A western Iowa group is working on a proposal to establish Iowa’s Loess Hills as a National Reserve, bringing a potential economic boost to the region while preserving its unique environmental characteristics.

The designation would establish the Loess Hills as an affiliate of the National Parks Service without intruding on the property rights of farmers or other private property owners, said Terry Lewis, a farmer and board member of the Loess Hills Alliance.

"For the most part, no one would see any differences as far as their way of life," said Lewis, a retired science teacher who operates a Christmas tree farm in Fremont County and also serves on the Fremont County Farm Bureau board of directors. "There’s no condemnation of land, no eminent domain. That’s always the first concern."

A key benefit of National Res­erve status for the Loess Hills region would be eligibility for in­­creased ...