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Friday, May 6, 2016

Cherokee County Parks offer wintertime peace and quiet

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Martin's Access Cabins are currently available for rent. The modern cabins are just a few of the many recreational things that Cherokee County has to offer during the winter season. Photo by Mike Leckband
For people who are looking to get away but don't want to go too far, the Cherokee County Conservation Board has a deal for you.

Cherokee County has over 1,000 acres of land the have been devoted to parks. One of the most popular is Silver Sioux Recreation Area.

Silver Sioux is comprised of160 acres of hills and forest that lies next to the Little Sioux River south of Cherokee.

The Silver Sioux Lodge, built in 1975, was originally a rustic warming shelter for winter visitors to the old tubing hill. In 2008, the completion of a renovation brought replacement of windows and doors, insulation and refinishing of the building's interior.

Now the lodge hosts eight bunk beds, a kitchen and a bathroom with a shower facility inside. In the center of the lodge is a large fire pit and the lodge also comes with a spectacular view of the Little Sioux River.

Lodging is quite comfortable for overnight and multiple-night use by large or small groups. An outdoor patio with a fire ring, new 3'x3' charcoal grill, and permanent landscaping provide the perfect setting for a comfortable "camp-out."

Renters must provide their own bedding and towels. The entire building is air conditioned, and the fireplace and overhead heaters warm it in cooler weather. Firewood and snow removal are provided.

The cost to rent the lodge for a day is $75. It's the perfect get-away for families, newlyweds, couples celebrating their anniversary, or any social groups.

Also, you can rent cabins at Martin's Access. Last summer three finished cabins were completed. The cabins are located at 4594 Martin's Access Road, on the north end of the 80-acre, 2008 addition to the park east of Larrabee.

Each cabin, available for year-round use, is heated and air conditioned and includes two comfortable queen-size bunks, a restroom with a shower, and a kitchen area with a sink, microwave, small refrigerator, and coffee maker.

Outside features include a patio, picnic table, grill and fire ring. The cabins rent for $120 for the weekend, or $60 per night, Thursday through Saturday, or $45 per night, Sunday through Thursday. While the three cabins are in close proximity, each is designed with privacy in mind for a quiet stay at the edge of the park's oak timber.

The cabins were designed and constructed by the Cherokee CCB staff, with locally purchased materials and services. Total expense for the entire project was $125,800. This included the installation of water and electric utilities and a septic system, plus all materials, services and labor.

Most of the funds for the project came from the county's Rural Betterment Fund, state Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) dollars, and private donations. Material and labor expenses utilizing county tax dollars amounted to $29,751.

According to Ginger Walker, Cherokee CCB Director, 20 local businesses supplied materials and talent toward the completion of the cabins, as well as Marcus-based volunteers from the Thrivent Lutheran organization.

"The cabins truly contain the quality of character that makes Cherokee County a great place to live and visit," states Walker. Walker also notes that upcoming improvements to the cabin area will include native prairie plantings, landscaping with trees and shrubs, an informational kiosk, and the addition of modern campsites nearby.

Reservations at the Martin's Access Cabins may be made by calling the CCCB at 712-225-6709. Reservations are taken in person or by mail, with payment by check or cash. A $100 refundable deposit is required with every reservation.

Additional information is available on-line at www.cherokeecountyparks.com. On-line reservations are not accepted. The cabins may be reserved up to 12 months in advance.

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Do those cabins really reflect the character of Cherokee County? In that case it's really pretty dull and boring. These cabins, while an excellent idea, was a missed opportunity to contribute to the beautiful surroundings they were placed in. Instead of the lowest denominator in execution, the county would have been better served to hold a competition at ISU or amongst design professionals to create designs that are ecologically responsive and in keeping with the rich architectural history of the county.

Kelly J. Ludwig

Richmond, Virginia

WHS class of 79

-- Posted by ludwig100 on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 12:25 PM

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