Walk into Little Sioux Savanna, a beautiful park just west of Milford, and take a seat on the mowed trail.
Watch. Listen. Wait.
A honeybee buzzes beside you as it gathers pollen in the prairie. A northern leopard frog jumps into the Little Sioux River just below where you’re seated. An eight-point buck and doe saunter in from the distance.
The approximately 60-acre Little Sioux Savanna is one of Dickinson County Conservation Board’s newest areas, purchased less than five years ago with an additional 19-acre timbered parcel across the street named Little Foote Forest.
The conservation board received a $100,000 Wildlife Habitat Stamp in 2014 to help with the purchase of the property and was also awarded $100,000 in North America Wetland Conservation Act funds. The LaVonne Foote Estate and Nature Conservancy donated $131,088.
Since taking possession of these two pieces of land, the Dickinson County Conservation Board has concentrated on putting together a plan to restore and rejuvenate them.
“Our management goals for these properties center upon a restoration of ecosystem functionality,” said vegetation specialist Aric Ping. “This goal hinges on increasing site biodiversity, a process that will include eliminating invasive plant species, reducing the abundance of aggressive shrubby species, and reintroducing native prairie and savanna plant species that have been extirpated from the site.”
Visit these parks year-round at 2218 195th Ave., Milford, at the corner of County Road A-34 and 195th Avenue. Both the Little Sioux Savanna and Little Foote Forest offer a variety of recreational opportunities from hiking and birdwatching to hunting and photography.
With eight parks and even more public areas, the Dickinson County Conservation Board has a variety of gems for the public to explore to help foster an appreciation of the natural world. Learn about each of these parks at http://dickinsoncountyconservationboard.com/our-parks/ and see a new series of Youtube videos on each park, coming out periodically in 2016. Check out the Little Sioux Savanna video on the DCCBnaturecenter Youtube channel.