Following Family Wishes
Meandering through Western Iowa and rising up above the Iowa plains is a windblown ridge known as the Loess Hills. Made up of sediment deposited long ago by winds across the Missouri River, the Loess Hills are a prominent natural feature and one of Iowa’s premiere landscapes.
Gary Hargroves of Monona County had a passion for conservation and owned 235 acres of prairie in the Loess Hills that embodied many of the area’s natural features. The land, featuring prairie, woodland and restored wildlife habitat, was a valuable neighbor and extended the wildlife habitat of the nearby Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area.
However, when Gary passed away suddenly, the future of his land became an unknown.
“There was concern that if the land was sold to another buyer, it would lose the natural features that Gary worked so hard to protect and restore,” said Tim Sproul, INHF Loess Hills land conservation specialist. “That would result in the destruction of native prairie and a negative impact on water quality in the area, especially into the Little Sioux River.”
Fortunately, Gary’s family wanted to see his passion for conservation protected. They contacted the Iowa DNR, who reached out to INHF for assistance in securing the land to protect its important natural resources for conservation and open it for public enjoyment.
“The land Gary protected is very diverse and the prairie resource is so unique,” Sproul said. “The Loess Hills are a melting, a marriage of the short-grass prairies of the West and long-grass prairies of central Iowa. We want to preserve those special land forms for generations to come.”