Friday, October 12, 2012

Indian Mounds of Palisades-Kepler State Park


Along a road from the park ranger's office to the camping ground within Palisades State Park near Mount Vernon, Iowa a sign identifies the site of several Indian mounds. Unlike the more famous Effigy Mounds in extreme northeast Iowa where the mounds are animal shapes, these mounds are slight rises roughly conical in shape and perhaps 3-4 feet high. Visitors are free to walk throughout the mounds and interpret their meaning. No informative signs are present to describe the mounds, their builders or their age. At this time of year the park is filled with people enjoying the change of color and warm temperatures. 

While I photographed the scene, several cars slowed to look at the mounds. Only one car stopped. Two people got out, walked over and clicked a quick photo then left. For the twenty minutes that I spent at the site, no one else stopped to inspect these ancient monuments. Isn't it interesting that modern visitors drive by historic sites, grab a quick photo and dash to the next scene? I've seen this behavior before at many historic sites. Perhaps the limitations of time or the mobility of the visitor are to blame but an extended stop may help people understand a bit more of the site and make for a richer experience.