Improvements at Mon Maq Dam and Pictured Rocks Park were all part of the larger Maquoketa River Water Trail project. Central Park Lake Restoration. Eby’s Mill Wildlife Area. Central Park Nature Center improvements. New pond and improvements to the Hale Wildlife Area. Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve. The list goes on and on.
All of these projects would not have been possible without Jones County Conservation Director Larry Gullett.
Recently, Gullett announced he would be leaving Jones County for a position in Johnson County (Iowa City). After nine years of improving conservation in Jones County and contributing to an even brighter future for Jones County Conservation, wildlife and water quality here, much thanks goes out to Gullett for all of his efforts throughout the years!
All of the above-mentioned projects would not have been possible without Gullett and the Conservation Board and staff securing local and county funding as well as multiple outside funding sources (grants).
Since the improvements at Mon Maq Dam and Pictured Rocks, people have been drawn to Monticello to canoe down the Maquoketa River. The overlook at the Dam was a needed addition to the area. The additional parking, improved restroom facilities and shelter at Pictured Rocks has been great not only for those on the river, but families and groups wanting to spend time in the park for picnics and hiking excursions.
Last fall, I attended one of the annual hikes through the Hamilton Tapken Prairie. Accompanied by Gullett and Conservation Naturalist Michele Olson, they taught us so much about the rare plant species found all over the prairie. The average person, like myself, would not even know this area exists to protect the natural resources of Jones County had it not been for the Conservation department.
Have you ever taken your family, friends, children or grandchildren to Central Park and the Nature Center? The educational opportunities available at the Nature Center are enough to spend an entire afternoon at the park.
The camping, fishing and outdoor opportunities at Central Park alone are a huge asset to Jones County!
If you look back at all of the Conservation projects that have been accomplished over the past nine years, there’s an obvious person to thank.
Jones County has improved in more ways than one thanks to Larry Gullett’s passion and excitement for this area. (K.N.B.)