If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Liberty Lake is an up and coming destination for Southwest Iowa! The Ringgold County Conservation Board and staff have been working hard to make improvements to the area and putting together a vision plan for future development, all while writing grants to keep this vision moving forward. It is with great excitement that we release the visual concept for the future of Liberty Lake.
The history of Liberty Lake is fascinating and has served the people of Ringgold County in multiple facets for the past 100 years! Ringgold County Conservation hopes to continue the legacy of the area by creating a more user friendly area with improved access and increased amenities.
In September 2018, the Conservation Board acquired Liberty Lake. This began a new frontier for the Conservation Board, as Liberty Lake is the largest body of water they own and manage. This relatively undeveloped area has been deemed a priority asset to establish cabins, kayak and canoe rentals, shower house & lodge. These amenities are not currently available to Ringgold County Conservation area users and will be an exciting addition.
Ringgold County Conservation began improving maintenance and upkeep immediately with incredible results. Brush along the entire shoreline was removed, opening the lake up for more recreational opportunities. A fish habitat stamp grant was received in January 2019 and will improve water quality, shoreline armoring and fish habitat. Increased signage, bridge repair and shelter house improvements have increased the positive use of the area. This area is relatively undeveloped with a small shelter house being the only current facility on the property. Liberty Lake has the potential to be a great outdoor recreational asset with multiple water recreational opportunities, unique boardwalk trail looping around the south end of the lake, RV camping, cabins and event lodge that will help self-sustain the area by utilizing user fees for future maintenance and upgrades.
“In under a year of ownership, Ringgold County Conservation is proud to see the positive changes and improvements happening at Liberty Lake,” said Kate Zimmerman the Ringgold County Conservation Executive Director. As we continue in our efforts to improve tourism, environmental education and outdoor recreation in Ringgold County through the Dragoon Trace Nature Center (2019 Iowa Tourism Outstanding Attraction winner), our many parks, wildlife areas, trails and more, we look to the future of what our great program can offer to visitors and local community members.”
This project will be completed in stages as part of a complete project known as the Liberty Lake Development Project. Below is an abbreviated list of the Liberty Lake Vision Plan. Each stage will rely heavily on grants and donations to be completed. Thank you for your continued support of our program and to the countless people and organizations that make all this possible.
Stage 1 – Name Change, Maintenance and Minor Improvements – COMPLETE
After the acquisition of the Mount Ayr Reservoir, Ringgold County Conservation moved forward with redefining the park by renaming the area “Liberty Lake”, voted on by the public. The name change has taken the Mount Ayr Reservoir’s negative nickname “old lake” term and provided the area with a new, brighter future. Other efforts completed include: increasing maintenance efforts by removing brush around the lake and mowed areas, removing over 100 tree stumps cluttering the mowed areas, removing old wooden docks that have become hazardous, placing signage throughout the area, road and bridge maintenance, shelter repairs, installing a grill for the shelter house, temporary restroom and more.
Stage 2 – Lake Improvements – IN PROGRESS
Due to the lake’s close proximity to Mount Ayr, it is one of the most frequented and largest public bodies of water in Ringgold County. Local, out of county and out of state visitors frequent this park for multiple recreational opportunities. The lake, a staple part of this park, would benefit from improvements to guarantee the success of the area development.
The improvements to the lake would increase angler access, armor the shoreline to prevent erosion and improve fish habitat with rip-rap placed beneath the shoreline. This placed rock will also encourage improved fish habitat, improve water quality and will improve angler success. Rock mounds placed along the north, east and west side of the lake will also provide additional fish habitat that will benefit the angler. Placing pea gravel in shallow sections of the southeast and west side of the lake will provide spawning substrate for desirable fish such as blue gill and crappie and provide additional angling opportunities. These enhancements will take this development project to the next level and provide long term recreation, fish habitat, shore stability and water quality for this popular body of water. Along with lake improvements, new docks will be installed on the east and west sides of the lake that will include at least one kayak launcher.
Stage 3 – Primitive Cabins, RV Camping Sites, Restroom/Shower House – IN PROGRESS
As Stage 3 comes to fruition, the implementation of primitive cabins, a shower house and electric camping sites will be the main focus. Our primitive cabins will boast electricity only amenities, while the shower house will provide restrooms and showers for the RV campers and primitive cabin users.
Along with cabin rentals, visitors will have access to kayaks and canoes that will be housed in a storage area off the side of the shower house. Other minor improvements during this stage will include bridge repairs and upgrades to allow for RV crossing.
Stage 4 – Full Service Cabins
Ringgold County Conservation is delighted to add full service cabins to the impressive line-up of developments at Liberty Lake. This plan entails three full service cabins in a beautifully landscaped area with a full view of the lake. Each cabin area will boast its own parking, fire ring, grill and green space for play. Visitors will experience an outdoor adventure with all the modern conveniences of home without feeling restricted or cramped by neighboring travelers.
Stage 4 also includes one larger vacation rental cabin that can be utilized for a multi-family vacation or group of friends. This cabin will be set to the south of the property amidst a woodland grove that will provide a more secluded venture while also having access to the lake.
Stage 5 – Event Lodge and Landscaping
The final stage of development for the Liberty Lake project is an event lodge for the community. This is a much needed venue for Ringgold County and will also provide a great revenue source for the Ringgold County Conservation Board as a way to become more self-sufficient.
The building would be similar to the Dragoon Trace Nature Center, as a Sand Creek Post and Beam building, but custom to the needs of an event center with a 300 person capacity. This center would have two levels to host multiple events or one large event. The event lodge would also have custom landscaping specific for wedding celebrations. Other landscaping ventures include: native prairie seeding and boardwalk crossing for the south end of Liberty Lake.