A Loess Hills Gem

Posted on January 29, 2020 in Blog


Comprised of 151 acres in northwest Fremont County, the newly created Blackburn Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Blackburn State Park, a unit of Waubonsie State Park, will provide a place for conservation and community in the Loess Hills.

The property was donated to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by William (Bill) and Sara Blackburn of Long Grove, Illinois. Bill, who has roots in southwest Iowa, and Sara purchased the land in 2003, and the family began extensive restoration of the property shortly thereafter. 

They removed invasive species, planted 35 acres of local ecotype prairie and installed hiking trails, roads, an open-air picnic shelter, performance pavilion, boardwalk viewing platform, and with INHF's help, a pit latrine.

Over the years, the property has played host to a biennial music festival, benefit concerts, weddings, graduation parties and become a popular place to explore the Loess Hills.

"For years INHF helped Bill explore ways that this special place could be permanently protected, so it is exciting to see this happen," said INHF Vice President Anita O'Gara. "We are continually inspired by the Blackburns’ deep commitment to this vision for the land and the future."

Learn more about this outstanding place and the Blackburns' decision to permanently protect it at iowadnr.gov