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Conservation Chit Chat

January 17, 2012
Kelly Haman ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

During the past few months, I have had the privilege of chatting with many Hamilton County residents about a broad spectrum of Hamilton County Conservation Board issues, programs, potential plans and our current awareness campaign. One question that continues to surface among residents is, "How does Hamilton County Conservation compare to other county conservation programs across the state?"

Last week, through the website, I took a virtual tour through many conservation programs to see how HCCB measured up. Enlightened after my virtual tour, I am proud to say that Hamilton County residents can rest assured that HCCB remains at the forefront of competitiveness, ingenuity and progress, and can certainly be proud of their HCCB resources.

We have three unique HCCB parks, offering guests different experiences at each location. For instance, Bell's Mill Park, located north of Stratford, is situated on the Boone River, offering a park deeply rooted in its pioneer history. Hidden away under a lush timber canopy, guests to the park can enjoy a secluded location for their outdoor recreation. Guests can participate in camping, hiking, canoeing, floating the river, picnicking and fishing. They can also experience the history of Bells Mill Park by touring the school house, log cabin and gristmill located on the park property.

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Little Wall Lake Park is located just south of Jewell. Little Wall Lake is deemed a natural lake and is a favorite of many boating enthusiasts. Here, guests can spend time camping, hiking, canoeing, swimming, boating, skiing, picnicking and fishing. A recent renovation project at Little Wall Lake Park has made camping at this park an even more pleasurable experience.

Briggs Woods Park is located just south of Webster City. Donated to Hamilton County in 1919 by the Briggs family, this park is both vast and beautiful in its amenities. Enjoy fishing; canoeing and swimming on the lake or perhaps float down the Boone River that winds through the park. There is ample camping, picnicking, hiking, walking and biking opportunities, guests may also stay in one of our cabins overlooking the river.

Hamilton County Conservation also boasts an 18-hole golf course - Briggs Woods Golf Course. Perfectly positioned overlooking the pristine Boone River Valley, Briggs Woods Golf Course stretches 6,500 yards and is a par 72. The course's smooth greens and well-kept fairways are punctuated by dramatic arching trees and strategic bunkers creating a challenging, yet pleasurable, golf experience. Declared as one of Golf Digests "Places to Play" in 2011, we provide golfers with exciting rounds of golf.

Finally, HCCB provides more than 1,117 acres of natural resource and public hunting areas. These areas include Albright's Canoe Access, Barner Wildlife Management Area, Bauer Slough, Bjorkboda Marsh, Butler Wildlife Conservation Area, Coyote Bend Wildlife Management Area, Gordon's Marsh Young Hunter Education Area, Heise Wildlife Management Area, Mark and Sadie Bishop Conservation Area, Masterson Wildlife Management Area, Richard's Marsh, The Jeanette Groves Wildlife Refuge and Tunnel Mill Canoe Access and Wildlife Management Area.

HCCB staff work tirelessly to provide Hamilton County residents with incredible outdoor recreation facilities, resulting in a source of pride for all communities. While our tangible assets are abundant, we certainly don't want to forget about the ensuing benefits that are a result of superb outdoor sports and recreation opportunities. The result is simple, increased tourism spurring growth and innovation in our county. My philosophy is simplewhat is good for the county is good for the community and vice versa.

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