At their April 28th meeting, the Vinton Lion's Club met the new Benton County Conservation Director, Shelby Williams. Shelby is a native of Iowa County and an ISU graduate. She's been busy leading the department since February as they get ready for the summer season. Her duties include overseeing all 22 properties the county owns as well as getting all the buildings and facilities ready to go for visitors. These properties encompass 2200 acres and 179 “full-service” campsites plus a number of primitive sites without amenities, a total of 225.
Shelby has 8 full-time employees as well as 10 seasonal workers to take care of in Benton county, all of whom are working hard to clean up the campgrounds and other sites after last summer's derecho and some unfortunate recent vandalism at Minne Estema Park. Shelby stressed that all campgrounds will be open for a great camping experience. In addition to this work they are doing some construction on the Old Creamery Trail which runs from Vinton to Dysart. and there is a lot of excitement about the Edna Shain Wetland which is located on 55 acres just to the west of the sod farm south of Mt. Auburn. She also mentioned that the Iowa Free-Fishing weekend will be the first week in June. All of this is ongoing with preparation work, painting and mowing etc., as they get ready for a summer of fun in our county parks.
Closer to Vinton, she told us that the entire trail on the east side of Rogers Park is open and that there will be a pond on the east side close to the dam. She also mentioned that the yurts that were located at Rogers have been sold. Finally, she stated all of the wonderful programs that have been offered at the Nature Center will continue. If you have any questions or need more information please contact the Benton County Conservation Office at 472-4942.