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!

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Read the Fall, 2021, edition of our newsletter,
"The Prairie Country Quarterly," here.

Check out our Thorpe Park web cam here!

Three Deer Eating




The shooting hours at the
Hogsback Shooting Range
are now from 9:00 AM until sunset.
Please abide by these hours out of respect
for the neighbors nearby.
Thank you!




A big thank you goes out to employees from the Part Sales Department at Winnebago Industries who worked hard this fall to spruce up Thorpe Park! They cleared an area below the cabin so now cabin renters and other park visitors have a much better view of Lake Catherine. To all the volunteers, a hardy thank you!

(Volunteers, from left to right--Jason Kendall, Michael Isebrand, Shannon Swearingen, Adam
Weiland, and David Leidal)

We are still accepting donations for our Environmental Education Center!

Due to Covid cost increases, the bids for our nature center came in 30% higher than what we had anticipated. So, we are in the process of deciding our next step. We will definitely keep fundraising, but we may also downsize our project somewhat or change the building plan altogether. In any case, we will still need donations to help us continue to move forward! So, if you'd like to be a part of this project, it's not too late to help out. In fact, you can donate here on our web site! 

We want to thank all the donors who have already contributed so generously to this project and have helped us get this far. We are truly grateful for all the support we have received! We will keep everyone posted as the project moves along!

Environmental Education Center Capital Campaign

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

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.

Blomster Ground in Fall
  • 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 $1.4 and $1.5 million. The WCCB has already voted to commit $225,000 to the project and the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors has committed $145,000. None of this money will come from county tax dollars. The rest is being raised through grants and private donations.

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 also be recognized at the center itself. A variety of naming opportunities will also be available for larger donations.

Fundraising will continue throughout 2020. We have completed preliminary dirt work, installed the septic system, and plan to let construction bids this summer, with actual construction beginning in the fall. If all goes as expected, we then hope to be holding our Grand Opening early in 2021!

Winnebago County Conservation Environmental Education Center Draft


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!

Available on Amazon Smile

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

Please Note:
For (Covid) safety reasons, we have removed all the kitchen utensils from the cabin, including pots, pans, dishes, cooking utensils, silverware, etc. Please bring along your own kitchen supplies. All kitchen appliances (refrigerator, stove, toaster, coffee maker, microwave) will still be available for use.

The checkout time at the cabin is now 11:00 AM instead of noon. This will allow us extra time to clean the cabin between guests. Check-in time will still be 3:00 PM, but it will be strictly enforced to allow for the extra cleaning.

Please remember, as always, you will still need to bring your own bedding and towels. We look forward to seeing you!

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

Cabin rates are $61.00/weeknight and $77.00/Friday and Saturday nights. (These rates include sales tax and Iowa hotel/motel tax.) To reserve dates, use our reservation button. We will then email you the rental agreement which you will need to return to us either through the mail or electronically. To pay,  you can either send a check or you can include a credit/debit card number on your reservation form. (Convenience fees will apply for use of a credit/debit card). Your reservation isn't final until we receive your rental agreement and payment. Let us know if you have any questions!


Reserve Cabin Now
Reserve Cabin Now
Please include your city, state, and zipcode.

Please check the calendar to see which
dates are available
before making a reservation.

Green dates are available.
Red dates are not available.

  Please call 641-565-3390
   for same-day reservations.

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



We're running aerators at Thorpe Park, the Ambroson Recreation Area, and the Florence Recreation Area. If you're out on the ice, please be aware that there may be places where the ice is thin, especially near the aerators. So, be sure to continually monitor the ice thickness.

If you've always wanted to learn how to ice-fish, now you can, without even leaving your house! https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/IACIO/bulletins/3013718

If you're looking for a Christmas gift without those pesky supply chain issues, give the gift of the outdoors! We have gift certificates available for stays at our Lake Catherine Cabin or for camping at our county campgrounds. Contact us at 641-565-3390 for more info!

David Christ, his wife Ruth Elaine Moe Christ, David’s sister Carolyn Goddard, and her husband Bruce Dale Goddard, have donated two parcels of land in the Terrace View Subdivision to the FWCCF!

A big thank you goes out to employees from the Part Sales Department at Winnebago who worked hard this week to spruce up Thorpe Park! They cleared an area below the cabin so now cabin renters and other park visitors have a much better view of Lake Catherine. Thank you!

Tonight's public trap shooting at the Florence Trap Shooting Range has been canceled due to the weather. Unfortunately, this was the last scheduled public shoot this year. So, we hope you've enjoyed using the range this year and look forward to seeing you again next year!

Due to the weather, tonight’s public trap shooting at the Florence Trap Shooting Range has been canceled. The next public shooting date will be next Wednesday, Oct. 27th, from 5:00-7:00 PM. That will be the last public shooting date of the year, so we hope you can join us then!

The Winnebago County Conservation Board wants to remind people that Thorpe Park is closed to all deer and turkey hunting. The Thorpe Recreation Area to the east and the Russ Wildlife Area to the west are open to hunting, including deer and turkey hunting (see the boundary map).

The campgrounds at Dahle Park and Thorpe Park are now closed for the season. We hope you enjoyed camping at our county parks this year and look forward to seeing you again next year!

This is just a reminder that the Thorpe and Dahle Park campgrounds will close for the season on Monday, 10/18. So, this is your last weekend to get in a fall camping trip. You may also want to get out and enjoy the new trail at Thorpe Park, located southeast of the shelter house!

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