Public hunting area near Dayton to expand

Webster County officials hope to seek matching funds from the state

DAYTON — Webster County Conservation is adding on to a public recreation and hunting area southeast of Dayton.

Some neighbors have sold about 50 acres at a bargain price to be added to the Carlson Recreation Area, said Webster County Conservation Director Matt Cosgrove. He spoke at the Webster County Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Paul and Margo Eness, who are selling the property, have always been good neighbors, Cosgrove said.

“For 18 years they’ve provided us access through their property to maintain our property,” he said. “They’ve always worked with us on different habitat projects and that sort of thing.”

The Carlson Recreation Area is about 126 acres of public hunting area along the Des Moines River.

The total purchase cost is about $150,000, Cosgrove said. Conservation has raised about $40,000 through private fundraising.

If it can raise $75,000 locally, it has a good chance of getting a $75,000 matching grant from the state’s habitat stamp grant program, which provides funds from a fee on every hunting license sold.

“You get a better score the more you locally match, so if we can get a 50 percent match we stand a pretty good chance of getting this funding,” he said.

The land will be purchased by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, since Webster County Conservation doesn’t currently have the funds on hand. It will be paid back over time.

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