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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cherokee County Parks offer wintertime fun

Thursday, January 3, 2013

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 of 160 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 is $75 for single day use and $75 plus 5 percent tax for overnight use ($150 minimum on weekends). 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 that were completed on May of 2010 and 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.

Hunting is allowed in most Cherokee County Park areas from Sept. 15 through May 20. Hunting and trapping at Red Tail Ridge is permitted during all state and federal game seasons.

Closing the gates in the county parks prevents visitors from becoming stranded due to winter road conditions. The Conservation Board also intends this measure to reduce damage to park roads during freezing and thawing conditions and to promote fair-chase hunting practices, keeping the hunter on foot like his quarry.

Other park visitors, such as our birdwatchers, anglers, cross-country skiers, hikers, and horse riders, should educate themselves about the dates of various hunting and trapping seasons, to help avoid accidents and to avoid interference with legal hunting practices.

These dates are available on the Iowa DNR website, www.iowadnr.gov, or in book format where hunting licenses are sold. Non-hunters should make themselves highly visible with bright clothing while enjoying the outdoors during hunting seasons, and keep pets close. Horse trails at Martin's Access are closed to horses from Oct. 1 through May 31.

ATVs and snowmobiles are prohibited in state and county parks, unless they are part of a marked or designated trail.

For hunters who bag a deer far from the gate, the conservation staff recommends an ordinary plastic toboggan for transporting the animal to a vehicle. Even without snow on the ground, the plastic slides more easily than a deer hide over leaves and gravel.

Handicapped visitors, including hunters, needing assistance to gain access to these parks while the gates are closed should contact the Conservation Board staff at 712-225-6709 to make arrangements.

The Conservation Board recommends that all hunters participate in a Hunter Safety Course prior to going afield, especially on public land.

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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