Jefferson County Conservation Board, Fairfield, Iowa
Please note the Jefferson County Conservation Board Rules and Regulations. Thank you.
Jefferson County Park
The 227 acre Jefferson County Park is located just southwest of the Fairfield city limits. The main entrance is on Libertyville Road, 1.3 miles west of Iowa Highway 1.
It is now the most widely used multi-purpose outdoor recreation area in Jefferson County, and is considered the nucleus of the Jefferson County Conservation Board program.
⚫ 227 acres.
⚫ Camp sites - electricity, drinking water, showers, flush toilets and pit toilets.
⚫ Camping Cabins - electricity, equipped, sleeps six - more cabin info.
⚫ Picnic shelters - (3).
⚫ Trails - hiking, biking, XC skiing.
⚫ Fishing - 4 ponds.
⚫ Handicapped facilities.
⚫ Nature Center.
⚫ Playground equipment, baseball field, prairie plantings.
⚫ Detailed Map of Jefferson County Park.
Jefferson Country Park Facilities
Click here to see more photos
In 1977, 117 acres of land located just southwest of the Fairfield city limits was purchased with federal-matching Heritage Conservation Recreation Service funds. This land today is known as Jefferson County Park.
In 1985, an additional 16 acres of abandoned railroad right-of-way was purchased and another 17-acre track of timber was donated by FEDA, increasing the park to a total of 150 acres. Twenty-five acres was purchased in 1989 and 15 acres in 2001 with REAP funds.
Approximately 10 acres was donated by FEDA in 2007. This area is on the north edge of the park and features a 1.5 acre storm retention pond -- see the story and photos here.
In January 2009, an additional 27 acres of land was purchased from the Holmes family making the park 227 acres in size.
Under the direction of the Jefferson County Conservation Board, extensive development has taken place in the park; it is now the most widely used multi-purpose outdoor recreation area in Jefferson County.
Jefferson County Park is considered the nucleus of the Jefferson County Conservation Board program.
Take a look at more Jefferson County Park photos.
Trails in Jefferson County Park
Approximately 7 miles of hiking and biking trails have been established in Jefferson County Park. The trails take you through a diversity of landscapes including timber, pine tree plantings, meadows and reestablished prairie. More about the trails....
The 75-foot Swinging Bridge is featured on the trail connecting the picnic area with the camp area. The old bridge was replaced in 2013, worked on by Shawn Morrissey and Bob Leazer. The new bridge was dedicated in memory of Ebb Camelin (who constructed the first bridge in 1983) and park user Ali Moradi.
The park's trail system ties into Cedar View Trail which leads to the city of Libertyville. The Cedar View Trail connects to the Fairfield Loop Trail which encircles the entire city of Fairfield.
Find out about the Fairfield Loop Trail on the Jefferson County Trails Council website.
Picnic Areas in Jefferson County Park
(Open May 1 through October 31) Three picnic shelters that will accommodate large groups are located in the park's picnic area (The photo is Shelter #3).
These shelters can be reserved from May 1st through October 31st. Electricity, drinking water and flush-type toilets are also available.
Softball, horseshoe, and volleyball facilities have been developed.
The wood playground complex is very popular with the younger park users.
Adequate parking is available and all facilities are handicapped accessible.
Campground & Camping Cabins in Jefferson County Park
(Open May 1 through October 31) Twenty-four camp pads, complete with electricity, are available in the camping area. Modern restrooms, hot showers, drinking water, a small shelter house, playground equipment and a trailer waste dump station are all provided for the camper.
Modest camping fees are charged on a per-night basis. See fees for details.
Two 12' x 16' sleeping cabins with 4' x 12' porches were constructed at the west end of the camp area in 1996. Each cabin sleeps six people and comes equipped with a refrigerator, microwave oven, table and chairs, air conditioner, picnic table, potable water supply and campfire ring. A new shower-restroom facility was constructed near the cabins in 2005.
See camping for sleeping cabin details. And click here to see the Camping Cabin Rules and Regulations (PDF).
Nature Center in Jefferson County Park
Office and shop facilities were constructed in 1981. Included in this building is the nature center. A variety of displays including an Indian artifact collection, an Iowa mammals fur collection, a 150 gallon fish aquarium, and a turtle tank are on exhibit.
The nature center is also used as classroom space for visiting school groups. A full-time naturalist is on staff to coordinate outdoor educational activities.
Wildlife in Jefferson County Park
Although some of the areas in Jefferson County Park are developed, other parts remain untouched. Many species of wildlife inhabit the park. Ten acres have been seeded back to native prairie grasses to improve nesting habitat.
Approximately 15,000 trees and shrubs have been planted in the park for aesthetic value and for wildlife habitat. Food plots have also been established to attract wildlife into the area.
Mac Coon Access
Mac Coon Access is a popular place for fishing, camping, boating, and hunting.
Mac coon Access is five and one-half miles north of Lockridge, just east of Willow Blvd.
Camp w/electricity, drinking water, pit toilets, picnic shelter, hiking, fish (stream), boat ramp, hunting, playground.
⚫ 71 acres.
⚫ Camping - electricity, drinking water, pit toilets.
⚫ Picnic shelter.
⚫ Trail - hiking.
⚫ Fishing - See fishing info at the Skunk River Water Trail page.
⚫ Boating - boat ramp. Go to Skunk River Water Trail map.
⚫ Playground equipment.
⚫ Detailed Map of Mac Coon Access.
This recreation area got its name from an old game Warden, Mac Coon, who worked in the area back in the 1930's and 40's.
Purchased by the Department of Natural Resources in 1945, a renewable 25 year management-lease agreement allows the Jefferson County Conservation Board to develop and manage this area.
Since 1973 numerous improvements have been made to Mac Coon Access which includes: construction of restrooms and a shelter house, installation of playground equipment, drilling a well for potable water, developing a campground equipped with electricity and providing a concrete boat ramp and fish cleaning station.
A trailer dump station and rural water was added to Mac Coon Access in 2006.
Mac Coon Access not only provides fishing opportunities with the presence of the Skunk River, it is also open to public hunting from August 31 to May 15. In 2006 all of the camping sites along the river were updated with 50 amp service. See the Fishing & Hunting page.
Note: Mac Coon Access is prone to flooding. If you are uncertain about the current conditions please contact us at 641-472-4421.
Round Prairie Park
Round Prairie Park is located nine miles southeast of Fairfield on Glasgow Road and two miles south on Tamarack Ave.
Camp w/electricity, drinking water, pit toilets, picnic shelter, hike/biking, fish (2 ponds, 1 steam), canoe access, facilities for handicapped, historic site, playground, prairie plantings.
Camping is available year around.
⚫ 101 acres.
⚫ Camping - electricity, drinking water, pit toilets.
⚫ Picnic shelter.
⚫ Trails - hiking, bridle.
⚫ Fishing - 2 ponds and Cedar Creek See the Fishing page.
⚫ Boating - canoe access. Go to Cedar Creek Water Trail.
⚫ Handicapped facilities.
⚫ Playground equipment, historic site, prairie plantings.
⚫ Detailed Map of Round Prairie Park.
Looking out from the Shelter.
Round Prairie Park is located nine miles southeast of Fairfield on Glasgow Road and two miles south on Tamarack Ave. The park was purchased in 1974 with 50% matching LAWCON funds.
It was the first park developed by the Jefferson County Conservation Board. Round Prairie Park is a mixture of timber, abandoned cropland and pasture. An old lime-stone quarry is also on the site.
Extensive work has been done in the area to restore the native grasses and forbs (scroll down for details).
Cedar Creek borders the park on the south and canoe access is available.
Round Prairie Park has a 12 unit camp-ground equipped with electricity and drinking water, a shelter house, restrooms, playground equipment and two fishing ponds stocked with bass, catfish, and bluegills.
In 2013, Access Energy renovated the entire campground and replaced all of the old electric boxes with new 50-amp pedestals.
A new pit latrine was constructed near the campground and shelter which replaced the old restroom that was built in 1978.
Take a look at more Round Prairie Park photos.
Native Prairie Management Plan at Round Prairie
The undeveloped areas in Round Prairie Park contain many native prairie species. In the past very little had been done to manage these prairie areas and problems with woody vegetation encroachment have developed.
In Iowa it has been estimated that of an original 30 million acres of prairie only 30 thousand remain. Management techniques have been implemented by the JCCB to insure that the native prairie areas of Round Prairie will be preserved.
A preliminary inventory was done by Martha Skillman of the Iowa Prairie Network in the summer of 1999. At that time close to forty species of native prairie forbes, grasses, and sedges were identified. It was decided that future trips would be taken throughout the growing season to account for species which were missed during the preliminary inventory.
Since then the prairie species list has grown to eighty.
Round Prairie Park contains many woody species that are encroaching into the prairie remnants. To control woody vegetation in the prairie areas various techniques are being used. Controlled burns help kill off the smaller trees and shrubs. Larger trees which are unaffected by burning will be cut down and foliar sprays may also be used to kill off persistent species such as autumn olive.
Certain tree species such as White Oak will be left since they were historically found throughout the prairie. Species which seem to spread rapidly such as ash and cottonwood will be more aggressively controlled. Mowing will also be used to control woody vegetation or to simulate grazing.
Grazing has been recommended as a tool in prairie restoration but is not possible at Round Prairie due to lack of fencing.
The re-establishment of prairie will be a long process but it's one that the JCCB feels is well-worth the effort.
Zillman's Hickory Hills
Zillman's Hickory Hills is located three and one-half miles southeast of Fairfield on the Glasgow Road.
A trail winds throughout the picturesque timber and takes you past an old reconstructed cemetery with headstones dating back to the 1800's.
Hike/xc-skiing, fish (2 ponds), historic site.
⚫ 46 acres.
⚫ Trails - hiking, XC-skiing.
⚫ Fishing - 2 ponds, See the Fishing page.
⚫ Historic site.
⚫ Detailed Map of Zillman's Hickory Hills.
Zillman's Hickory Hills, located three and one-half miles southeast of Fairfield on the Glasgow Road, was donated to the Jefferson County Conservation Board by Carl and Mary Zillman in 1986.
Carl served on the board from 1975 to 1995 and was instrumental in obtaining and developing many of Jefferson County's outdoor recreation areas.
This picturesque area is predominately covered with shagbark hickory. Two and one-half acres have been planted to red, white and scotch pines. The mixture of this coniferous and deciduous timber makes the area very attractive to many game and non-game wildlife species.
A trail winds throughout the timber and takes you past an old reconstructed cemetery with headstones dating back to the 1800's.
A 24' x 40' steel building sits where an old historic barn used to be before it was destroyed by a twister.
Approximately 23 acres of agricultural land was taken out of production in 2008. The area has been seeded down with native grasses and forbes and will be managed for upland game birds.
Whitham Woods, located one mile west of Fairfield on Business Highway 34, is the original site of the C.W. Whitham Nursery.
Whitham Woods is used for such passive recreation forms as hiking, cross country skiing, photography, fishing, bird watching, and nature appreciation. From 1858 to 1901 the railroad (now BNSF) ran through this property (RR history here).
⚫ 133 acres.
⚫ Trails - hiking, XC-skiing.
⚫ Fishing - One pond See fishing info here.
⚫ Historic site, prairie plantings.
⚫ The Loop Trail travels through Whitham Woods - view information on the Jefferson County Trails website.
⚫ Detailed Map of Whitham Woods.
Whitham Woods, located one mile west of Fairfield on Highway 34, is the original site of the C.W. Whitham Nursery. It was donated to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in 1980 by Daisy Whitham, and then turned over to the Jefferson County Conservation Board on a management-lease agreement.
Many of the original nursery plantings have grown to maturity, creating an interesting diversification of plant materials. The north half of the area is covered by oak and hickory timber, providing excellent habitat for deer, squirrels, rabbits and various non-game bird species.
A four acre prairie plot seeded with Big Blue Stem, Little Blue Stem, Indian Grass, Side Oats Grama, Switch Grass and various native forbs can also be found here.
Whitham Woods is used for such passive recreation forms as hiking, cross-country skiing, photography, fishing, bird watching, and nature appreciation.
In 2013, a one acre pond was renovated at Whitham Woods. A $22,000 fish habitat grant was used to reconstruct the dam and remove the silt from it's basin. Staff members placed fish habitat structures on the bottom of the pond.
At the request of the Whitham family at the time of the donation, no infrastructure or development can take place at Whitham Woods although a parking lot and a restroom has been provided just off of Highway 34 and a section of the Loop Trail has been constructed in the park.
A book on the history of Whitham Woods is available at the Fairfield Public Library.
Within Whitham Woods you can find approximately 111 different species of trees, including 18 species of conifers and fruit trees such as apple, peach, pear and plum.
A species checklist can be picked up at the conservation board office in Jefferson County Park.
Park Management News... by Shawn Morrissey, JCCB Operations & Natural Resource Manager
Feb 2013. The pond renovation project has begun at Whitham Woods. All vegetation has been cleared from around the pond, the dam was breached and the pond drained.
In the process, approximately 200 fish were collected and moved to ponds within Jefferson County Park. The pond will need to dry completely before the silt can be removed and work can continue. This renovation may take several months to complete and it is the type of project where a big mess must be made in order to end up with a nice finished project.
March 2014. The pond renovation at Whitham Woods is finished. The project, which involved the enlarging and deepening of the 60 year old pond, was funded by a fish habitat grant. We were hoping to get some good fall rains so the pond could be partially stocked before winter...but now we'll have to wait to see what Spring will bring.
Oct 2012. The 2013 Jefferson County Conservation Board Annual Trail Drive-Through included Whitham Woods. The Drive-Through program is designed for people who would not otherwise be able to see the trails have an opportunity to experience them first-hand.
For more details about Whitham Woods, go to the Fairfield Loop Trail website, Whitham Woods page at the Jefferson County Trails website.
Cedar View Trail
Entrance on 32nd Street, south of Business Hwy 34.
Hike/bike/xc-skiing. Connects Fairfield and Libertyville, and connects to the 16-mile Fairfield Loop Trail.
Cedar View Trail, 4.5 miles in length, connects the two communities of Fairfield and Libertyville. It also provides access to the 15.9 mile Fairfield Loop Trail and leads into Jefferson County Park's north entrance where it connects to the seven miles of trail within the park.
⚫ 4.5 miles long.
⚫ Trails - hiking, biking, XC-skiing.
⚫ Detailed Map of Cedar View Trail.
Cedar View Trail, 4.5 miles in length, connects the two communities of Fairfield and Libertyville. Plans for the trail started in the mid 1990's and easements for the abandoned Rock Island Railroad right-of-way between Jefferson County Park and Cedar Creek Timber were obtained in 1996. See railroad details here.
Three and a half acres were purchased adjacent to 32nd Street that now serve as the trail head. This area was an unsightly salvage yard and is now seeded with native grasses and forbs.
Federal TEA21 enhancement funds were secured in 2000 for the 400 foot bridge that crosses Cedar Creek. The bridge was completed during the winter of 2002, with the grand opening held in August of that same year.
In 2007, a 256-foot pedestrian bridge on Cedar View Trail was constructed over the Fairfield by-pass highway. Access to the Fairfield Loop Trail is possible from this pedestrian bridge.
In 2013, a pit vault latrine was constructed at the intersection of the Cedar View Trail and the Fairfield Loop Trail.
The first segment of Cedar View Trail follows the old railroad right-of-way for approximately one mile to the Cedar View Bridge.
Before reaching the bridge, a waterfowl observation deck can be found that was constructed by the Jefferson County Trails Council. The beautiful view overlooks a large wetland that lies on the flood plain of Cedar Creek.
The view from Cedar View bridge is also exciting. The bridge spans 400 feet and the deck is 65 feet high over Cedar Creek.
The trail then continues through Cedar Creek Timber to 223rd Street. From there the trail follows 223rd to Hackberry Way to Hemlock Avenue north of Libertyville. The east shoulder of Hemlock Avenue has been designated for trail use.
Cedar View Trail is connected to the Fairfield Loop Trail. Cedar View Trail also leads into Jefferson County Park and connects to the seven miles of trail within the park.
Cedar Creek Timber and Wetland
Located between 32nd Street (Suburban Heights Road) and 223rd Street, west of Fairfield.
Hike/bike/xc-skiing, fish (stream), hunting, prairie plantings. Observe wetland wildlife.
Cedar View Trail traverses this public hunting area.
⚫ 105 acres, plus 170 acres of wetlands.
⚫ Trails - hiking, biking, cross-country skiing.
⚫ Fishing in Cedar Creek.
⚫ Prairie plantings.
⚫ Detailed Map of Cedar Creek Timber and Wetland.
Cedar Creek Timber & Wetland (formally known as Cedar Creek Timber) was originally a 105 acre public hunting area.
In 2005 the I.D.O.T. purchased 170 acres of Cedar Creek bottomland for a wetland mitigation site. Tiles were broken and dirt berms were constructed to enhance the wetland.
These two areas are now known as Cedar Creek Timber & Wetland.
The area is open to public hunting and has excellent populations of deer, turkey, squirrels and migratory waterfowl. See the Hunting page.
Cedar View Trail traverses this public hunting area. Hunters must park at the parking to at 223rd Street and walk in from the west. Hunters may not walk in from the parking lot at 32nd Street (Suburban Heights Road). (More about the Cedar View Trail on the Jefferson County Trails Council webpage.
Special rules and regulations pertaining to hunting have been posted at different locations on Cedar View Trail.
Learn more about the Cedar Creek Water Trail.
Turkey Run Wildlife Area
Turkey Run Wildlife Area is located on Osage Ave in south-central Jefferson County.
The Cedar Creek provides canoe access. This is the largest public hunting area in Jefferson County, and is a popular place for fishing.
The area is bounded by Cedar Creek on the north and the Van Buren county line on the south.
⚫ 405 acres.
⚫ Equestrian trail - bridle path.
⚫ Fishing in Cedar Creek.
⚫ Boating - canoe access. Go to Cedar Creek Water Trail map.
⚫ Prairie plantings.
⚫ Detailed Map of Turkey Run Wildlife Area.
The original 265 acres of Turkey Run was purchased in 1974 with HCRS matching funds. Since then four different parcels of land totalling 140 acres have been purchased which increases the size of the area to 405 acres.
Turkey Run Wildlife Area is the largest public hunting area in Jefferson County. See the Hunting page.
In 1991, a five acre wetland area was developed for waterfowl habitat and a canoe access was constructed on Cedar Creek. Canoeists can put in at Turkey Run and take out 6 miles downstream at Round Prairie Park. Learn more about Cedar Creek.
Turkey Run Wildlife Area is 90% timberland providing excellent wildlife habitat for wild turkey, deer, squirrels, rabbits and upland game birds. Approximately 40 acres of native prairie grass, pine tree plantings and wildlife food plots have been established in the area.
An equestrian primitive camp area and six miles of horseback riding trails have been recently established at Turkey Run Wildlife Area. Horse back riding is prohibited during deer and turkey hunting seasons (October through mid-January, and early April through mid-May).
Because of excessive shooting debris and complaints from hunters, the shooting range was removed at Turkey Run Wildlife Area in 2013. The Jefferson County Conservation Board adopted a rule at that time that no target shooting will be allowed in any area managed by the Jefferson County Conservation Board.
Located 5 miles south of Packwood off of 178th Blvd, Gantz-Hewett Timber is an excellent addition to the natural resource areas of the JCCB.
Parking facilities and wildlife habitat enhancement projects were completed in 2004. The area will be used for public hunting, wildlife observation, and as a public demonstration area for proper timber management practices.
⚫ 30 acres.
⚫ Historical site.
⚫ Detailed Map of Gantz-Hewett Timber.
Gilbert and John Hewett, former residents of Jefferson County, donated 20 acres of mature timber to the Jefferson County Conservation Board in 2002. An additional 10 acres of land was purchased in 2003 to permit public access to the area.
Located 5 miles south of Packwood off of 178th Blvd, Gantz-Hewett Timber is an excellent addition to the natural resource areas of the JCCB. Huge mature hickory and red and white oak trees grow in the area.
Turkey, deer, squirrels and upland game birds are common wildlife species.
Parking facilities and wildlife habitat enhancement projects were completed in 2004. The area will be used for public hunting (see the Hunting page), wildlife observation, and as a public demonstration area for proper timber management practices
Users beware - 178th Blvd may be muddy in wet conditions.
Livingston Timber, purchased in 1975, is located one mile north of Perlee off the Pleasant Plain Road.
Forty-five of its 74 acres were planted to red and white pine 45 years ago. Livingston Timber is an excellent hunting area with good populations of deer, squirrel and turkeys.
⚫ 74 acres.
⚫ Detailed Map of Livingston Timber.
In 1997, every third row of pines were removed to help the remaining trees mature properly.
Dimensional lumber was cut from the pines and was utilized in the construction of the camping cabins in Jefferson County Park.
This lumber was also used to make numerous picnic tables for Jefferson County Conservation Board recreation areas.
The staging area was converted to a large parking lot after the thinning project was over. The remaining timberland is mostly oak and hickory with some brushy areas.
Livingston Timber is an excellent hunting area with good populations of deer, squirrel and turkeys. See the Hunting page.
Photo by Werner Elmker
Neff Wetland, donated in May of 2017 by Dave and Sherri Neff, is on Glasgow Road, south of Burlington Ave. The area will be used for environmental purposes by the JCCB.
⚫ 36 acres.
⚫ See a map of the Neff Wetland (PDF).
⚫ A portion of the Fairfield Loop Trail runs through the center of this area.
Neff Wetland was originally a wetland mitigation site for the DOT and that donation was made possible because of the collaboration of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. The area will be used for environmental purposes by the JCCB. Over 100 different species of birds have been documented in the area.
This tract has excellent public access since the portion of the Fairfield Loop trail runs through the center of the area.
Photo by Jeff Fitz-Randolph
Gobble Park was donated to the Conservation board in 1976.
Located in the center of the small town of Abingdon, northwest of Fairfield, it was the site of the original T.W. Gobble and Co. store.
The park is one acre and has a picnic shelter.
⚫ Picnic shelter, small playground.
⚫ Size: 1 acre, in the center of the town.
The T. W. Gobble family came to Abingdon in 1844 with other families looking for fertile land. They named this pretty prairie village Abingdon after the Virginia home they left behind. By 1853 the T.W. Gobble and Co. Store was doing business as a general store in the center of Abingdon, offering clothing among many other items.
Later the family moved to Fairfield and opened a store which evolved into Gobble Clothiers. It was owned and operated by a fourth generation Gobble until Lee Gobble retired and sold the store in 1985.
In October 1976 Lee Gobble donated the family land in the center of Abingdon to the Conservation Board. It was named Gobble Park and a picnic shelter with a charcoal grill was erected.
Abingdon is located along what is known as the Brookville-Abingdon Road. This was the route of the stage coach which ran from Fairfield to Hedrick.
Once a major trading center in northwestern Jefferson County, Abingdon began to decline when the railroad never came. But it still remains, unlike some other forgotten towns in Jefferson County.
Website about Abingdon: http://iagenweb.org/jefferson/Towns/Abingdon.html
Chart of our Parks and Facilities
Contact us for the latest information.
County Map below
Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Jefferson County by acquiring, developing and managing public areas so that its citizens will have opportunities for quality outdoor recreation experiences, and to cultivate good land stewardship through natural history and environmental education activities.
Produced by the Jefferson County Conservation Board
2003 Libertyville Road, Fairfield, IA 52556
Call: 641-472-4421 Fax: 641-472-7911