For OHV riders, Gypsum City is paradise
Many people, groups deserve credit for creation of the park
A sprawling testament to a creative vision and strong partnerships can be found south of Fort Dodge.
It is called the Gypsum City Off Highway Vehicle Park and it is spread over 800 acres of land that were once gypsum quarries.
The first section of the park opened July 8, 2006. Since then, it has steadily grown to become the largest park of its kind in the state and one of the largest in the Midwest. Its amenities include 65 miles of trails, a 1.5 mile motocross track, a short track for kids learning to ride, a campground with 33 camping sites and a couple of tiny houses that people can stay in.
The park represents an investment of more than $10 million.
A handful of local off-road riders saw potential in the site. Their quest to turn it into a riding paradise came about through working with multiple other entities. Those entities included the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, BPB Manufacturing, Georgia-Pacific Corp., National Gypsum Co., United States Gypsum Co., the Fort Dodge Planning Department, the Webster County Improvement Corp., the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and Webster County Conservation. A new organization called the Webster County Wheelers was created to work with the park. And those are just some of the entities involved. Altogther there were 18 organizations that had a role in developing the Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park.
Just how successful their work was can be seen by driving past the site’s parking lot. Just about every day, and especially on weekends, it is full of the vehicles and trailers of those who have brought their four-wheelers or other machines to enjoy the park. Out-of-state license plates can be regularly spotted there, which shows the park’s popularity crosses state lines.
The idea of being able to ride in the natural area left behind when the mining stopped has evolved into a unique attraction not only for Iowa, but the Midwest. We salute all those who worked for years to make it possible.