Bobolinks nesting in the prairie, Blanding’s turtles resting by the stream, bald eagles flying overhead --- a walk through the Judd Wildlife Area allows some of nature’s finest to show off.

Twenty years ago, the Dickinson County Conservation Board looked to add a public recreation area south of Milford, and a Wildlife Habitat Stamp grant assisted with the purchase of the original 136 acres of the Judd Wildlife Area.

Work began to revitalize the area, including enhancing habitat on 72 acres of grassland that were in the Conservation Reserve Program as well as restoring 10 acres of prairie and four acres of wetland.

Then the opportunity arose in 2000 to add on approximately 24 acres to the park and enhance the brome/alfalfa mix on the property with native grasses. The conservation board also worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to seed native prairie plants throughout the entire Judd Wildlife Area and to develop more than 3,000 feet of dikes for water retention.

An additional 80 adjoining acres was purchased by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in 2009, and after fundraising and applying for grants, the Dickinson County Conservation Board purchased and took control of the additional property in 2013.

Today, the Judd Wildlife Area is more than 230 acres of beautiful restored land that makes people feel like they have stepped back in time. Open meadows overlook a winding prairie stream, and a softwood forest lines the edge of the Little Sioux River.

Visit the park at 1987 250th St., Milford, and take a walk along mowed paths or make your way through the tallgrass prairie to find beautiful native flowers. The land is a photographer’s dream with plenty of avian life and vibrant prairie blooms.

Canoers and kayakers can access the Little Sioux River off the south side of the property, jetting off to conquer the ever-changing water landscape.

Fishermen will enjoy testing their luck on the river as well. Grab your rod and reel and try to bag a catfish, walleye, northern pike, bullhead or bass. Plus, the Judd Wildlife Area is open to public hunting.

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. See a new series of Youtube videos on each park, coming out periodically in 2016. Check out the Judd Wildlife Area video on the DCCBnaturecenter Youtube channel.

How prairie plants disperse seed

As a kid, we all picked a puffy dandelion and blew the wisps into the air. Little did we think that we were actually helping dandelions disperse their seeds. Dandelions and other plants only survive when their seeds are dispersed so that new plants grow the next season. They spread through a variety of ways…

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Prairie plant roots help water quality

Native prairie plants make wonderful habitat for wildlife like voles, turkeys, rabbits, ground squirrels, hawks and foxes. They provide both habitat and food sources for tiny creatures such as monarch butterflies, bumblebees and milkweed beetles. They are beautiful to look at. However, they are also important in a way that we can’t see. Deep down…

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Take a stroll through Horseshoe Bend Wildlife Area

Crunch, slide, pant. Crunch, slide, pant. Crunch, crunch, pant. Those were about the only sounds interrupting the peaceful stillness at Horseshoe Bend Wildlife Area just south of Milford Tuesday. The snow crunched beneath my feet as I walked, and about every other step partially slid down the first hill I was traversing. The uphill portion…

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A stroll through Westport Park

I hate to admit this publicly, but I had not been to Dickinson County Conservation’s Westport Park until yesterday. We are always a little surprised when people come into the nature center and have lived in the area for years without ever visiting before. However, it’s the same way with county parks. Some of our…

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A stroll through Judd Wildlife Area

At the end of summer, Snapchat had a feed where users from Iowa could post videos to share with the rest of the world. My husband and I took our dog on a walk through the Dickinson County Conservation Board’s Judd Wildlife Area south of Milford, and we took a short video of us walking…

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A stroll through the Little Sioux Savanna

The Dickinson County Conservation Board has two new parcels of land on 195th Avenue, south of County Road A-34 in Milford. We worked hard this summer at the Little Foote Forest parcel, attempting to eradicate some of the invasive garlic mustard on the plot, but I had yet to walk through the Little Sioux Savanna parcel…

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A stroll through Kenue Park

The scent of fall is in the air. To me the scent of fall means dry leaves, wood smoke and a hint of chill to the air. Take a breath and it awakens the spirit. My eyes open wider and search for the beautiful change of colors. My lungs take in the sweet aroma. On…

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1 Comment

  1. Vacation Okoboji | Fall in Okoboji - Vacation Okoboji on September 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    […] area favorites include:Kettelson Hogsback, Horeshoe Bend Wildlife Area,  Gull Point State Park, Judd Wildlife Area, and Elinor Bedell State […]