Winter Newsletter and Indoor Archery Leagues

Check out what has been going on at the Sioux County Conservation Board’s Parks in their winter newsletter. Updates in the newsletter include:

  • Building Projects
  • New Website
  • Rate changes for 2018
  • Sioux County Conservation Foundation Updates
  • Seasonal job openings
  • Upcoming programs

Click here for the latest copy of our newsletter.

Indoor Archery Leagues

The Sioux County Archery Committee will be hosting a Vegas League and a 3D Pop Up League during the winter months. They will also be hosting, in partnership, with the Sioux County Conservation Board an open range night on Thursday nights for the Indoor Archery Range and BB Gun Range.

League Shooting

We will offer a 4 consecutive week Vegas League starting Monday January 22, 2018. We will follow with a 3D Popup League for 4 weeks. Costs for the leagues are $10 for Vegas League and $30 for Pop Up League. Payment covers 4 nights of the league. The top 3 scores from each league will be scored. No preregistration needed just go to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area and park in the parking lot near the clubhouse.  League will happen in the indoor archery range. The leagues shoot time will be 6-8 pm. Last night for leagues will be March 19, 2018.

Open Range Night

Sandy Hollow Recreation Area will offer open shoot night for both the Indoor Archery Range and BB Gun Range. We will have both of these heated indoor ranges open to the public on Thursday nights from 6-8 PM January 18 to March 8.  All are welcome, youth 15 years of age and under must have adult supervision. Must provide own archery and BB gun equipment. Targets provided in both ranges. Cost is $5 for both archery and BB gun range per person per night or $3 for one range per person per night.

Reminder to those that hold Annual Archery Memberships that they are due for renewals. Membership forms and more information can be found here.

Seasonal Camping Sites for 2018

For those that enjoy camping week after week at your local county parks we are making it even easier for you to accomplish this task and not have to move your camper!  We are offering a few select sites at the Big Sioux Rec. Area, Oak Grove Park and Sandy Hollow Rec. Area for seasonal camping. This means you can bring your camper out in April and leave it until October!

Sandy Hollow Recreation Area and Big Sioux Recreation Area: Seasonal site will offer concrete pads, electric (20, 30 and/or 50 amp), water and sewer hook ups. Seasonal season will be from April 15 until October 15. Oak Grove Park sites will be available April 15 to October 10. Sites will also have concrete pads and are electric (20, 30, and 50 amp) sites. There is a water hydrant nearby to fill from, however there will be no sewer available at the individual site.

You are welcome to take your camper to other locations during this time; it will remain your site throughout the summer months. Your site will have a picnic table, fire ring and room to park one vehicle. Additional parking is located in visitor parking in the campground.

To acquire one of these sites you must fill out a Permanent/Seasonal camp site application online or pick one up at the Sioux County Conservation Administration Office during regular business hours. Return application with $50 deposit by January 22, 2018. We will draw for sites at our regular board meeting on February 7 at approximately 6:30 pm. If you are drawn at this time you will be required to put down a $500 deposit by February 20, 2018.  If not received by this date you will forfeit your site and $50 application deposit. The remainder of your balance for the site, ($1,300) for Big Sioux Recreation Area and Sandy Hollow Recreation Area or ($1,156) for Oak Grove will be due by April 15, 2018. Failure to make your payment by this date will result in forfeiting your site and $500 deposit.


2018 Seasonal Site Application


Looking to Close Gap

Over 18,000 people, ages 0-109, were reached through the Sioux County Conservation Board’s Environmental Education Program this past year. Just think, with the addition of the Sioux County Nature Center, even more people could be reached! With this new building, we project the following numbers:

+ 1,500 more students reached through field trips

+ 1,000 people could attend public programs and events

+ 250 more kids at summer camp

+ 200 civic groups, nursing home visits

+ Unknown number of families, individuals, colleges, self-led groups

With the Sioux County Nature Center we could reach close to an additional 3,000+ program participants in our naturalist lead programs. It is estimated that we could also see an additional 14,000+ visitors to the center in the first year.

The Sioux County Conservation Foundation needs to close a $1.1 million gap by January 10, 2018 to receive an Enhance Iowa Grant to finish the project.

Will you partner with us to reach our year-end impact goal to connect our youth, elderly and families with the outdoors?

Get involved by clicking HERE to make your tax deductible gift to the Sioux County Nature Center Campaign. You may also make checks payable to Sioux County Conservation Foundation and mail them to the following:

Sioux County Conservation Foundation
Nature Center Campaign
1603 Oak Grove Road
Hawarden, IA 51023

Thank you for your support!

Bank of the Future Campaign Results

During the National Education Week in November, our local FFA chapters organized and carried out a coin drive for their area to raise funds and awareness for the new Nature Center.
Five teams were organized:

Hawarden & Ireton were led by West Sioux National Honor Society.

Hull & Boyden were led by Boyden Hull FFA chapter and Western FFA chapter.

Orange City, Alton, Hospers and Granville were led by MOC FFA chapter and Unity FFA chapter.

Rock Valley was led by Rock Valley FFA chapter.

Sioux Center was led by Sioux Center FFA chapter.

Each group was given information, provided by SCCF, which could be sent home to school kids in their area to participate in the coin drive. They were also encouraged to get their communities involved. Flyers were also provided if groups choose to use them. How each group carried out their campaign was up to them. Some groups placed collection jars in various businesses, banks, schools, some had a ‘bake’ sale, and others took it as far as to organize matching gifts from some local businesses. Together all the FFA chapters were able to raise $4,685.46! And for pride, here are team’s contributions:

1st Rock Valley Team: $2,758.66

2nd Hull/Boyden Team: $795.42

3rd Sioux Center Team: $559.92

4th Orange City/Alton/Hospers/Granville Team: $505.90

5th Hawarden Team: $65.56

Regardless of what they raised, the other goal of the Bank of the Future Campaign was to get the word out about the Nature Center Project. Several members of the community came up to staff members and expressed they had no idea about the project and they were excited to hear ads on the radio and see flyers around town. The Sioux County Conservation Foundation would like to give:

“a huge thank you to our local FFA chapters and National Honor Society for all of their hard work and to everyone who participated in making the Bank on the Future Campaign a success!”

If you missed the coin drive and would like to make a gift towards the Nature Center Project check out the Nature Center webpage and hit the donate button!

Iowa’s 2017 Shotgun Deer Season Fast Approaching

The first of Iowa’s popular shotgun deer season is December 2-6, 2017 when an expected 60,000 orange clad hunters head to the timber.  That group will be followed by another 60,000 hunters who prefer the second shotgun season December 9-17, 2017 according to a news release by the Iowa DNR.

Iowa hunters will have a new option this year while hunting deer during the youth season, disabled hunter season and both shotgun seasons. Rifles that are capable of shooting straight walled cartridges, click here for more details.

Few tips/reminders of safety of hunting season:

  • Do not wait to purchase your deer license.
  • Report your harvest; can be done online, over the phone, or at a licensed vendor.  Deer must be reported by the hunter whose name is on the tag and must be reported before midnight, the day after the deer is tagged.  Reporting your harvest is important because it’s required by law first of all and numbers are used to manage Iowa’s Deer herds annually.
  • Deer tissue samples.  The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff will continue collecting tissue samples to test for presence of Chronic Wasting Disease in Iowa’s wild deer herd.  Samples are collected both by voluntary contributions of samples from local hunters, and when wildlife staff checks hunters in the field or at home processing points. More details can be found here.
  • Turn in Poachers.  See something while out in the field that doesn’t look right?  You can report concerns by calling 1-800-532-2020 as soon as possible, please provide as much information as possible including, individual, vehicle, time, and location descriptions.  You may remain anonymous.
  • Treat every gun as if it is loaded, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Unload the firearm and open the action, especially when crossing obstacles.
  • Wear plenty of blaze orange, you want to be seen from all angles in the woods and fields. Deer Hunters must wear one of the following articles of external visible solid blaze orange clothing when hunting deer with a firearm: vest, jacket, coat, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls. A blaze orange hat alone is not sufficient.
  • Be sure to know the gun and practice with it before the season opens to get reacquainted with it.
  • Know the target and what is beyond it.
  • Do not shoot at running deer.
  • Discuss the hunting plan with everyone in the group. Outline what each person is going to do and where to be throughout the hunt. Plan your hunt and hunt your plan. Communication is critical to ensure safety.
  • Bundle up- keeping your finger off the trigger and muzzle control are both extremely important as bulky coats and gloves increases chances of an accidental discharge.
  • Most hunting in Iowa is done on private land. Hunters should touch base with landowners prior to season opening to get permission to hunt the area.

The DNR Reports of first hunting related injury occurring in southwestern Wright County.  Hunter was pheasant hunting on Boone River Greenbelt Conservation Board Public Hunting Area with three other hunters when he was hit in the back by bird shot from another hunter’s 12 gauge shotgun. The shotgun was reported to be lying on the ground when a hunting dog stepped on the trigger guard causing it to discharge hitting the hunter in the back nearly 22 yards away.  Injuries were non-life threatening.

This information was taken from the Iowa DNR public press release.

Snowy Owl

“If you see what looks to be a large, white bucket standing in a field, get out the binoculars and take a closer look- you may be seeing a Snowy Owl!” -Rebecca Christoffel, Iowa State University Extension wildlife specialist.

Birders around Iowa are being treated to a rare gift this year, as Snowy Owls are moving south from the Tundra. Movement of the birds into the lower 48 states isn’t such a treat for them, explains Rebecca Christoffel, Iowa State University Extension wildlife specialist. “It signals trouble for them.”

Snowy Owls are large birds, with bright white plumage flecked with black and have beautiful yellow eyes. Typically perched on haystacks, fence posts, knolls or dunes these birds stand 20-27 inches tall. These birds are from the open tundra; and nesting on the ground. The snowy owl preys chiefly on lemmings, hunting by day as well as at night.

Snowy Owls began arriving in the upper Midwest in October and have continued to increase in number as the season has progressed.  Most movements of this sort, called irruptions, are thought to be caused by a crash in important prey population; lemmings in this case. Under these conditions, younger, more inexperienced birds are forced to move south. People are keeping track of Snowy Owl sightings in the U.S.

“More than 40 Snowy Owls have been reported in Iowa to date.” Said Christoffel. Unfortunately also to this date, six mortalities have been reported due to starvation or roadkill.

Christoffel recommends Iowan’s fortunate enough to see Snowy Owls should report their sightings to Steve Dinsmore of ISU Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at so their movement can be adequately tracked this year. Or feel free to contact our administration office (712) 552-1047 or email Sunday Ford at

Information obtained from: Iowa State University Extension, National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Snowy Owl reports

Friends, please email with any snowy owl findings. Naturalists in Iowa are documenting location of sightings. This may be another Fall/Winter of seeing a large population in Iowa.

New Website!

Sioux County Conservation Board is excited to roll out its new website!  This site has all the information pertaining to the programs and activities sponsored by the conservation board, along with all the recreation options offered throughout the county. You will also find information about all of our parks and so much more!

With the new site we are able to offer online access to our current program listing, field trips, and other programs.  As always we are open to developing new programs to fit your groups need.  We will be updating our programs with science standards soon!  New we will offer online request form for those looking for a program.

As the foundation continues to work towards their fundraising goal of the nature center we are now able to accept donations through the website.

New features:

Program request form

Nature Center updates

Online donation for the Sioux County Conservation Foundation to help fund the nature center project

Coming in 2018 we will be offering online reservations for our cabins, enclosed shelters and a portion of our campsites to making planning that next family reunion, wedding, retreat or other event easier for your group to do so.  There will be a large section of our campsites that remain available on a first come first served basis, as they have been in the past.

So take a few minutes and check out our new website.

Campgrounds closed for season

As the air turns colder and the possibility of snow showers as to rain starts coming through the weather channel it is that time of year again when we have to start winterizing our restrooms. As of October 22, 2017 the following campground have been closed for the season: Deer Run (Oak Grove), Meadowlark and Eagle View (Big Sioux Rec. Area), and Sandy Hollow. Turkey Ridge Campground remains open including the restroom facility at this time.

Online Reservations

As we look forward to a fast approaching new year we are excited to announce a new change to our reservations process.  We are hopeful to have our four cabins, enclosed shelters and a few select campsites available online for you to book your next family gathering.  We are looking at restructuring our rate fees for the new season at this time as well.  If you have not done so already please follow the link below to get your free account registered on the mycounntyparks website that we will be taking reservations through.