2019 Iowa County Conservation Summer Day Camps registration is now open!
Follow the link to check out information about and register for ICC 2019 summer day camps.
2019 Iowa County Conservation Summer Day Camps registration is now open!
Follow the link to check out information about and register for ICC 2019 summer day camps.
It’s time for our annual Creepy Camping!
We will kick off Creepy Camping with an outdoor showing of “Hotel Transylvania” at dusk (around 7:30 p.m.) on Friday evening. Genoa Bluffs Farms will be offering Ghost Town kettle corn and drinks for sale.
We are excited to bring back some favorite activities and try out some new activities. This year we are replacing the haunted hayride with 2 Escape Rooms.
There will be a room designed for groups of 2-6 people that are 10 years and older. You will discover that someone in your group has been bitten by a werewolf and you have 30 minutes to find the antidote. There will be a series of problems to solve using clues hidden in the main level and children’s area of the Nature Center. Each group must pay $10 at the Nature Center before entering the Escape Room.
The second room is intended for groups of 2-6 that are 9 years old and under. All groups must be chaperoned by an adult. When you enter the lower level of the Nature Center you discover that a thief has been ransacking campsites at Lake Iowa. You have 15 minutes to find the culprit before your campsite is hit. There will be an easier set of problems to solve using hidden clues in the room and a volunteer will be in the room to provide hints. Each group must pay $5 before entering the Escape Room.
There are 12 timeslots available for the older Escape Room and 21 timeslots for the younger Escape Room. Click on the sign up link below to go to our Sign Up Genius page and select the age group you plan to attend. Please limit your sign up to one time slot and only select one slot for one group of 2-6 people.
Also new this year is the 4-H Pumpkin Rolling fundraiser sponsored by the Four Leaf Clovers from Williamsburg. Each pumpkin will cost $5 and each participant will try to roll their pumpkin through a Charlie Brown themed obstacle course set up by the Round House in the Lake Iowa Campground. This event begins at 10:00 a.m.
Registration for our Creepy Camping Dummy Board Tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday behind the Nature Center on the lower level. The double elimination tournament will begin at 1:00 p.m.
We will hold a costume contest at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday on the lawn in front of the Nature Center. Members of our staff and Friends of Iowa County Conservation Foundation will hand out ribbons for most creative, scariest, best group, funniest and best overall costume. We will also be visiting campsites during the weekend to determine which sites will be awarded “Best Daytime Halloween Decorating” and Best Evening Halloween Decorating”.
At 5:00 p.m. on Saturday we will close off the campground road so that trick-or-treaters can visit campsites from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sundown Lounge will be selling Halloween pizzas at the Nature Center parking area at the campground host site beginning around noon on Saturday.
We hope everyone enjoys a fun-filled Creepy Camping!
One of the paved roads leading to Lake Iowa Park is being upgraded to cement. The project will run from June to late August/early September.
A short 2 1/2 mile detour may be used by those travelers arriving from I-80 or north of I-80. plan to use 216th Street, the first gravel road heading west after Exit 211 on I-80. This road will curve to the south and turn into G Avenue which will lead to the park.
For a short time we will recommend a longer detour when the intersection of G Avenue and 230th Street is rebuilt. This part of the project should take less than 10 days and will begin August 13, 2018. Drive south of H Avenue and turn west on 266th Street and then north on G Avenue. There will be large brown Lake Iowa Park signs placed to help find the route.
Our Iowa County Conservation Podcast Iowa Nature Notes: Your LINC to the Outdoors is ready for your listening pleasure on https://castbox.fm/.
If you are not the most tech savvy person, a podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. It is similar to a radio show but you get to pick when you hear podcasts and you handpick the topics you like. There is an endless list of genres and topics for everyone.
Castbox.fm is just one of many apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet and is where you can subscribe to the Iowa Nature Notes: Your LINC to the Outdoors podcast. You can also just open the Castbox website on your computer and click on the Listen tab on the top right corner of the home page. Each month our staff will release a segment on a new topic relating to conservation and the great outdoors.
We have tackled 8 subjects to date covering topics ranging from animals such as owls and bobcats to natural phenomenon like bioluminescence. We’ve also touched on homesteading skills such as beekeeping and maple sugaring.
We are excited about the vast array of topics we can cover. We hope you learn something new every time you listen and find a new thing about nature to love and explore.
If you have a question or topic for us to tackle email us at email@example.com.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught”-Babe Dioum
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN AT https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/118363
Summertime fun abounds at Lake Iowa Park on June 16th! Iowa County Conservation and Iowa County Pheasants Forever are celebrating our 5th year of introducing youth to over a dozen activities to get them active and outdoors. We have volunteers ready to share their love of archery, canoeing, shooting sports and much more. It is a great time for parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles to spend the day with kids trying new things or sharing a love for a favorite activity.
Every station has a hands on activity to try. Kids earn a punch on their activity card for each station they visit. Kids who visit 10 stations can be sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a badge.
With each registration received by June 8th a child receives a free t-shirt and lunch.
Check-in begins at 10:00 a.m. on the 16th and stations are open until 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be served from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Lake Iowa Nature Center is now home to a Little Free Library. You may have noticed more and more of these little boxes popping up in our community and wondered what they were. A Little Free Library is a
“take a book, return a book” free book exchange. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the most common version is a small wooden box of books. Anyone may take a book or bring a book to share. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around
the world. In fact there are over 60,000 libraries in over 80 countries around the world and over a million books are shared each year!
The general idea behind the Little Free Libraries is to take a book to read in exchange for a book you want to share. It doesn’t require library cards or impose late fines. They don’t insist that patrons whisper or stay quiet, and don’t mind if you do not return a book.
Anyone can start a Little Free Library by either building one or ordering a premade one online. There are endless ways to personalize your library. Are you a muggle passionate about sharing all things Harry Potter? Get out your paint and create a mini Flourish and Blotts. Can’t build a box to save your life? Dig around your attic or garage or the nearest thrift store for useful items to reuse. Little free libraries have been created from mini fridges, hollowed out tree stumps, and old pay phones.
Each little Free Library is registered online and receives a plaque. Once registered they appear on a world-wide map at https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/. The interactive map will show you where all registered Free Little Libraries are located. These book-filled boxes are becoming destinations for bike and walking tours, family tours of small towns, and geocachers.
You can find ours on the front porch stocked with interesting authors just waiting to take you on an adventure.
Camping season will soon be upon us…if Mother Nature would just give in and let the sun shine through these cold dreary clouds. Our staff has been busily preparing for all our campers with cabin fever by prepping the shower houses and cleaning up campsites.
Iowa County Conservation strives to provide the most for our campers. We are taking another look at the Lake Iowa Campground which first opened in 1962 to 50 campers. The smaller pull behind campers that used to populate our campsites have grown into big diesel pushers and we are following suit. We added longer pull through sites and a new easier to use dump station in recent years and in 2017 we upgraded sites 1 through 23 to a 50 amp service to accommodate these big rigs. In the spring of 2018 we plan to upgrade another 20 sites to 50 amp. We have cleaned up sites by removing railroad ties and leveling or lengthening sites.
We have non-electric sites near the entrance of the campground that have sat unused for years that are being uncovered. Once parking has been created for Non-Electric Site A we will open it for use. Folks who prefer tents to campers are always welcome to set up camp at any site, electric or non-electric, as long as the correct fee is paid. Our rates will stay the same in 2018 with electric sites at $16/night and non-electric sites at $10/night.
The last upgrade we are planning for the Lake Iowa Campground in 2018 is remodeling the Round House, the rent-able shelter situated in the campground. The decor of the Round House could best be described as 70’s Yard Sale with its mismatched chairs and wood paneling. A new metal roof was installed in 2017 and as with any project once you spruce up one thing you see how shabby some other things are getting. Our staff has been busy gutting the paneling and dropped ceiling tiles. Once we have an empty shell the electrician can rewire the building and we can install new knotty pine tongue and groove siding. With plans to use this rent-able space for more than birthday parties and family reunions we will also be adding futon bunk beds so that it can be rented for overnight stays. It will continues to have heat and air conditioning but will not have bathroom or kitchen facilities.
The last change for 2018 will be the overhaul of 230th Street. Currently the asphalt road is at the mercy of freezing and thawing temperatures and farm equipment. It shows quite a bit of wear each spring. To avoid repairing the road repeatedly the asphalt will be replaced with cement. The project is scheduled to begin on June 4th and will take a minimum of 75 days. Visitors to Lake Iowa Park should plan to use a detour. Those driving from the north or via Interstate 80 can turn west onto 216th Street immediately south of I-80. 216th Street is a gravel road and turns into G Avenue which will lead you to Lake Iowa Park. Visitors traveling from south of the park can take H Avenue to 266th Street which connects with G Avenue.
With all the upgrades we hope visitors find Lake Iowa Park to be a great place to call your home away from home.
We are excited to announce that Iowa County Conservation has received the Iowa Department of Transportation Urban Youth Corps (UYC) grant for the summer of 2018. The UYC grant allows us to hire people 16 to 25 years of age to construct transportation related items. In past years we have constructed, updated or restored trails, constructed foot bridges and land bridges, and restored areas by removing invasive plant species or cleaning trash so they are usable to the public.
Not only do many of our conservation properties benefit from the UYC grant but the UYC staff get some extra training than they might not receive at other summer jobs. They receive safety training for hand and power tools and construction equipment. They receive CPR- AED certification. Our full time ICCB staff also works with UYC staff on skills such as writing a resume and going to a job interview. The UYC staff also learns important construction and conservation techniques.
For many of our young hires the Urban Youth Corps is their first 40 hour/week job. They begin to see the value of a hard day’s work when they take steep uneven terrain choked with Autumn Olive and Honeysuckle and turn it into a hiking trail. They take pride in finished projects that will can be seen for years to come. The work is hot and dirty and sometimes the team finds itself waist high in a lake or pond but soon they learn the value of teamwork and leadership skills. They get to see the planning process and learn how and why a project needs to follow certain criteria. UYC kids also get to have some fun and participate in team builders and outings.
This summer we hope to hire 4 crew members that will build and restore trails at Lake Iowa Park and Gunderson Wildlife Area as well as clean up other remote properties. Crew members begin in June and projects are wrapped up in August in time for students to return to high school or college.
Summers spent as a UYC crewmember have left an indelible mark on some of our alumni. We have seen kids return to work as seasonals and full time staff members and seen others decide they are well suited for a career in conservation. With all that is packed into a summer as a UYC crewmember it is more than just a job. It helps form the adults they are becoming and gives them the confidence to challenge themselves in the future.
Applications for a seasonal position as a UYC crew member can be found at http://www.co.iowa.ia.us/jobs.htm. The deadline for applications is May 1st.
If you’ve driven through Lake Iowa Park within the last year, you’ll be happy to hear that construction on the two 20ft x 30ft cabins has been completed. Online reservations for the new cabins are set to launch Monday October 24th at 8:00 a.m.
These cabins were built in the campground on the previous site of the warming shed above the old sledding hill. That building was eventually turned into a make-shift nature center before it was torn down in 2012 to make way for cabins.
The south cabin (or Lakeview Cabin) was constructed by the combined efforts of the HLV Tech IV shop class and the Iowa County Conservation Board staff. All of the work on the north cabin (or Timberview Cabin) was contracted out.
Each cabin is ADA compliant and will sleep up to 8 people. They have a full kitchen with misc. dinnerware, cookware, utensils, a toaster, coffee maker, microwave, stove, and a full-size refrigerator. The bathroom has a walk in shower and the living room boasts a full-size futon and large dining table with chairs. There are two bedrooms; one with a queen bed and one with unique “full” size bunk beds.
The Friends of Iowa County Conservation Foundation stepped in and made sure that each of them contained beautiful hand-made log furniture that really drives home that cabin feel.
Making cabins at Lake Iowa a reality has been in the works since the year 2000. Many cabins throughout Iowa have been toured, and with all that collaborative effort for more than a decade, the Iowa County Conservation Board and staff decided on a location and design that was believed to be the perfect fit. In 2014, the Iowa County Conservation Board received a donation of over $20,000 from the estate of Alice Williamson that immediately went to help get both cabin foundations poured and the rest is history.
The cabins will be rentable all year long. Renters will have to bring along linens (including pillows) for bedding along with toiletries and food.
There has already been tremendous interest in people wanting to rent the cabins. It’s the perfect place to stay when you want to go ice fishing, or a camper that wants to stay in their park during the “off season”, or to just get away and enjoy the outdoors.
The cabin will run $110 per night with typically a two night minimum stay. For more information or to reserve your cabin with a debit or credit card, please visit mycountyparks.com and select “Iowa County” under cabins.
A new interpretive sign was installed along the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway at Big Bend Conservation Area, north of Marengo. The Iowa Valley Scenic Byway is a 77-mile state-designated route from Montour to the Amana Colonies. It travels through 14 communities. The new sign is one of many projects led by the Iowa Valley RC&D and the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway Board. The new colorful signs placed along the byway are intended to connect travelers with local resources.
The sign at Big Bend Conservation Area shares information about wetland restoration. Big Bend has around 360 acres: 100 acres of wetland, and the remainder in low-land timber with large silver maple trees. The property has typically been subject to littering, vandalism, and illegal harvesting of wildlife/timber. Iowa County Conservation has received a grant to get some extra help to clean up the property. Hopefully, with the watchful eye of civilians, and additional help from other law enforcement agencies, Big Bend Conservation Area will return to a thriving wetland that can be used by hikers, anglers, and responsible hunters.
If you see illegal activity, report it immediately, call 911.
If you want to report potential issues or have questions, call 319-655-8465.
There have been some exciting changes happening with Iowa County Conservation. One of the latest being a new recreational opportunity – disc golf. The Lake Iowa Park Disc Golf course encompasses a few miles of great scenery that passes some hidden treasures and connects with the lakeside trail at times.
The course starts at the beach parking lot and loops around to end at the beach parking lot. There is a halfway point at the turnaround, the furthest point you can drive on the far side of the lake (note map).
If attempting only the first nine, we’d suggest dropping a vehicle off at the turnaround to save your group the walk back., this is an ideal option when facing time constraints. .
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
– Bring water, there are no functional hydrants along the way.
– Pick up after yourself and be courteous of others.
– There are trash cans and pit toilets available at every shelter, the course goes by several.
– All dogs must be on a leash.
– Watch out for vehicles and other park goers, this course runs along roads and trails.
– There are a lot of hazards on this course, be careful of the water and tall grass/bushes.
– This course is several miles long, be sure to be prepared for the hike!