County Parks & Wildlife Areas
Our mission is to protect and manage the unique natural areas in Kossuth County for a diversity of wildlife species. It is also in the Kossuth County Conservation Board’s interest to provide a diversity of recreational opportunities for the public to utilize and appreciate the natural resources in the county.
The Kossuth County Conservation Board manages 28 areas totaling 2,006 acres for outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat.
A brief description of the areas follows:
Eagle 9: 105 acres: November 1979
Located 4 miles west and 8.5 miles north of Swea City, this area was acquired in 1979. It is managed for wildlife habitat as well as recreation. Campers and fisherman are the major users of this park. A nature trail is present, and existing facilities include a shelter house, electrical hookups, and picnic tables, grills, and fire pits. Hunting is allowed.
Call Park Road Habitat Area
Cresco 14: 2 acres: May 1987
Located 1.5 miles south and .25 miles west of Algona. This area was left over after reconstruction of the roadbed. In June of 1990 the entire plot was tilled and planted with switch grass for use as a wildlife habitat area. The area is burned periodically to enhance the native grass planting.
Whittemore 7: 1 Acre: April 2014
This small native prairie remnant is located one mile west of Whittemore adjacent to the railroad tracks. No development is planned for the area and hunting is not allowed.
DAVID T. MCGUIRE & FAMILY WILDLIFE AREA
RIVERDALE 26: 15.1 ACRES: OCTOBER 2018
Located .5 miles north of St Joe, this area was purchased from Diane McGuire. The tract contains a diverse mix of habitat types including uplands and wetlands. This parcel had been enrolled in a variety of conservation programs before being accepted into the Wetland Reserve program in the fall of 2017. The area is managed for wildlife habitat and open to the public for hunting, trapping and other compatible uses.
Devine Wildlife Area
Riverdale 23: 41 acres: September 1967
Located 8 miles south of Algona, this area was donated by Mrs. Lyle Steele to the Conservation Board in 1967. It was originally called Steele Wildlife Area, then changed to Riverdale Wildlife Area in August, 1969, and finally named Devine Wildlife Area in November 1969. Devine Wildlife Area is managed primarily as a wildlife area. Public use is mostly for fishing and accessing the East Fork of the Des Moines River. Existing facilities include a shelter house, picnic tables, grills and fire pits. A concrete boat ramp was constructed in 1992.
Eagle Lake Wildlife Area
Eagle 28: 180 acres: July 2001
Located 4 miles west and 4.5 miles north of Swea City, this wetland area was acquired from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in July of 2001. This acquisition includes the old Eagle lake basin, which had been a shallow lake of approximately 120 acres prior to being drained in the early 1900’s. This property contains 155.0 acres in the Wetland Reserve program. Wetland restoration, drainage improvements and upland habitat development practices have been implemented on the tract. The area will be managed as a wildlife area with activities regulated accordingly.
Irvington 18: 14 acres: October 1999
Located 2 miles southeast of Algona in the area known as “Little Africa”, this small tract is entirely timber. This acquisition was a donation from James Voigt and Robert Geigel. The area will be managed as a wildlife area with public hunting allowed. No development is planned on this area.
Greenwood 29: 7 acres: March 1989
Located 1 mile south and 4 miles west of Bancroft. In March of 1989 Maurice Bernhard turned over seven acres to the conservation board. The area is managed as a wildlife area. Hunting is not allowed.
H.M. and Eva Smith Prairie
Cresco 23: 9.44 acres: October 1990
Smith Prairie was donated to the Conservation Board by Eva Smith. It is located 2 miles south and 1 mile west of Algona. Over eighty-five species of wildflowers and native grasses have been identified on it, including one on the state-threatened list and one on the federal threatened list. The area is maintained to preserve the prairie and hunting is not allowed.
Hurlburt Wildlife Area
Union 25, 36: 180 acres: January 1991
Hurlburt Wildlife Area, located 1.5 miles northeast of Algona was purchased from Merwyn and Donna Hurlburt using Kossuth County Pheasants Forever Chapters and Iowa State Council of Pheasants Forever dollars. A Wildlife Habitat Stamp Grant was also granted. The area consists of river bottom timber, native prairie, pasture, and Conservation Reserve Program acres. A three-acre man-made pond is present, and the East Fork of the Des Moines River borders the property on the east. Since acquisition, wildlife food plots, two extensive shelterbelts, and over 50 acres of native grasses have been planted on the area. Sixty acres of additional timber was added to this area with the purchase of the Buscher tract in April of 1999. This additional 60 acres was funded by a Wildlife Habitat Stamp grant and a National Wild Turkey Federation grant. Twenty acres were donated by Gib and Bev Buscher. The area is managed as a wildlife management area with activities regulated accordingly.
Ledyard 19: 16 acres: September 1981
Located 2 miles south and 1 mile west of Ledyard. The Ledyard R.O.W. is used for wildlife habitat and public hunting. No development is planned on this area.
Portland 1: 95 acres: December 1966
Located 2.5 miles west of Titonka, this area was added to in years 1967 and 1968. Michaelsen Marsh is a public hunting area with upland and wetland habitat. A shelter house, pit toilets, and a trapshooting range are provided on this area.
Patterson Recreation and Wildlife Area
Portland 20, 29: 303 acres: February 1986
Located 1.5 miles east of Burt, this is the largest area managed by the KCCB. The area contains uplands, river bottom timber, and several wetlands. It is open to the public for hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, and general nature study. Extensive shelterbelts, a food plot and native grasses have been planted for wildlife habitat. The natural wetlands on the area have been enhanced with the construction of dikes, potholes, and the placement of water control structures. A boat ramp and parking lot in the southeast quarter of the area provide access to the East fork of the Des Moines River.
Plum Creek Dam
Union 36: 7 acres: 1983
Located 3 miles northeast of Algona, this area was given to the Algona Kiwanis in 1939, which eventually turned it over to the Conservation Board. It is entirely timberland bordering the East Fork of the Des Moines River and is managed for wildlife. Public hunting is allowed. This area receives moderate use from fisherman and is a popular access point to the river. A boat ramp was added in August 2000. This area is subject to flooding.
Plum Creek Timber
Plum Creek 19: 23 acres: December 1980
Located 3.5 miles northeast of Algona along the East Fork of the Des Moines River. It is managed as a wildlife area and gets little public use due to its inaccessibility.
Plum Creek Timber Addition:
Plum Creek 19: 31 acres: October 1986
Located 4 miles northeast of Algona, this area is two parcels of land along the East Fork of the Des Moines River. The farthest 10 acres of the total is rarely used, as there is no direct access by road. The areas will be maintained primarily for their wildlife habitat values.
Plum Creek Wildlife Area:
Plum Creek 17: 70 acres: November 1983
Located 3 miles northeast of Algona, this area is managed as a wildlife area. Several stocked gravel pits are present and the East Fork of the Des Moines River borders the east and south sides of the property. A low head rock dam was added on the east side to provide fish habitat and fishing opportunities. This area is subject to spring flooding.
Rath Right of Way:
Fenton 15, 16, 17: 24 acres: March 1989
Located east of Fenton. It consists of former railroad right of way, and was purchased from Jean Rath. It will be maintained as a wildlife area with no current plans for development. Public hunting is allowed on the area.
Riverdale 11: 16 acres: May 1981
Located 6 miles south of Algona. This area was acquired for wildlife habitat and is open to public hunting. This is a relatively secluded area and is not marked with boundary signs.
Whittemore 9: 41 acres: August 1965
Located 1.5 miles southeast of Whittemore, this area was originally called Whittemore Park. In 1973 the name was changed to Siems Park. This park features five gravel pits, two camping areas, two shelter houses, a nine-hole disc golf course, modern and pit toilets, and playground equipment. The park is heavily used for camping and fishing by local residents. Members of the Whittemore Gun Club and local volunteers have provided funds and labor for park improvements.
Smith Lake County Park
Union 23: 124 acres: March 1964
Located 3 miles north of Algona, this park was dedicated in 1970. Smith Lake serves as the center of activity for the Conservation Board as the Water's Edge Nature Center and maintenance offices are located at this park. This popular area is highly used and the park features a 54-acre lake. Other amenities include two camping areas, two shelters, two beaches, volleyball courts, a boat ramp, tree garden, walking trail, and playground equipment.
Smith Wildlife Area
Cresco 24 and 25: 144 acres: November 1994
This area was purchased from the Eva Smith Estate by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, with an agreement to sell to the conservation board. The area is almost entirely timbered with large stands of oak, maple and basswood. The area will be maintained as a wildlife area, with activities regulated accordingly. Where possible, practices will be carried out to maintain and improve the timber quality. A maple syrup shack built in 1949, located among a large stand of hard maples serves as the center for the maple syrup operation. In the spring of 2002 over 500 people experienced first hand maple syrup production.
St. Benedict Wildlife Area
Prairie 30: 164 acres: December 1981, 2015 & 2019
Located 10 miles southeast of Algona, the original 33 acres of this area containing several old gravel pits was acquired by transfer from the board of supervisors in 1981. In 2015 and 2019 the area was expanded to the south, west, and north with the purchase of additional acres. The new areas had been enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program prior to the county acquiring them and contain a mix of wetlands and upland grasses. The entire area is managed as a wildlife area with hunting, trapping, fishing, and other compatible activities allowed.
Whittemore 13: 32 acres: February 1969
Located 4 miles west and 1 mile south of Algona. This native prairie was declared a State Preserve in August 1971. It is open to the public for hunting and general observation of prairie plants and animals. Controlled burning is practiced on this area to stimulate and enhance the prairie grasses and flowers.
Wesley Right of Way
Wesley 33, 34, 35, 36: 48 acres October 1990
The Conservation Board assumed management of this 5 mile right-of-way east and west of Wesley to protect the existing native prairie. No development is planned. Prairie and roadside management practices will be used to maintain the integrity of the area.
Whittemore 4: 4 acres: March 1987
Located 2 miles northeast of Whittemore, this area was donated to the conservation board by the City of Whittemore. It will be managed for wildlife habitat. Access to the area is limited and the boundaries are not posted.