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LOESS HILLS AND HERITAGE WEEK Whereas: The Loess Hills region of Western Iowa includes some of Iowa’s most beautiful and precious cultural, historic and natural resources. Loess (pronounced “luss”), a German term meaning loose or crumbly, is a yellowish sedimentary deposit of wind-blown silt forming a distinctive 640,000-acre range of hills running parallel to the Missouri River 220 miles from Mound City, MO to Westfield, IA, passing through Fremont, Mills, Pottawattamie, Harrison, Monona, Woodbury and Plymouth Counties. Loess Hills like Iowa’s are rare, found in no other part of the world except near the Yellow River in China. Whereas: The Loess Hills bluffs, as they are sometimes called, have a wealth of special wildlife, trees and prairie plants. The state cited 39 rare animal and plant species there, the largest concentration in Iowa. Hills animals such as the plains pocket mouse, ornate box turtle, Great Plains skink (lizard) and spadefoot toad, are becoming rare and even endangered. Three-fourths of Iowa’s original native prairies are there. Whereas: The Loess Hills region is known as one of this country’s prehistoric gems, home to more than 800 archeological sites. Humans have been crossing through or living in the region for at least the past 12,000 years. Nationally significant are the late settlements of Mill Creek (900 AD), the Glenwood lodge sites (1000 AD), Kimball Village (1100 AD), and the findings at the Turin gravel pit (3000 BC). Whereas: The Loess Hills region celebrates a rich history of exploration and pioneer settlement, from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the great Mormon migration, to the Mormon, California and Oregon Trails that tempted pioneers westward, the Underground Railroad, and the old transcontinental Lincoln Highway. Whereas: The communities of the Loess Hills continue to offer a vibrant place in the culture, history and arts of the region, drawing upon their unique heritage and geological influence. Many of these towns are threaded together by the Loess Hills Scenic Byway, named one of the 10 most scenic roads in the U.S. by nonprofit Scenic America. Currently more than 60 parks offer a glimpse of the impressive nature of the Hills and six National Landmarks are located in this region. Whereas: A significant grassroots effort is underway in the Loess Hills region to celebrate the unique historical, cultural, geological and aesthetic character of the Loess Hills. Therefore: We hereby proclaim September 23 to October 1, 2017 as Loess Hills and Heritage Week, and urge public, private and volunteer groups during this time to promote the Loess Hills, educate the public about them and encourage all to see and enjoy this rare and precious region.