Buena Vista County Conservation Park
This park is just off the Glacial Trails Scenic Byway on 400th Street, 2 miles east of M-27 in the beautiful Little Sioux River Valley of northwest Buena Vista County. Buena Vista Park offers multiple camping areas, cabin and lodge overnight rental facilities, day-use shelter, arboretum, prairie grass plantings, and miles of trails through woodland areas for visitors to explore.
The former 120 acre gravel pit area has been developed and contains picnic shelters, pit toilet, and playground equipment. Several plots of prairie grass have been established. The lake provides excellent deep pond fishing. No firearms or bows and arrows are allowed but deer and pheasants can be driven. There is a trail for hiking available around the pit
Located within more then 3,000 contiguous acres of prairie in the Little Sioux Valley region, the property provides habitat for wildflowers, butterflies and grassland nesting birds. This particular tract of land was historically pastured, but much of the native grass has survived. A special feature of the tract is a small, crystal-clear, spring-fed steam that meanders through it.
Browns' Prairie is level to steeply rolling. Care should be exercised by the elderly and children. This area is extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter without trees to break the wind or sun. Cattle grazing is used to manage native grasses so please exercise caution when visiting the area.
WHAT TO SEE: PLANTS
Grasses on this prairie include: little bluestem grass, porcupine grass and side-oats gramma. Flowers include: pale purple coneflower, prairie violets, pasque flower and grey headed coneflower.
WHAT TO SEE: ANIMALS
Birds on the Browns' Prairie include: bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, meadowlarks, and kingfishers often fishing in the prairie streams during the summer.
Buena Vista Conservation allows off-trail hiking at all of their properties, including wildlife areas. Below is a list with addresses.
Brooke Wildlife Area
Buena Vista 440th Street, Linn Grove IA 51033
Elk Wildlife Area
60th Avenue, Alta IA 51002
1322 440th Street, Sioux Rapids IA 50585
Gaherty Wildlife Area
580th Street, Storm Lake IA 50588
Gary Christiansen Wildlife Area
30th Avenue, Linn Grove IA 51003
Hankens Wildlife Area
10th Avenue, Alta IA 51002
Pheasant Ridge Wildlife Area
660th Street, Newell IA 50568
Starr-Robbins Wildlife Refuge
Evans Street, Linn Grove IA 51033
Three Waters Wildlife Area
600th Street, Newell IA 50568
Hiking the Byways is a regular series by Golden Hills RC&D that features publicly accessible lands open to hiking on the three scenic byways in western Iowa that Golden Hills RC&D coordinates: Glacial Trail Scenic Byway, Loess Hills National Scenic Byway, and Western Skies Scenic Byway. Each blog post covers hiking areas in one county on one of the aforementioned byways. For questions about hiking on the byways, contact Seth Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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