History up close

Skillet Creek Indian Mounds Night Hike Saturday evening

Conical and linear burial mounds sit atop Skillet Creek in Webster County. In an effort to explore the sacred grounds and educate the public, Hamilton and Webster County Conservation will be holding a joint program this Saturday. Individuals will have an opportunity to night hike to the Skillet Creek Indian Mounds on Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Hamilton County Naturalist/Park Ranger John Laird and Webster County Naturalist Karen Hansen will discuss the area history and observe the burial and ceremonial mounds on the hill top. According to Laird, the burial and ceremonial mounds are around 2,000 years old.

“There’s fewer than ten percent of Iowa’s native burial mounds left,” said Laird. “That’s part of the reason why Webster County Conservation obtained the property – to protect and preserve those historical mounds for generations to come and to be able to educate people about them.”

Laird and Hansen will also share a little bit about the history of Hardscrabble and the history of the Woodland culture.

According to Laird, it’s approximately a 30 minute moderate hike to get up to the burial mounds.

“It’s a pretty good hike to the top,” he said.

This program is for all ages of people who enjoy hiking at night. Individuals can bring a flashlight if they wish as red covers will be provided. There are also a limited number of red covered flashlights provided to use. Those who wish to attend can register by emailing hccblaird@wmtel.net or by calling the Hamilton County Conservation office at 832-9570.

With temperatures forecast in the 30’s for Saturday evening, attendees are encouraged to dress warmly. This includes a warm coat, gloves, hat and sturdy walking shoes.

This program is sponsored by Hamilton and Webster County Conservation Boards. It is free and open to the public.

Skillet Creek is managed by the Webster County Conservation Board. Skillet Creek is located five miles east of Dayton. To reach the area, follow Highway 175 west of Stratford about 4 miles. Just after crossing the bridge over the Des Moines River, turn right (north) onto River Road. Then turn onto Skillet Creek Road (left at the Y intersection. Just beyond the first curve will be a parking lot on the right. The area is signed from Highway 175 at the end of the bridge.

“It’s just a good opportunity to get outside in the fall and walk through the fall leaves and feel the fall crispness in the air and see something not many people have seen,” said Laird.

There will be no Hamilton County Conservation programs in December. Laird already has two events scheduled for January. A Full Moon Snowshoe program will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 7 to 8 p.m. and an ice fishing program will be held on Thursday, Jan. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Hickory Cabins at Briggs Woods.

Laird is in the midst of planning programs and events for 2018 and encourages the public’s input on what programs they would be interested in seeing.

“I’m always looking for other program ideas,” Laird said. “If there are programs that people would like, I would like to know.”

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