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Winter at Conservation

Conservation Chit Chat

December 16, 2011
Kelly Haman , The Daily Freeman Journal

'Tis the season. At Hamilton County Conservation Board, the fast-paced flurry of "in-season" parks and recreation has given birth to a bit of a breather for the holidays. Oh, don't worry, there is still plenty of work to do, but this time of year does give HCCB as a department time to reflect on the year's accomplishments, make plans for the future, ready the parks for winter sports and thank the public for all the support given to the parks and golf course this season. So, from us to you, thank you.

On to the winter sports and recreation season. As the parks go through the inevitable change from their current slushy conditions to an awe-inspiring winter wonderland, HCCB will be gearing up for outdoor winter sports. The abundant amount of orange vests were seen over the weekend as proof positive that deer season is well underway, spurring massive usage of HCCB natural resource areas. We wish all of the hunting enthusiasts a safe and bountiful season.

As the temperatures continue to drop and the snowfall becomes measurable and lasting, you'll notice small villages pop up on HCCB frozen lakes as avid anglers begin their annual ice fishing season. If you have never been ice fishing, you should join HCCB Naturalist John Laird on Feb. 11 for an ice fishing clinic at Briggs Woods.

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Oh yes, don't forget about cross-country skiing. The trail groomer will be out on the golf course as the snow piles up to smooth out trails for the adventurous skiing fanatics. If you don't own cross-country skis, no need to worry; you can rent them at the HCCB office at Briggs Woods Park.

Never been skiing before? Join HCCB naturalist, John Laird on Jan. 14 for

a cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing clinic.

Although snowmobiles are not allowed in the parks, they are allowed on the Boone River once frozen, and Briggs Woods Golf Course is easily accessible from the ditches. Join Briggs Woods Golf Course and the Team Iowa Snowmobile Club for a snowmobile fun poker charity run benefiting Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. on Jan. 14 For more information on HCCB winter sports, visit us at and

To all of the Briggs Woods golfers anxiously waiting the reopening of the course in the spring, I present you a Holiday Golfer Giggle.

'Twas two weeks before Christmas when all through the parks, all the critters were stirring even the mouse. The closed course signs were posted all about with great care, in hopes that spring time would soon be there. The crazy old golfers were snug in their chairs, while visions of hole-in-one's danced in the air. When out on the practice green there arose such a clatter, Russ (Briggs Woods Golf Course Manager) sprang from his desk to see what was the matter. Away to the glass door he ran like a flash, slipped on the ice and fell right on his -

The sun beating down on his poor little head gave Russ a delusion and the following was said When, what to Russ's wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature golf cart, and eight tiny little men. With a little old driver, so lively and quick he knew in a moment it must be that crazy Fritz. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came and Russ whistled, and shouted, and called them by name. Hey Vogelbacher, hey Maass. Hey Pursley and Lyons. Hey Johnson. Hey Anderson. Hey Nedved and Swanson. To the top of the clubhouse, to tee off hole one. Now drive away. Drive away. Drive away, men.

So up to tee one of the coursers they flew, with a cart full of golf balls, and that crazy Fritz, too. And then, in an instant, he heard on the green, the putting and jawing of the little men. As he drew in his head, and was turning around, down the fareway Arnie Lovelace came with a bound. He was dressed all in plaid, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with grass stains and dirt. A bundle of golf clubs he had flung on his back, and he looked like a salesman, just opening his pack.

His eyes - how they squinted. His dimples, how wacky. He had an odd look on his face, a right jolly old Elf, and Russ laughed when he saw him in spite of himself. A pointy finger and small tongue lashing made Russ realize no one else was laughing. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, tediously lining up then sinking his putt. Arnie sprang to the golf cart, to the men gave a whistle, and away they all drove like the down of a thistle. But Russ heard them exclaim, 'ere they drove out of sight, "Wake up you fool, you've slipped on the ice."

Happy Holidays from all of your friends at Hamilton County Conservation Board.



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