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Prairie Heritage Center

 
Biking Biking at Prairie Heritage Center
There are trails throughout the Waterman Area that surrounds the Prairie Heritage Center.
Boating Boating at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center offers a a canoe/kayak ramp to Little Sioux River via a boat ramp located between the Waterman Area and the Prairie Heritage Center on the Dead End Road of Yellow Avenue.  You can also access a canoe/kayak ramp through the Burned Bridge Access, located across the Little Sioux River from the Prairie Heritage Center.
Canoeing & Kayaking Canoeing & Kayaking at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center offers a a canoe/kayak ramp to Little Sioux River via a boat ramp located between the Waterman Area and the Prairie Heritage Center on the Dead End Road of Yellow Avenue.  You can also access a canoe/kayak ramp through the Burned Bridge Access, located across the Little Sioux River from the Prairie Heritage Center.
Education Education at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center provides classrooms, exhibit areas, demonstration plots and interpretive trails to aid in increasing the public's understanding of the prairie ecosystem and history of the area.  Regular, year-round environmental education programs for school groups, 4-H groups, scout groups and the general public are presented at the center by staff naturalists and guest speakers.  Rooms for public meetings are available at the center.  The center also serves to collect and disseminate information relating the environmental issues in the region.
Facility Rentals Facility Rentals at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center offers a Conference Room that provides a place for you to host a group of people for a meeting, a gathering, or a class.  The Prairie Heritage Center is located in the Southeast corner of O’Brien County, near the corners of Buena Vista, Cherokee, and Clay counties and along the beautiful Glacial Trail Scenic Byway.  A central location to suit everyone’s needs    

The Conference Room Includes The Following:
Refrigerator
Stove
Banquet Tables
Chairs
Projector & Screen
And so much more!

Don’t forget about the opportunities that all of the area around the Prairie Heritage Center has to offer!

The room is available during the O’Brien County Conservation Board’s Office Hours and during the Prairie Heritage Center’s visiting hours.  We ask that a $50 security deposit accompany your reservation agreement, this could include a presentation by one of our Naturalist, providing the scheduling works out, and we are fortunate that in the past most of the reservations have donated the security deposit to the Prairie Heritage Center so that we are able to continue the great educational opportunities that the Prairie Heritage Center offers!

Interested or still have questions?  Contact the O’Brien County Conservation Board at (712) 295-7200.
Fishing Fishing at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center offers a access to the Little Sioux River via the shoreline, the boat ramp located between the Waterman Area and the Prairie Heritage Center on the Dead End Road of Yellow Avenue, and you can also access the Little Sioux River through the Burned Bridge Access, located across the Little Sioux River from the Prairie Heritage Center.
Historic Visits Historic Visits at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center is located on a bluff that is adjacent to the Hannibal Waterman Prairie Preserve.  The building looks out over the historic hills and valleys of the area as well as the Little Sioux River Valley.

The Waterman area offers some of the most breath-taking views of nature in the area. Formed during the last ice age by the movement of glaciers, the geographic valley we are nestled near a geographical wonder known as a hanging valley. These glaciers carved the beautiful bluffs, valleys, rivers and lakes we see today. They also deposited some of the richest soil, known as till, in the world.In addition to the landscape, the Waterman Area offers a wide variety of flora and fauna, indigenous to the area for thousands of years. Much of the native prairie grasses, wildflowers and tree growth look the same today as they would have when the first native peoples inhabited this land. There are even plots of land in the vicinity that remain virgin prairie, untilled by human hands or machinery.

In the mid-1940's Dr. Ada Hayden of Iowa State University conducted a statewide inventory of prairie remnants. Her #1 site for preservation is the Waterman area. It should be noted that according to a report for the Nature Conservancy, this site is one of the few locations for the Prairie Bush Clover, a rare species listed with the federal government. The Conservancy has also identified this area as "as site of regional significance in our Northern Tallgrass Ecoregional Plan".

The area is so noteworthy in beauty, it is now part of the State of Iowa's Scenic By-Way program.

Just a few things you may learn about while visiting the Prairie Heritage Center:
- Inkpaduta and his fearsome band of followers used the waterways of the Waterman Area for transportation.  In 1857 they stopped at the Waterman cabin and the Kirchner cabin near Peterson, terrorizing and stealing from the settlers before continuing on to Okoboji where the famous massacre took place.  This was the last Indian uprising in the area. Inkpaduta's canoe trail can be visited and canoed today.
- In July of 1933 the Barrow gang, a roving band of bank robbing outlaws hid out in the Waterman Area after robbing an Everly bank.  Their leaders, the infamous Bonnie & Clyde Barrow spoke with a local resident, ate pheasant and hid from their pursuers.

There's so much more to learn about at the Prairie Heritage Center!


Trails & Hiking Trails & Hiking at Prairie Heritage Center
There are many trails carved out in and around the Prairie Heritage Center.  You may find a pond to fish in, an old cemetery to explore, or maybe you're out on a wildflower hunt?  The complex has so much to offer everyone!
Winter Activities Winter Activities at Prairie Heritage Center
The Prairie Heritage Center offers a great opportunities for ice fishing, snow shoeing, and any other winter activities you may enjoy!
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