• Pink flowers blossom in the garden of a white two-room cottage.

    Herbert Hoover

    National Historic Site Iowa

Replanting of Prairie Trails Will Reduce Park's Carbon Footprint and Add Two Acres of Native Plants

A black and orange butterfly on a cluster of purple asters.
Native prairie wildflowers include New England asters.
NPS Photo

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Date: September 30, 2009
Contact: Adam Prato, (319) 643-7855

WEST BRANCH, IOWA— Visitors to Herbert Hoover National Historic Site may have noticed some changes to the trails in the restored tallgrass prairie. This summer the park took steps that will help reduce its carbon footprint and add over 2 acres of native plants to the prairie.

Two and a half miles of prairie trails are being reduced to seven feet wide from 10 to 14 feet wide, with the remaining three to seven feet of the original trail width replanted with native prairie seeds. The reduced width alone will cut mowing in the prairie in half by allowing park staff to maintain the trails with only one pass of the mower. The Kentucky blue-grass that once served as the trail vegetation has been replaced with a slow-growing “low-mow” fescue grass mix. The trails will require less frequent mowing and, as a result, less fossil fuel use by the park.

The new trail vegetation is now in a critical stage of its growth. The fescue seeds have just started to sprout and are putting down roots in order to survive the winter. We are asking visitors who walk the trails to be mindful of the new plants that are sprouting from the planter rows. The side of the trail that has not yet “greened-up” was planted with prairie seed and will be much more tolerant of pedestrian traffic this time of year. Visitors can help ensure the success of this project for the remainder of the fall and winter months by walking on the less green side of the trail and by avoiding the fescue seedlings.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space.

Did You Know?

The television-watching eyes of Herbert Hoover.

As Secretary of Commerce in 1927, Herbert Hoover was the first person to appear on an intercity television broadcast. When television became more widespread, Hoover didn't watch it much except to see baseball games. More...