route electricity to west picnic shelter.
"This is the time to do another cabin," said Ann. "The DNR has agreed to contribute $90,000. The Iowa Parks Foundation is willing to donate $30,000, so we have $120,000 of the $150,000 the cabin is estimated to cost, $30,000 more is needed."
The Iowa Parks Foundation looks forward to joining with private supporters of Union Grove to keep the park's momentum forward.
You can help with donations towards the park's newest improvement. Make checks payable to the "Iowa Parks Foundation", a tax deductible 501 (c) (3) charity, which will hold and dispense funds to complete the project. In the notation part of the check please write "Union Grove". Send checks to "Iowa Parks Foundation" c/0 Joe Gunderson, 321 E. Walnut Street, Suite 300, Des Moines, Iowa 50309.
Further questions may be sent to Iowa Parks Foundation board member Ann Raisch at (641) 640-0145.