A desire to maintain the natural state of a tract of land near Hamburg motivated its owner, Dr. John Wanamaker, to make a donation that will be a boon to residents of the area and beyond.
Dr. Wanamaker and his wife, Karen, decided last year to donate 400 acres of their property in the Loess Hills.
The property is located along Bluff Road three miles north of the Hamburg swimming pool.
Wanamaker donated the land to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation which, in turn, donated it to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
That land will be made accessible to the public, under limited restrictions, for use in the pursuit of recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting and bird watching.
Overnight camping, motorized vehicles and fires will not be permitted on the land, but the public access for recreation opportunity is one that helps the Iowa DNR address the need to preserve land and increase access for the public for recreation in the state.
Wanamaker said the Iowa DNR expressed appreciation for the donation and had a ceremony in Des Moines to recognize this donation and the donation of other land owners.
Wanamaker said he and his wife decided to make the donation with an eye toward the future.
“I wanted it to be maintained in its natural state and never be developed or farmed or divided,” he said. “The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation was the vessel to accomplish that.”
Wanamaker said donating the land gives him peace of mind about its future use.
“It’s a big relief,” he said.
The land donation was officially recolonized during a dedication and the tract was named in honor of the original homesteader on the property from back in the 1850s. That homesteader is buried on the site in a family cemetery.
The land will now be known as the Eli Slusher Wildlife Management Area.