Izaak Walton League of America

2015 IWLA National Convention  

Best Western Ramkota Hotel (Pierre, SD)

July 14 to July 17, 2015

South Dakota: Great Faces, Great Places (and we don't just mean these four faces carved into Mt. Rushmore!)

Whether you are a new member or have been part of the League for decades, attending the national convention is your best opportunity to meet Ikes from around the country and take part in the League's democratic process. You don't have to be an official delegate to attend the convention. It's open to EVERY League member.


Destry Jarvis, President
Outdoor Recreation & Park Services, LLC
Over the past century – even the past decade – America's conservation challenges have changed, as has our access to outdoor places. Destry Jarvis, who has spent 43 years working in the parks, recreation, preservation, and youth engagement fields, including as Assistant Director of the National Park Service, will discuss how those changes could shape the future of conservation and outdoor recreation in America.

Casey Kruse, Missouri River Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Casey Kruse and his staff have developed one of the most comprehensive and geographically challenging endangered species monitoring and recovery programs in the nation. Hear from Mr. Kruse about progress on the Missouri River and what it means for conservation of fish and wildlife nationwide.

Lynn Scarlett
Lynn Scarlett, Managing Director of Public Policy
The Nature Conservancy

Throughout a distinguished career in the public and private sectors, Lynn Scarlett has been an innovative thought leader on conservation issues. Ms. Scarlett will reflect on conservation successes of the past and discuss factors – including approaching conservation challenges at the regional and landscape scales and broadening public engagement – that will influence future conservation policy and projects.

In addition to official League business, from policy discussions to keynote speakers, other convention events include:
  • Small-group workshops where you can interact with speakers and gain practical skills on a variety of topics
  • A National Awards Luncheon to honor League members who made outstanding conservation contributions
  • The Parade of States, where chapters and divisions share the best food and drinks their states have to offer
  • An Awards Breakfast that recognizes membership recruiters and top chapter achievements
  • A dinner banquet Friday night to conclude the convention in style
Sunday, July 12 (8am to 4pm): Members of the League’s Sunshine Chapter will help you reel in “the big one” on Lake Sharpe or Lake Oahe. Price includes transportation, bait, rod and reel, lunch, and drinks. Each angler must have a South Dakota Fishing license (you can get a one-day non-resident license for $18). Visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Web site to purchase a fishing license online. For more information, e-mail John Henderson.

Tour #1, Monday, July 13 (9am-4pm): Enjoy two South Dakota success stories and see what the Great Plains looked like 200 years ago – and could be again!
  • Iverson Ranch: Dana Iverson’s 10,000-acre ranch along the Bad River offers awesome views, including buffalo herds, prairie dogs, a variety of birds, and maybe a mule deer or antelope too. Then enjoy an old-fashioned cowboy lunch, just like they made on those western trail drives. 
  • Fort Pierre National Grasslands: This mixed-grass prairie is one of only 20 national grasslands and gets the most rain of them all, bringing forth wildflowers, waving grasses, and an abundance of wildlife. It’s a great place to bird watch! In addition to local Ikes leading the way, guest speakers will meet you on the trail.
Tour #2, Monday, July 13 (9am-12pm): Looking for the scenic tour with a lot less walking involved? We’ve got four wheels with your name on them! The driving tour will showcase Pierre and the surrounding area, including the Capitol building, Soldiers and Sailors World War Memorial, Cultural Heritage Center, new Governor’s Mansion, and a wide variety of classic homes. 

Tuesday, July 14 (9am-12pm): The League’s Sunshine Chapter will host a morning trap shoot for adults and youth attending convention. Whether you’re a seasoned trap shooter or would like to learn, this is a great opportunity to get in some trap time before the convention starts. Loaner shotguns will be available as well as shells for purchase. 

You can find pricing and more details, including registration information, in the 2015 Convention Kit (PDF).

920 W. Sioux Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 224-6877
Room Rate: $104++
Hotel shuttle available from the Pierre Regional Airport.

You can find more information about Pierre, including the area's history and nearby attractions, on the Pierre Chamber of Commerce Web site.

South Dakota offers amazing landscapes and watchable wildlife – and our national convention in Pierre puts you right in the middle of the action! Take advantage of your time in South Dakota to visit a few of these national treasures. 

Less than two hours from Pierre, South Dakota, you’ll find…
  • Badlands National Park: Don’t let the name scare you away! You can have a good time in the Badlands. The pinnacles and ravines of this wild place include one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Enjoy a drive – or hike off the beaten path – through the starkly beautiful landscape where Teddy Roosevelt came to hunt buffalo.
  • Buffalo Gap National Grassland: This area is home to more than 100 species, including the black-footed ferret – the most endangered mammal in North America. Other watchable wildlife include pronghorn, prairie vole, coyotes, jackrabbits, lizards, porcupines, red fox, and numerous birds. Several species rely on abandoned structures from the Homestead Era that remain on the grassland. The visitor center is located in Wall, South Dakota. 
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site: The Minuteman Missile was an iconic weapon in America’s nuclear arsenal. This site was part of a missile field that included 15 launch control facilities and 150 missile silos that were operational through the early 1990s. Take a tour of an underground Launch Control Center and take a peek inside a missile silo (which now houses a training missile).
Head just a little farther west for….
  • Mount Rushmore: This tribute to Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt was completed in 1936. Hike the half-mile Presidential Trail for views of each president, including markers with presidential history.
  • Devils Tower National Monument: Rising above the grasslands and pine forests like a rocky sentinel, Devils Tower was America's first national monument, designated by President Theodore Roosevelt under the Antiquities Act in 1906.
  • Crazy Horse Memorial: The world's largest mountain carving in progress, this memorial's mission is to honor the culture, tradition, and living heritage of North American Indians.  
  • Custer State Park: This park in South Dakota's Black Hills offers breathtaking scenic drives, from the granite spires of Needles Highway (named for nearby needle-like granite formations) to views of a 1,300-head bison herd along Wildlife Loop Road. Explore 71,000 acres of outdoor adventure, spectacular terrain, and an abundance of wildlife. Kids will enjoy the Junior Ranger Program and virtual geocaching, where nature provides the answers. 
  • Deadwood: Walk in the footsteps of Wild West legends. You can mine for gold, pay a call on Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (in the graveyard), and root for your favorite gunslinger on Main Street. The town also offers a casino and spa.
  • Hot Springs and Woolly Mammoths: If you’re looking to relax, take a soak in the warm waters of Hot Springs. (Evans Plunge offers family-friendly water park fun.) The town is also home to the “Mammoth Site,” a museum and working paleontological site where you can view Columbian and woolly mammoth fossils in the ground where they were discovered. You’ll also find more than 80 other species of Ice Age fauna. 
  • Wind Cave National Park: The sixth longest cave in the world, Wind Cave is known for its “boxwork” – thin blades of calcite that form a honeycomb pattern on cave walls and ceilings. This treasure is secreted beneath one of our nation’s few remaining intact prairies. Cave tours are available for visitors of all abilities, from the less strenuous “Garden of Eden Tour” to the off-roading “Wind Cave Crawling Tour.”
Travel Tip: Fly in or out of Rapid City, South Dakota, to be close to these western attractions.

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