Dakins Lake: Park Offerings, Info, & History

70613 130th Street, Zearing, IA 50278

Located just north of Zearing in northeast Story County, Dakins Lake includes remnant and restored prairie, successional timber, trails, and 20 acres of open water in two lakes. The 103-acre park offers hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, geocaching, and a natural playscape.  


  • 20-acre lake stocked with bass, bluegill, channel catfish, perch, and walleye. 
    • Fishing jetties 
    • Fish cleaning station
    • electric trolling motors only
  • The main campground has 11 full hook-up sites and 18 sites with electricity and water 
  • The primitive campground has 10 camp sites with electrical hookups; water hydrants and portable toilet on site
  • Picnicking throughout the park including one picnic shelter with a kitchenette available for reservation
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Hiking and off-road biking on the park's two miles of trails.
  • Small restored prairie and wooded areas.
  • Snowmobiling is allowed during posted park hours on lake ice only. Operation must be in compliance with Iowa Code 321G.
  • Golf carts and off-road utility vehicles are allowed to operate on the roads at Dakins Lake during the hours of sunrise to sunset. In compliance with Iowa Code 321I and vehicles must be equipped with adequate brakes, a slow moving vehicle sign, a bicycle safety flag, and carry no more than the number of passengers designated by the manufacturer. Operators must have a valid driver’s license and follow all park rules. Vehicles cannot be operated in a careless, reckless, or negligent manner. Golf carts, ATVs, and off-road utility vehicles are allowed to operate on the lake ice at Dakins Lake during posted park hours.  


The Dakins farm served as the site for the National Soil Conservation Field Day in 1950. President Truman spoke at the event, which drew one of the largest crowds in the history of the area. The present lake and park access road were constructed for the event, and continue to provide access to recreation for the entire area. Interestingly, the first multiflora roses in the area were planted “for wildlife” as part of that event. The Story County Conservation Board was created in 1959, and began discussion of acquiring “Sam Dakins’ Lake" in November of that year. A lease to begin management of the original 17.5 acre park, the board’s first management area, was negotiated early in 1960, and the first seasonal park custodian was hired in May. The area was referred to as “Picnic Point Park” for a few months, but quickly became known as Dakins Lake. The park was renovated in 2015 and gained a new campground, shelter, shower house, and playground, several wetlands, and an additional lake. The city of Zearing fundraised to stock the new lake with larger fish.  

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