Contributed by Friends of the Pine Creek Grist Mill

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently awarded Friends of the Pine Creek Grist Mill the Group Length of Service Volunteer Award for all that the group has accomplished since forming in 1996. The award honors the group’s 20+ years of service to Wildcat Den State Park and over 60,000 hours of volunteer service.

The mill was a dead building when Friends formed in 1996 to bring it back to life and interpret it. Few people had been inside since it was purchased by the State of Iowa in 1927. The Friends now demonstrate the working machinery and have an active interpretation program that includes school field trips and being open to families and tourists. In 2016, almost 11,000 visitors came to the mill. In 2017, about 1,500 school children came for a day of learning.

The Friends group was nominated by park manager Gwen Prentice. Department of Natural Resources leadership from Des Moines and southeast Iowa joined in honoring the group’s efforts.