The Palo Alto County Conservation Board has made progress over the years. The majority of the projects and land acquisitions were partially or fully funded with grant money from the Fish Habitat Fund, Land & Water Conservation Fund, Wildlife Habitat Fund, Water Recreation Access Cost Share, Resource Enhancement And Protection, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

* Shelter house was built in 1920 from logs cut in the park by prison labor from Fort Dodge. It had a huge fireplace at one end and all of the logs in the structure were fitted, and dove tailed like a pioneer’s cabin.

* Iowa Conservation Commission was formed (DNR)

* Law passed to create County Conservation Boards

* Palo Alto County Conservation Board established by voters

* County Conservation Board Members – Harry Drum, Bertel Berkeland, Earl Ericksen, Henry Fehr, Art Weiland

* Survey went out to determine families’ outdoor recreation preferences
* Vern Fisher was hired as an Executive Officer for the Conservation Board

* The Iowa Conservation Commission deeded the Lost Island State Park to the County Conservation Board
* 44 acres adjacent to Lost Island State Park was purchased

* Board names county’s new park Lost Island-Huston Park

* Sportsman Recreation Area was purchased

* Gravel pit addition at Sportsman Recreation Area was transferred to the County Conservation Board

* Boat ramp was installed at Lost Island-Huston Park
* Developed Sportsman Recreation Area-fishing access, rifle range, wildlife area, picnic area
* West Bend Wildlife Area was purchased

* Approved the lease from the Palo Alto Gun Club for the shooting range
* West Bend Wildlife Area land addition was transferred to the County Conservation Board

* 24’ x 48’ cement picnic shelter was constructed on the north end of Lost Island-Huston Park

* Camping fees $2
* Vern Fisher resigned as Executive Officer

* Salton Park was purchased
* Steve Pitt replaces Vern Fisher

* Salton Park is developed – parking area and entrance, picnic tables, grills, shelter houses, a drilled well and a cement block restroom
* Shelter house at Lost Island Park burned (was never determined what caused the fire)

* Dan O’Brien was hired as Park Ranger

* Basswood Recreation Area was purchased
* Camping fees increased to $2.50
* County Conservation Board was the District winner of the Marc Cox Agricultural Conservation Award
* Lockwood Bridge Wildlife Area – 25 acres – the area was acquired by the county for back taxes and control was transferred to the Conservation Board
* New picnic shelter built by the Emmetsburg Jaycees (replacing the shelter house that burned in 1973)
* Purchased an acre adjacent to Lost Island-Huston Park
* Sold Cylinder Creek Wildlife Area, funds went toward development costs at Salton Park
* Tore down an old corn crib at Basswood Recreation Area and used the lumber to build a 60’ footbridge at Lost Island-Huston Park. Youth Conservation Corps helped with the project.

* A 30’x36’ steel building behind the shop was built
* Built a fish cleaning station in Lost Island-Huston Park

* Built fish cleaning station at Salton Park
* Constructed picnic shelters, parking areas, foot bridges and a nature trail at Basswood
* Dock for Salton Park was installed

* Boat ramp at Salton Park was constructed
* Emmetsburg Jaycees built a 12’x16’ picnic shelter at Sportsman Recreation Area
* Open shelter house built on the cement decking at the north end of Lost Island-Huston Park
* Restroom was built at Basswood Recreation Area

* Camping fees increased to $3
* Remodeled campground restroom

* Asphalt roads and speed bumps at Lost Island-Huston Park were completed
* New beach toilet and dressing room was constructed in Lost Island-Huston Park
* 20 acres purchased SE of Graettinger – Riverview Wildlife Area

* Rossiter Wildlife Area – donated by Burt Rossiter
* Built parking lots at Riverview and Rossiter Wildlife Areas
* Camping fee increased to $4
* County Conservation Board received the Conservation Achievement Award from the Northern Iowa Prairie Lakes Audubon Society
* Built picnic shelter in Lost Island-Huston Park near the boat ramp
* Roads End Prairie transferred to the Conservation Board
* Self registration booth was built in campground with numbered posts at campsites
* Robert Mulroney Recreation Area – 25 acres donated by Shirley Mulroney

* Addition of 30’x50’ to the Morton building at shop was built
* Aerator at Five Island Lake was installed by DNR
* Beth Ford was hired as secretary
* Built wooden bridge over the ravine on the Lost Island-Huston Park trail
* Gary Williams was hired as park ranger
* Harry Drum elected to the State Association Board of Directors
* Addition to the Robert Mulroney Recreation Area was purchased
* Sold Lockwood Bridge Wildlife Area
* Steve Pitt received the Certificate of Appreciation award from the Iowa Conservation Commission (DNR) for outstanding achievement in the field of conservation

* Adele Holt was hired as Naturalist (shared with Kossuth County)
* Camping fees increased to $5
* Constructed the Outdoor Classroom self-guided trail at Lost Island-Huston Park
* New survey sent to the people of Palo Alto County to see what their priorities will be for the future
* Addition to the Basswood Recreation Area was purchased (junkyard area)
* 400 ton of fieldstone riprap placed on Silver Lake

* Beach restroom was remodeled
* Built concrete picnic pads at Robert Mulroney Recreation Area
* Little-Bit-of-Prairie was transferred to the County Conservation Board from the Railroad Company
* Plans for developing the Basswood Recreation Area addition started

* Established Palo Alto County Conservation Foundation Board
* Miriam Patton replaced Adele Holt as naturalist
* Brushy Bayou Wildlife Area was purchased
* Restrooms with flush toilets and showers at Lost Island campground were built

* An appreciation award for outstanding support of the county conservation programs was presented to Jane Whitmore
* Camping fees increased to $6 for electric, $5 for non electric
* Camping registrations were up 43% from 1985
* Fieldstone rip rap was placed on east shore of Lost Island Lake
* Sod house in West Bend was built in cooperation with Kossuth County Conservation Board, West Bend Historical Society and volunteers
* The Board discussed the West Des Moines River channelization project involving the Corps of Engineers and the decision of the Board of Supervisors to request the $600,000 study be funded.  The Director was instructed to contact Iowa’s legislative delegation and voice our opposition to the project due to the adverse environmental effects it would have

* Received Outstanding Conservation Education Award from the Iowa Conservation Education Council
* Started roadside management program in cooperation with Board of Supervisors
* Director of the County Conservation Board, Steve Pitt, went to Des Moines for a press conference with Governor Branstad. The County Conservation Board was granted an easement for the 57 acres of FmHA property east of Lost Island-Huston Park. This was the first conservation easement to be granted by the FmHA in the United States!

* Built and erected 37 mallard boxes in cooperation with the DNR nesting study on restored wetlands
* Constructed 10 wetlands for Wetlands for Iowa Program
* Director, Steve Pitt received the Award of Merit from the Iowa Chapter of the Wildlife Society

* Beach restroom updated to flush toilets and a dump station was installed
* REAP was established
* Built boat ramps at Basswood and Mulroney Recreation Areas
* Fieldstone rip rap was placed at Salton Park
* 160 acres was willed to the State and endorsed the County Conservation Board to manage what is called Telford Prairie
* Prairie Gold Wildlife Area was purchased

* Built a parking lot, capped the well and built 3 dikes to restore the wetlands at Prairie Gold Wildlife Area
* First computer was donated to the County Conservation Board office
* H.R. Pettit Estate donated 10 acres – Plantation Wildlife Area (former site of the Plantation Ballroom)
* Received a quit claim deed from Robert and Patricia Neary – an addition to Brushy Bayou

* Burns Prairie was purchased
* Removed buildings, capped well and constructed a parking lot at Telford Prairie
* River Runner Access was purchased
* Since starting the cage reared catfish program in 1981 – 14,000 catfish and 4200 bluegills have been released at Sportsman & Mulroney Recreation Areas
* Started five year plan to stock 8,250 walleye fingerlings annually into the Des Moines River

* Board approved the joint management agreement with the DNR for establishment and maintenance of a wetland hiking trail, north of Lost Island Lake
* Conservation Board partnered with the Soil & Water Conservation District to bring Ruby Raindrop to
County 3rd grade students
* Purchased property adjacent to Prairie Gold Wildlife Area
* Sponsored a bus trip to see the Sandhill Crane migration at Grand Island, NE
* Steve Henderson was hired as Park Ranger

* Camping fees increased to $8
* Lost Island Nature Center was completed

* Art Hampe replaced Gary Williams as Operations Supervisor
* Dock at the Lost Island Nature Center was installed
* Miriam Patton received the Iowa Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator of the Year Award
* Larson Prairie was donated by the Albert and Grace Larson family
* Nature Center received Iowa Tourism Attraction of the Year Award
* West Fork Wetlands was purchased

* Boat ramp was constructed at River Runner Access
* Emmetsburg 4-H Boosters Club helped build the observation blind and dock at Lost Island-Huston Park
* Huston Prairie was purchased
* Restored 8 acres of wetlands and planted native grasses at Huston Prairie

* Fish cleaning station constructed at Lost Island Lake
* Watson Heritage Area was purchased

* Bluestem Meadow Wildlife Area was purchased
* Eurasion watermilfoil was discovered at Sportsman Recreation Area
* Joyce Martinson replaced Beth Ford as secretary
* Palo Alto Soil & Water Conservation District received the National 1st Place Award from the National Association of Conservation Districts. The conservation education program is a joint partnership with the SWCD.
* Trumpeter Trail was launched
* Whitetail Flats Wildlife Area was purchased

* Addition to Brushy Bayou was purchased
* Email/Internet was connected at the office
* Hauschen Wildlife Area was purchased

* Building at Sewell property was moved to the Conservation Board headquarters in Lost Island-Huston Park
* Camping fees increased to $15 for electric and $10 for non-electric
* CRP contract for Huston Prairie was accepted
* Mary Barrick replaced Joyce Martinson as Office Manager
* New fish cleaning station at Salton Park was built
* Wetland restoration and prairie seeding at Hauschen Wildlife Area completed
* 668 catfish were released at Sportsman Recreation Area

* Aaron Steffen was hired as Manager for the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program
* Received Outstanding Conservation Education Award from the Iowa Conservation Education Council
* Six County birding brochure was completed

* Replaced the boat ramp at Lost Island Lake
* Prairie Gold Wildlife addition was purchased
* Sewell property was transferred from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to the City of Emmetsburg; the County Conservation Board has an easement on the property to assure development would be as intended by Gene Sewell.

* Cabin donated by the Sundholm family near Albert City area was moved to the Clay County fairgrounds. It is being used by District III County Conservation Boards and Iowa DNR to display exhibits and host conservation education programs.
* Rock fishing riffle was constructed in the West Des Moines River, north end of Basswood Recreation Area
* Iowa Lakes Community College construction class helped build a new beach restroom and campground kiosk
* Lost Island Nature Center celebrated 10 years – a float was designed to participate in local parades
* Wetland construction at Prairie Gold Wildlife Area, Bluestem Meadow Wildlife Area and the West Fork Wetlands Wildlife Area began

* Constructed a building for storage of equipment
* County Conservation Board website was designed

* Conservation Peace Officers joined the Multi Agency Response Team
* Fieldstone riprap project was completed at Lost Island Lake
* Rock fishing riffle was constructed in the West Des Moines River, West Fork Wetlands area
* Tim Stowell replaced Aaron Steffen as IRVM Roadside Manager

* Nut seeding completed at Watson’s Wildlife Area
* Nature Center classroom addition completed
* Rogers Wildlife Area was purchased
* 3.37 acres of land from the Duhigg family was donated for use as a park and bike trail destination-Duhigg Park

* Casino grant received for a watershed display, tables and chairs at the nature center
* Duhigg Park was developed
* NRCS worked on wetland restoration and seeding plans for Rogers Wildlife Area
* Lost Island Lake was designated as a priority lake for restoration activities by the DNR
* Mountain Lion display hosted by the Nature Center

* Casino grant for an outdoor amphitheater was received
* DNR began treating Eurasian milfoil in Sportsman Recreation Area
* Legislature appropriated $100,000 for the Lost Island Lake renovation project
* Over 200 boy scouts camped at Lost Island-Huston Park
* Rock fishing riffle was constructed in the West Des Moines River, adjacent to Basswood Recreation Area
* Sidney Soil debuted at West Elementary
* Watchable Wildlife website was designed

* Casino grant for an educational kiosk was received
* Catfish were stocked at Sportsman Recreation Area
* IRVM program was transferred to the Palo Alto County Planning and Zoning Department by the Board of Supervisors
* Lammers Landing was purchased near Graettinger
* Rock reef was constructed on the north side of Lost Island Lake

* Plans are underway for construction of a boat ramp at Lammers Landing
*PACCB celebrates 50 years in 2010
* LIPA, LIRBA, DNR begin preliminary plans for the Lost Island Lake Watershed Enhancement Project.
* Lost Island Rock Reef constructed
* Lost Island Lake Watershed Grand Awarded
* PAC Gaming Development Corp Grants
Equipment for the park
Replaced dock at the marsh

*PAC Gaming Development Corp Grants
Conservation Maintenance Equipment
Nature Center Displays
Lost Island Restoration Project
Lost Island Trails

*PACCB Director, Steve Pitt, retires after more than 39 years
*Art Hampe steps up to the position of Director
*Given ownership of H.O. Helgen Slough, 25-acre wetland
*Steve Henderson at PACCB 20 years; serves at Park Ranger
*Jeremy Wickman hired as Park Ranger

*PACGDC grants provide funds
Lost Island Bike Trail
Five Island Trail
Mower & Cultivator for PACCB

*Laura Petersen becomes member of the PACCB and will be the PAC Board Rep to the Foundation
*PACCB takes ownership of Phelan Woods property; 55-acre tract
*PACCB enters a 28E agreement with City of Spencer as managers of a 74-acre section of land adjacent                                                     to the landfill. PACCB has planted 4000 trees for more cover. The parcel is named Northern Plains Regional Wildlife Area.
*Through a REAP grant, PACCB was able to purchase 24 acres of native prairie and a small fen, less than a mile from Telford Prairie.

*PACGDC grants provide funds
Fish Cleaning station at Lost Island Lake
Nature Center Diorama updates
FIT and Lost Island Recreational Trail

*Nature Center turns 20
*Helen Augustine and Ray Brown step down from Foundation Board
*Pat Molitor comes on to the Foundation Board.
*Jay Bargman joins the PACC Foundation Board.

*An additional 7.54 acres adjacent to the H.O. Helgen Slough was donated by the Helgen family.
*Mary Barrick becomes the new Director of PACCB.
*Steve Hendersen retired; long-time employee as Park Ranger
*Macey Newhouse hired as new Office Manager
*Rob Allen hired as the Operations Supervisor
*Chad and Jean Eells donate a tipi
*Lauren Petersen steps down from PACCB and the Foundation Board
*Karen Spies joins the PACCB
*Shana Herke appointed to the Foundation Board

*Mike Reynolds takes Gary Hughes’ place on the Conservation Board

*Andy Joyce is chosen to sit on the Foundation Board replacing Phil Andreasen.
*Rhonda Helm appointed to the PACCB; replaces Darrin Adams

*PAC Gaming Development Corp Grants
Renovation of the clubhouse at Sportsman Recreation Area
Purchase an outdoor Pegasus Instrument to tie with the Marimba instrument.
Smith Foundation awarded a grant for construction of a patio for the instruments.
FIT phase 6

*LIPA committed a percentage of matching funds to add to the Lost Island Trail
*Recent updates to lake access west of the Nature Center included a new stairway and rock wall.  Joyce Funeral Home donated a concrete table for the rock wall patio.
*Kala Hoffman hired as Office Manager

*Updates to the Nature Center
Sorted and organized the entire Nature Center
Moved snakes and salamanders to a room downstairs that is being made into another learning area
Painted all the offices, rooms and bathrooms
Cleaned mounts, wood work
Added the “Trapper Shack” for exploration of furs
Added Cedar to the big classroom wall
Moved and replaced some informational items on walls, as well as moved the fish tank
Added a few newer furniture pieces
Added bear & pronghorn mounts
Added 2 new vertical display cases
Added a solar system display on ceiling in big classroom
New counter tops in Gift Shop, bathrooms and kitchen
New fixtures in bathrooms and kitchen
New flooring in both entries as well as in all bathrooms
Built new fish tank and turtle tank stands
*Hired Kaitlin Andersen for the Naturalist position
*Miriam Patton, Naturalist retired

*Hired Jennifer Meyer as Office Manager
*PACGDC funded improvements
Lighting and carpet replaced at Nature Center
Construction of new campground bath house
With LIPA, a bike fix-it station along the Lost Island Trail
Bench added along the trail and a bench added in the beach area
*Nature Center Improvements
Added Kaplan computer games and large-screen tv
Tree Display
*Blake Jesse, new park ranger
*Sue Ann Deitering joins the Foundation Board

*Improvements and additions
Playground equipment at north shelter house
Brick patio for amphitheater
Basswood Recreation area; Electricity brought in for light poles at ramp & driveway
*A trailer was donated to serve as bridge in Burns Prairie
*PACGDC funded
Tree shear and puller
A slide added to playground at north shelter
Iowa Lakes Elec Coop Foundation funded
Swing-set at north shelter
*State Water Recreation Access grant
New restroom at Basswood Rec Area
Fish renovation at Sportsman’s Pond
*Brian Malm becomes newest member of the Foundation Board

*Restoration to four wetlands in Burns Prairie
*Basswood continued to receive improvements
Riprap along sides of boat ramp
Culvert near oxbow entry replaced due to poor water flow
Riprap was placed in the culvert area. Reseeded to prevent erosion
*Cares Act Foundation funded a Skyport (playground equipment) structure at the north shelter house.
*PACGDC funded Ring Fling at north shelter playground
*Smith Wellness Foundation purchased 12 Vortex binoculars for birding programs
*Shannon Pascual joined the PACCB staff as nature center assistant in February
*Underground display updated with pictures and light
*Four seasons displays accepted from another nature center
*Audrey Peton and Heidi Knapp are elected to the Foundation Board
*Shana Herke and Jay Bargman step down from Foundation Board
*Additional outlets installed in the classroom in the floor

*Cabinets built in animal room
*Mary Barrick retired as Executive Director, December 31, 2021 and Rob Allen hired as new Director, January 1, 2022
*Luke Larsen hired as park ranger and began mid-January 2022
*Brody Kreig hired as park ranger/technician to replace Luke Larsen full-time
*Displayed the Tipi for several weeks in the summer
*Campground Hosts for 2022 – Bob and Pat Subbert
*Our hedgehog, Igor, an animal ambassador died; we acquired two female guinea pigs, Bonnie and Bindi
*Basswood Recreation Area
New restrooms, a boat ramp and improvements to the shelter houses, hiking trail, rock riffles.
125 foot long bridge
*Watson Heritage Area
Completed rock kayak access
Cleaned out brush and undesirable trees were removed
*Huston Park
Additions to the north shelter house including Skyport playground equipment.
Extended boat ramp 16-foot
The wooden beach dock was replaced by new aluminum roll-in dock.
*Foundation Board
Audrey Peton, Graettinger and Heidi Knapp, West Bend replace Shana Herke and Jay Bargman
Kyle Auten, Tim Murphy & Ron Brown, Jeff Reichter (replaces Tony Streit, Karen Spies, Mike Reynolds, and Rhonda Thompson)


*Campground Hosts for 2023 – Randy and Lisa Thoren
*Silver Lake – Maintenance work and removing overgrown trees; bringing in new rock for the road
*Sportsman Recreation Area install a boat ramp.
*Riverview Wildlife Area installed a new kayak access.
*LINC redo the deck
*LIPA assisted in purchasing a new dock at the Huston Park boat ramp.
*PACGDC funded improvements – a rough-cut pull behind mower, Black Locust removal at gravel pit
*Foundation member Maureen Horsley resigned. Mike Kendall was confirmed as her replacement.
*Burns Prairie Wetland control structure repaired
*Acquired 32 acre gravel pit north of Huston Park
*New water line installed to Huston Park shop.
*120 feet of the Five Island Trail (FIT) was replaced. Cracks along the full trail were sealed.