Winter brings opportunities

Stegmann: Plenty of outdoor activities available in Marshall County


In Central Iowa, outdoor activities are often associated with spring, summer and early fall, but there are many activities available in the late fall and winter as well.

“The picnickers and other day-users like that have fallen off, but there are still people that just like to drive through the parks and look at what’s going on,” said Marshall County Conservation Director Mike Stegmann of public activity in county parks during the colder months. “It’s somewhat seasonal; there are still some people out there fishing.”

Like other parts of the year, he said late fall and winter can offer enjoyment to outdoors enthusiasts.

“I like to encourage people to get out,” Stegmann said. “People like the early fall leaf color changes, and in the summertime everything is green, but if people take time to stop and look at the colors of the fall and winter, it’s just a different section of the color spectrum that they’re looking at.”

He said the tans, grays, browns, and reddish colors of late fall and winter can also be appreciated.

“It’s just as beautiful as any other time of year,” Stegmann said.

Other activities available in the county this time of year include hunting and bird watching.

“I have noticed an influx of bald eagles,” he said. “I’ve seen quite a few more than just the resident birds around.”

The lack of thick vegetation late in the year also gives conservation staff opportunities to do certain types of outdoor work.

“This is actually the time of year it’s easiest to get out and do some chainsaw activity,” Stegmann said. “The thick vegetation has all died back, the stinging nettles aren’t a problem, bugs aren’t a problem.”

He said heat stroke is also less of a threat in the colder weather, so workers can bundle up and work more comfortably.

On projects, Stegmann said the amphitheater at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center is nearly complete, and is set to open in the spring of 2018.

“The amphitheater is 99 percent complete, we just have a punch list that we’re working on,” he said. “It is set for a spring opening and associated uses, whether it be through the programming that the (Marshall) County Conservation Board does or private use.”

For those interested in using the amphitheater, a rental schedule is available at Grimes Farm, 2349 233rd St.

On the Green Castle Recreation Area campground project, Stegmann said work on access roads is under way.

“Right now, we’re still working on engineering of the access roads that will eventually be for the campsites,” he said. “Once we get that engineering completed, with a cost associated with that, then we’ll move forward on, hopefully, getting those access roads developed.”

For more information on county conservation, visit


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or