Ernst makes stop at Pikes Peak

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Senator Joni Ernst made a stop at Pikes Peak State Park, south of McGregor, on July 16. She’s pictured here at the Crows Nest overlook with campground host Steve Lewis and Pikes Peak seasonal staff members. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

Senator Joni Ernst made a stop at Pikes Peak State Park, south of McGregor, on July 16, as part of her 99-county tour of Iowa. The visit celebrated the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks this year.

“This is the first official trip I’ve had to a state park,” Ernst said. “We wanted to be able to celebrate, hear a little bit about their structure and ways we can be supportive.”

It was not the senator’s first time at Pikes Peak, however. Around 10 years ago, Ernst said she and a group of fellow National Guard members stopped while on a motorcycle ride.

“We’d come out with our spouses and motorcycle up and down the Mississippi and stay at little B&Bs along the way. We’d come in the fall because the leaves were so beautiful,” she recalled.

That visit included just a quick trek out to the park’s iconic scenic overlook, so Ernst was happy to see and learn more of Pikes Peak this time around. In addition to stopping at the overlook, the senator walked to Bridal Veil Falls and met with the Friends of Pikes Peak State Park group, seasonal and other DNR staff, who spoke about their duties, shared some history about the park and area and talked about the influx of visitors this year.

Ernst said she most enjoyed learning about the Native American burial mounds in the park.

“I would’ve never known those mounds were there,” she remarked. “It’s fascinating. It’s part of our history.”

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