Ann Raisch lives in Eldora, Iowa, with her husband Les. It was her dream of visiting every state park in Iowa that sparked the inspiration for Anna Rea's statewide tour in celebration of the State Park Centennial. A lifelong park enthusiast, she will be Kevin's co-pilot and Anna Rea's passenger on the Heritage Auto Tour.
It's great fun for Ann to tell longtime DNR employees that she held her very first state park job at the age of 8! While they may have put in 30-some steady years, she gets a kick out of sharing that she's been involved for 50-some.
From 1963 to 1973, Ann helped run a family concession and boat rental at Union Grove State. Those ten years of her childhood sparked a lifelong love of parks. Since then, she's served as past president of the Friends of Pine Lake and past president of Eldora Trees Forever, initiated and helped organize the first statewide Friends of State Parks meeting, and been a member of the Iowa Parks Foundation board and Trees Forever board. She's a current member of the Friends of Pine Lake and board member of Eldora Trees Forever.
Ann has invested her passion for parks as a lead on capital improvement projects, including Union Grove's revamped campground, cabins for year-round use, and bridge and lakeside trail, as well as playgrounds for both Pine Lake and Union Grove. Through several tree planting projects, Ann has also helped hundreds of trees take root—207 at Eldora (including the new arboretum), 150 at Union Grove following a 2011 windstorm, and a whopping 250 at Pine Lake following a 2019 hailstorm.
Ann is a former member of both the Iowa Parks Foundation and Trees Forever Board. And while she's Kevin's passenger on Anna Rea's trek across Iowa, she isn't just along for the ride! Ann is also a veritable wordsmith, so stay tuned for the stories and blog posts she writes from the road!