Bird Preserve

With a series of sandy ponds surrounded by marshy grasslands, oak-hickory woodlands and sand prairie, this 28-acre Preserve supports a variety of rare amphibians, freshwater sponges, moss animals, and a variety of insects. Located a few miles north of the Wickiup Hill Learning Center near Ponds Lane, Behrens Pond was donated to Linn County Conservation from The Nature Conservancy in 2023. Recreational activities include birdwatching, nature photography and hiking, and educational activities.

Bird Preserve

This area is actually designated as a Natural Area. Visit the Natural Areas page for more information. 

Hanging Bog

This 15-acre Preserve is known for its stand of the rare skunk cabbage and marsh marigold. The hillside sweep and forest serve as additional resources for education and research. Hanging Bog, located along Ross Rd north of Covington, was donated to Linn County Conservation from The Nature Conservancy in 2023. There is an easement across private property to access the site. 

Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve

2727 Wapsi Ridge Drive, Walker IA

This 156-acre prairie preserve contains a very large glacial erratic and is home to threatened wildlife and plant species, such as the ornate box turtle and prickley pear cactus.

J. Harold Ennis Preserve

550 Cedar River Road, Mount Vernon, IA

The J. Harold Ennis Preserve is a 33-acre preserve with a hiking trail along the Cedar River in southern Linn County.

Millard Peserve

5053 Millard Lane, Central City, IA

The Millard Preserve is a 10-acre preserve donated to the county conservation board by the Millard Family. This area features a unique glacial marsh wetland.This area also contains a mowed trail to a sitting bench for wetland observation.

Palisades Dows Preserve

1365 Ivanhoe Road, Mount Vernon, IA

The Palisades-Dows Preserve is a 162-acre preserve and home to the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center (EIOLC). The Observatory is run by the Cedar Amateur Astronomers. Information on hours and programs can be on their website.

Rock Island Botanical Preserve

4501 Preserve Lane, Cedar Rapids IA

The original 20-acre section of the preserve was donated to the Linn County Conservation Board by the Rock Island Railroad Company in 1962. Because of its unique habitat, it was included in the Iowa state preserve system in 1978. In 2002, nearly 100 acres adjacent to the preserve were donated to the Conservation Board by James Properties, Inc.

This preserve consists of several unique habitats – dry upland sand prairies, sand prairie with oak savanna, wetlands and woodlands with upland, lowland and wet habitats. Topographical features vary from rolling hills in the east to level along the Cedar River to the west. The area is exceptionally rich in plant species diversity (491 species), including 15 species identified as rare or species of special concern. Four rare species of butterflies and skippers have been found here, as well as the state-threatened Blanding's and ornate box turtles.