Buena Vista County Conservation Board manages 17 areas containing over 1200 acres of parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites, and natural areas. These areas include developed parks and wildlife habitat areas where the public can enjoy camping, hiking, picnicking, boating, fishing, hunting, trapping, bird watching, and other outdoor activities. The Board strives to provide recreational areas for the public’s enjoyment of the great outdoors and to promote conservation, water quality protection, and improvement of wildlife habitat.
The naturalist presents environmental education programs to schools, the public, civic groups, and libraries. Below is a list of programs presented for civic groups. If you are an educator please contact the naturalist for a list of programming appropriate for school children. Please visit our upcoming events page for upcoming public programs.
- Birds of Prey – includes live raptors
- Butterflies and Moths
- Cattails and Craft (Fall Only)
- Cross Country Skiing
- Here Today Gone Tomorrow
- Mammals and Tracks
- Monarch Tagging (Fall Only)
- NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program)
- Nocturnal Predators – includes live raptor
- Owls – includes live raptor
- Pond Study
- Reptiles and Amphibians – includes live animals
- Snakes – includes live animals
- Suitcase for Survival
- Trumpeter Swans
- Wildflower Hike (Spring Only)
Roadside Management Program (Weed Department)
Buena Vista County conducts roadside weed spraying program and enforces the Iowa Noxious weed laws. County employees maintain a spray truck and spot spray all road ditches in the County. If Buena Vista County Residents do not wish to have an area sprayed, they are required to sign a “Do Not Spray Permit” before June 1st annually and post signs at the beginning and end of the no spray area. To obtain a permit and signs contact the Conservation office by calling 712-295-7985 or email at email@example.com. If a permit is signed the County Resident will then be responsible for weed control.
Enclosed shelter houses may be rented by calling 712-295-7985 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to making a reservation. The South shelter house located at Buena Vista Conservation Park can be rented at a cost of $40 per day per reservation. The Gabrielson shelter house located at Gabrielson Park (Sioux Rapids) can be rented at a cost of $50 per reservation.
Cabin may be rented by calling the conservation office at 712-295-7985 or email at email@example.com. Cost is $100 plus tax per day with a two-night minimum on weekends and a three-night minimum on holidays. A $100 deposit is required. The cabin sleeps 10 – 12 people and is located in the North Area at Buena Vista County Conservation Park.
North Lodge may be rented by calling the conservation office at 712-295-7985 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $125 plus tax per day with a two -night minimum on weekends and a three-night minimum on holidays. A $100 deposit is required. The lodge sleeps 8-10 people and is located in the North Area at Buena Vista County Conservation Park.
Camping fees: Timber Ridge $20, Bur Oak $15, and Primitive $10 a night all located at Buena Vista Conservation Park. Linn Grove Campground is $20 and Primitive $10 a night located at Linn Grove Dam Area. All camping is a first come, first served.
Bait Shop is located at Linn Grove Dam Area. It is open March-September. It offers license, bait, tackle and snacks for all your fishing needs.
Equipment rent: Tree planter, grain drill, seeding equipment and prescribed fire equipment. Contact the conservation office at 712 -295- 7985 for rental information.
Rules and Regulations
Being confronted with the ever-increasing demands for outdoor recreation, it is imperative that all persons respect this public owned land provided for you, by you, so that each user may benefit from its purpose.
The Buena Vista County Conservation Board has therefore adopted the following rules and regulations for the protection, regulation and control of all parks, preserves and other property under its control and hereafter coming under its control.
SECTION 1. Definitions: Pursuant to the authority of Chapter 111A.5 of the Code of Iowa, the Buena Vista County, Iowa, Conservation Board hereby makes known and places into effect the following regulations. The following terms, as used in these regulations, shall for the purpose of these regulations have the meanings assigned hereto, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated.
A. The term “Board” shall mean the Buena Vista County, Iowa, Conservation Board.
B. The term “Director” shall mean the Executive Officer of the Conservation Board.
C. The term “area” shall mean all or any part of the land and/or water owned, leased, managed or by other means under the control of the Board.
D. The term “authorized representative” shall include park rangers and other persons designated from time to time by the Director.
E. The term “special use permit” shall mean any use permit, issued by the Director pursuant to authority delegated by the Board, and signed by the Director or his authorized representative.
F. The term “camp” or “camping” shall mean the use of a shelter such as a tent, trailer, motor vehicle, tarpaulin, or sleeping bag for temporary residence at a campground.
G. The term “campground” shall mean any area designed by the Board for camping.
H. The term “campsite” shall mean a segment of a campground designated by the Board for camping by a camping unit or camping party.
I. The term “camping unit” shall mean either a single tent not larger than 140 square feet in size at its base, pickup camper, motor home or converted bus, recreation trailer, or a motor vehicle used for a camp by a camping party, except for those shelters used exclusively for dining purposes, plus, at the option of said camping party, a second tent or an additional tent no larger than 140 square feet in size at its base, if the same is used and occupied by members of that camping party.
J. The term “camping party” shall consist of no more than six persons per unit with the exception of families and special group camping or as authorized by the Board of its representative.
K. The term “youth group” shall mean a group consisting of minors under the leadership of at least one competent, mature adult for each ten minors in the group and using any number of camping units or occupying a group campground.
L. The term “capacity” shall mean the maximum number of camping parties or camping units that Board shall from time to time determine may occupy an area, campground or campsite.
M. The term “official signs” shall mean signs provided for in the Iowa State Highway Commission Manual or Uniform Traffic Control devices for Iowa Streets and Highways and other signs designated from time to time by the Board.
N. The term “noise” means that no person or persons shall use threatening, abusive, insulting, profane or indecent language or exhibit excessive noise in the form of loud radios, stereos, TVs, cars, motorcycles, etc. that shall constitute a breach of peace or interfere with the enjoyment of county parks by others.
SECTION 2. Scope: The provisions of these regulations shall apply to all areas, unless otherwise designated.
SECTION 3. Fees and Charges:
A. Fees or charges made for services or for the use of land, facilities, equipment, materials or supplies on any area to be collected by the Board of authorized concessionaires shall be prescribed and approved by the Board.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to enter or use any facilities for which entrance or user fees are prescribed without payment of same, except those persons on official business or authorized by special permits.
SECTION 4. Prohibited Destructive Acts: It shall be unlawful for any person to use, enjoy the privileges of, destroy, injure or deface plant life, trees, buildings, or other natural or material property, or to construct or operate for private or commercial purposes any structure, or to remove any plant life, trees, buildings, sand, gravel, ice, earth, stone, wood, or other natural material or to operate vehicles, within the boundaries of any county park, preserve or streams, or any other lands or waters under the jurisdiction of the County Conservation Board for any purpose whatsoever, except upon the terms, conditions, limitations and restrictions as set forth by the Board.
SECTION 5. Speed Limit: The maximum speed limit of all vehicles on county park and preserve drives, roads and highways shall be fifteen (15) miles per hour. All driving shall be confined to designated roadways. Whenever the Board shall determine that the speed limit hereinbefore set forth is greater than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any place of congestion, or upon any part of the park roads, drives or highways, said Board shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit thereat which shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected at such places of congestion or other parts of the park roads, drives or highways.
SECTION 6. Parking: All vehicles shall be parked on designated parking areas, and no vehicle shall be left unattended on any county park or preserve drive, road or highway, except in the case of an emergency.
SECTION 7. Protection of Trees: No animal shall be hitched or tied to any tree or shrub, or in such a manner as to result in injury to county property. You may not construct a permanent tree stand on county public hunting areas. You may not drive or in any other way place any nail, spike, pin, or any other metal object into a tree on county public hunting areas to construct a blind or to provide hunting access to a location above the ground. Portable tree stands may be left on a county public hunting area from 7 days prior to the start of a deer season until 7 days after the final day of that season.
SECTION 8: Fires: No fires shall be built, except in a place provided therefore, and such fire shall be extinguished when site is vacated unless it is immediately used by some other party.
SECTION 9: Removing Plants, Flowers or Fruit: No person shall, in any manner, remove, destroy, injure or deface any trees, shrub, plant or flower or the fruit thereof or disturb or injure any structure or natural attraction, except by permission of the Board or its representative. Certain specimens may be removed for scientific purposes. This section shall not apply to the taking of mushrooms or nuts.
SECTION 10: Animals on Leash: No privately owned animals shall be allowed to run at large in any county park or preserve or upon lands or in waters owned by or under the jurisdiction of the Board except by permission of the Board or its representative. Every such animal shall be deemed as running at large unless the owner carries such animal or leads it by a leash or chain not exceeding six feet in length or keeps it confined in or attached to a vehicle.
SECTION 11: Wildlife Restrictions: It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, trap, or in any manner intentionally take, capture, kill, wound, or attempt to kill or wound any game bird, fowls and birds; their nests, eggs or plumage, game or wild animals or furs or skins therefrom and all other wildlife whether game or non-game, native or migratory located on or in any land or water under the control of the Board, except as specifically provided by the Board on certain lands and waters under its jurisdiction. Certain animals may be removed for scientific purposes by permission of the Board.
SECTION 12: Use of Firearms, Fireworks Prohibited: The use by the public of firearms, fireworks, explosives and weapons of all kinds including air rifles and air pistols, sling shots and bows and arrows is prohibited in all county parks and preserves, except preserves or potions of preserves designated as hunting areas, shooting or archery ranges, by the Board. However, any person may use a bow and arrow with attached bow fishing reel and ninety pound minimum line attached to the arrow to take rough fish under rules and regulations prescribed by the Department of Natural Resources.
SECTION 13: Camping:
A. Violation of any state law or any county park rule and regulation by any member of a camping party is cause for revocation of the camping privilege and the entire camping party shall be required to leave the area.
B. Camp sites are not reservable.
C. Any person who camps in any county park or preserve where fees are charged shall register his or her name and address with the park officer.
D. When any campground is open and in a usable condition all charges and fees shall be in effect and shall be enforced as set forth in the official fee schedule approved by the Board.
E. No camping party or camping unit of any kind shall occupy any campground more than fourteen days out of any twenty eight day period. On all parks or areas with more than one campground this shall apply to the entire area and all campgrounds in the area. Any exception to this rule must be approved by the Director or authorized representative prior to registering.
F. All campers shall maintain quiet and avoid excessive noise in the campgrounds between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
G. Campers shall restore their campsite to the same approximate condition or better than when they found it.
SECTION 14: Recreation Uses Only Allowed: It shall be unlawful for any person to occupy any portion of any area for washing or repairing vehicles; advertising or political campaigning, hawking, peddling, or any other commercial activity, or any other purpose not primarily recreational, except concessionaires acting under the authority of a lease or contract with the Board.
SECTION 15: Use of Horses Restricted: It shall be unlawful to ride, lead or otherwise allow the entry of horses or horse-drawn wagons on any area of the park other than county park roads.
SECTION 16: Snowmobiling and ATV’s Restricted: It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any snowmobile, tote bike, air sled, swamp buggy, all-terrain vehicles or any other land conveyance propelled by a gasoline or electrical engine and run on wheels, tracks or runners in Buena Vista County parks and preserves except under the conditions of adequate snow cover on established roads and designated trails, or such areas as the park officer in charge may allow. The determination as to adequate snow cover shall be made by the park officer in charge of the area. Snowmobiles, etc. shall be driven in such a manner so as not to endanger any life, property, animal or plant life, or to prohibit the safe operation of conventional vehicles on park roads. Snowmobiles shall be operated and equipped in accordance with the laws of the State of Iowa.
SECTION 17: Trapping Restricted: It shall be unlawful to trap or attempt to trap any wild animal in or on any area not designated as a trapping area by the Board, except that protection of areas and facilities shall be accomplished as needed by the Director or other authorized representative.
SECTION 18: Sledding Equipment Restricted: It shall be unlawful to use anything other than an inflatable device for use in any downhill winter sports activities in or on any area.
SECTION19: Swimming: Swimming shall be allowed only at designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Glass containers and pets are not permitted on any beach or in any swimming areas. It is unlawful for any person to boat or fish in a designated swimming area. Oar propelled inflatable rafts and all rafts over seven feet in length are prohibited from swimming areas. Swimming areas are not supervised and proper safety precautions should be taken by those using them.
SECTION 20: Reserving Park Facilities: Open picnic shelters and camping areas are available on a first come basis and cannot be reserved. Enclosed shelter houses must be reserved by contacting the Park Director. A minor may not reserve any facility. Abuse of the shelter house may result in restriction of privileges for future use. Shelter houses may not be reserved for more than four consecutive days by the same party.
SECTION 21: Domestic Refuse Not Permitted: It shall be unlawful to deposit garbage, refuse, or litter from any household, business or any other place to any area for the purpose of disposing of the same in any refuse or litter container there provided.
SECTION 22: Littering Grounds: No person shall place any waste, refuse, litter or foreign substance in any area or receptacle except those provided for that purpose.
SECTION 23: Boats Registered: No person, resident or non-resident shall operate any vessel (meaning every description of water craft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water) on any waters under jurisdiction of the Board unless such vessel is numbered by the state through a process of registration with the county recorder in the county in which the owner resides. Exempt from registration are the following in part from Ch. 106.6 Code of Iowa: (1) non-powered inflatable vessels seven feet or less in length, (2) non-powered canoes and kayaks thirteen feet or less in length, (3) an air mattress, inner tube or other toy or beach type item which is being used in a recognized swimming area.
SECTION 24: Artificial Lakes-Boating: No motor boats shall be permitted on any lake under the jurisdiction of the Board except boats equipped with one outboard battery operated electric trolling motor. Life preservers are required in accordance with the laws of the State of Iowa.
SECTION 25: Motor Vehicles Unattended Not Permitted: It shall be unlawful to leave any motor vehicle or other pieces of equipment unattended on any areas for more than twenty-four hours without the permission of the Director or his authorized representative. Any motor vehicle left in violation hereof shall be removed and stored at the expense of its owner, which expenses shall be not be less than $25.00. If not reclaimed within six months of its removal hereunder, all such motor vehicles shall be considered abandoned and shall thereafter be disposed of as provided by law.
SECTION 26: Prohibited Area: No person shall enter upon portions of any county park or preserve in disregard of official signs forbidding same, except by permission of the Board or its representative.
SECTION 27: Keg Beer: No person or group shall bring, use or have in his, her or their possession on any area, beer in a keg or any other container larger than one quart without first obtaining permission from the Director or his authorized representative.
SECTION 28: Closing Time: County parks not open for public use 24 hours a day shall have official signs posted at park entrances listing opening and closing times.
SECTION 29: Exceptions: Nothing in these rules and regulations shall prohibit or hinder the Conservation Board, its Director, or duly authorized agents or any peace officers from performing their official duties.
SECTION 30: Penalties: Any person violating any of the provisions of the foregoing sections shall be guilty of a simple misdemeanor.
Adopted by the Buena Vista County, Iowa, Conservation Board on the 12th day of April, 1988. Revised and adopted by the Buena Vista County, Iowa, Conservation Board on the 8th of March, 2010.