Cass County Conservation Director Micah Lee provided the County Board of Supervisors with a quarterly report on progress and activities associated with the Conservation Department, during the Supervisors’ meeting Wednesday morning, in Atlantic. Lee said over the past quarter, conservation staff have been in a maintenance mode, and getting ready for the camping season. He said at the Cold Springs State Park near Lewis, the dead trees were cut down and removed that were impinging on the roadway. Trees were also removed along the Rock Cut Trail to improve access. Micah said he’s still working with the Iowa DNR with regard to the widening of the south driveway entrance.
Widening the driveway would make it easier for the larger camping vehicles to access the park. They’ve also been working at grading the roads and filling potholes. The same type of work has been conducted at the Nodaway Recreation Area. Cleanup activities have also been underway on the T-Bone Trail. Those efforts have been made easier thanks to a new piece of equipment the Conservation Department received. Lee said a grant from the Cass County Community Foundation allowed them to purchase a UTV – Utility Terrain Vehicle – and a rotary brush, which will be used to remove twigs, leaves and gravel much faster than before. Previously, hand brooms and blowers were used to clean-up the trail.
At the Pellett Memorial Woods, staffers did minimal clean-up work to keep the walking path accessible, but still natural appearing. Lee said they added mulch at the entrance, so visitors’ feet don’t get muddy, in addition to some trimming. At the West Nodaway Recreation Area, boundary fences were repaired, and measured for food plots in preparation for planting this Spring. At the Cass County Outdoor Classroom, Micah says approximately 80 dead Scotch Pine trees which were infested by beetles were cut down. Replacement, beetle-resistant Blue Spruce trees, have been ordered and will be planted as soon as possible. Some Willow Trees were trimmed, and rock placed on the roads. Other clean-up work has been conducted along the Hitchcock Nature Area walking trail.
Lee said also, that Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning has provided 113 environmental education programs over the past quarter, and spoke with more than 2,129 people in the process.