Welcome to the Winnebago County Conservation Board, one of 99 county conservation boards in Iowa.

We are located in the rolling hills of north-central Iowa's prairie pothole region.

Our purpose is to provide outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone and to protect and conserve our natural resources.

Scroll down for the latest news and browse through our web site often to see what we have to offer! And, be sure to contact us if you have any comments or questions!


Read the latest edition of "The Prairie Country Quarterly" here.


Check out our
Thorpe Park web cam!






The Thorpe Park and Dahle Park campgrounds will be closing for the season on Monday, October 21st.



The family of Dean W. Linde donated this memorial bench to be placed in his honor at Hogsback Park.  They also provided a loving explanation as to why they made this donation:

"Dean was born on the family farm near there in 1932.  The beautiful and wild surroundings of Hogsback were his playground. Dean shared fond memories with us of fishing, trapping, and walking the trails, dreaming of new adventures.  Dean had four daughters who he introduced to these simple pleasures.  We would sled on the hills in winter, pick walnuts in the fall, and picnic there often.  Dean left us this year on January 6th after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  His final wish was to have his ashes scattered on his beloved Hogsback, which we did on February 9th.  We are honored to have been able to provide this memorial bench in his honor. Thank you, Robert Schwartz, and all of your colleagues, for placing it for us and for the continuing care.  It gives us great peace to know that Dad is now forever a part of the land he loved so much.

With thanks from all of the Linde family,
Debra Linde Underbakke"

We want to thank Dean's family for this wonderful donation!

Environmental Education Center Capital Campaign

Connecting Generations Naturally:
A Campaign to Build an Environmental Education Center in Winnebago County

The WCCB and our Friends Foundation have begun a capital fundraising campaign to raise money for our new environmental education center. Below is information about that campaign and how you can help!

Why an Environmental Education Center?

Currently, Winnebago County has no environmental education center. The WCCB offices are housed in a 65-year old converted cabin which is not ADA-compliant and is at the end of a 5-mile gravel road. The current building is less than 2,000 square feet and can accommodate fewer than a dozen visitors at a time.

Almost 3/4 of Iowa's counties now have nature centers. These facilities get people outdoors and promote an increased quality of life. They offer environmental programming for school and civic groups, as well as the general public. They are  tourist destinations that help visitors learn about the valuable natural resources of the area and also serve as meeting locations for local civic groups and other organizations. Our center would serve all of these purposes, as well as house the offices of the WCCB.


  • The center will contain exhibits and interactive displays to help increase people's awareness and knowledge of their natural resources, as well as how to conserve those resources.
  • It will be centrally-located in the county, just south of the north junction of Highways 9 and 69.
  • The building will be 40' x 96', or 7,680 square feet over two levels.
  • It will be a post-and-beam design, with 28'-high vaulted ceilings.
  • The building will meet ADA specifications for accessibility.
  • It will include a variety of green design elements, including geothermal and solar energy systems.
  • Rooms will include offices, a large program/meeting room (that will seat 85-100 people), an exhibit area, a workshop/activity area, a staff meeting room, and a kitchenette.


It is estimated that the cost of the new center will be between $1.2 and $1.3 million. The WCCB has already voted to commit $225,000 of non-tax dollars to the project. The rest will be raised through grants and private donations. We do not anticipate using any tax dollars for the construction of the center.

The following donor recognition levels have been established...      

  • Chickadee Level: < $250
  • Bluebird Level: $250-$499
  • Goldfinch Level: $500-$999
  • Cardinal Level: $1,000-$2,499
  • Sandhill Crane Level: $2,500-$4,999
  • Trumpeter Swan Level: $5,000-$9,999
  • Bald Eagle Level: $10,000 and higher.

All donations under $250 will be recognized in "The Prairie Country Quarterly," our quarterly newsletter. Donations above that amount will be recognized at the center itself. A variety of naming opportunities will also be available for larger donations.

Fundraising will continue throughout 2019 and into 2020. We hope to complete preliminary dirt work by the end of 2019, let construction bids during the winter, and begin actual construction by Spring or early Summer, 2020. If all goes as expected, we then hope to be holding our Grand Opening in the Fall of 2020!


If you would like to help us with this exciting project, you can use this Pledge Form and send your donations to:

The Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation, Inc.
34496 110th Avenue
Forest City, IA   50436.

You can also donate via credit card, debit card, or Pay Pal.

Our Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your contributions are tax-deductible. If you have questions about this project, or if you would like to make an especially large donation, please feel free to call and talk to us at 641-565-3390.

Thank you!


Do you shop on Amazon?

If so, you can help out our Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation!

Just click here and you can designate us as your preferred charitable organization! Then, each time you shop, go to smile.amazon.com and .5% of your qualified purchases will be donated to our foundation. It's an easy way to donate, and it doesn't cost you anything! For more information about AmazonSmile, click here.

Be sure to check it out. And, thank you!

Treat yourself to a relaxing stay at the Lake Catherine Cabin!

For more information about the cabin, you can download the following items:

Cabin rates are $57.75/weeknight and $73.50/Friday and Saturday nights. (These rates include sales tax.) To reserve the cabin, please let us know the dates using our reservation button below. Then, fill out the rental agreement above and return it to us either through the mail or electronically. Finally, send your payment in (including a separate $100 deposit check). Let us know if you have any questions!

Reserve Cabin Now
Reserve Cabin Now

We will contact you to confirm your reservation. Thank you!

Cabin Availability

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Check the calendar to the left
to see which dates
are available.

(Green dates are available,
red dates are already booked.)

A two-night minimum stay is required on weekends.
Thank you!


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Come enjoy Thorpe Park under a full moon! Meet at the Thorpe Park shelter house on 10/13 at 7:30 PM to enjoy a leisurely, hour-long, walk through the park. We will discuss the moon and the many nocturnal animals that are active all night long, including coyotes, bats, and owls.

The Thorpe and Dahle Park campgrounds will be closing for the season beginning 10/21. The water will be shut off, picnic tables moved, and fire rings removed. So, now is the time to get in one last camping trip! We hope you have enjoyed camping in our county parks this year!

The final public trap shooting dates of 2019 have been scheduled. We hope you've enjoyed the Florence Trap Shooting Range this year!

The Florence Trap Shooting Range will be open for public shooting on Wednesday, September 11th, and Wednesday, September 18th, from 5:00-7:00 PM. Cost to shoot will be $3/25 targets. Be sure to bring your own gun, ammo, and eye and ear protection. We hope you can join us!

The WCCB wants to remind people that the former Holland Prairie Conservation and Youth Hunting Area northeast of Leland is closed to the public. The area's lease was terminated earlier this year. We request that people please respect this now private property. Thank you!

Come to our Bats! program to learn about bats, why they're important, and how we can protect them. You can also enjoy some "bat food"! The program will be at Forest Plaza Assisted Living in Forest City, 10/8, 2:00 PM. It will be open to the public. Hope to see you there!

Don't forget about our Monarch Tagging program Saturday morning at the Thorpe Park shelter house! Program at 10:00, tagging from 10:30-11:30. Bring your own Monarchs, or catch some at the park. (We'll have a few in reserve, just in case😉!) We hope to see you then!

Join us for this fall's Master Conservationist Program that helps people learn about conservation through a curriculum that blends online and classroom lessons with outdoor field experiences. Call 641-565-3390 or 641-584-2261 for more information! https://t.co/JyvraJOSns

A conflict has come up, so tonight's public trap shooting at the Florence Trap Shooting Range has been canceled.

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