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Travis Scott began his duties as the new Conservation Director for Ringgold County a little over a week ago. Scott is no stranger to southern Iowa, as he began his 12-year conservation career in Decatur County. During his first 5 years, Scott helped manage 2 small campgrounds and a few other small areas in Decatur County while also serving as a member of the fire department. In addition to basic fire certifications, Scott went on to receive law enforcement academy training in 2011.
After serving Black Hawk County Conservation for roughly six years, he was then hired as the Conservation Director for O’Brien County in July of 2021.
During his time in O’Brien County, Scott noted that it was typical to see 100-250 people a day at one of the four county parks he oversaw. While there is much less daily use of the nine parks that the Ringgold County Conservation Board manages, Scott says “The Nature Center is a huge addition to the county and the parks have a lot to offer.”
Aside from educational programming, Scott looks forward to getting the new cabins installed at Liberty Lake up and running prior to the end of the summer. While they are empty shells currently, Scott has already ordered cabinets and blinds and is working on finding beds and tables to furnish the cabins.
Everything is wired for electricity, but Scott is also working to ensure power is run to the cabins. The shower house at Liberty Lake is ready to open with the exception of water being turned on.
As he is evaluating the parks to identify needed improvements, Scott is already addressing the curly leaf pond vegetation that is currently overgrowing at Liberty Lake. He has talked with the DNR fishery staff about spraying the boat docks and other commonly used areas to treat the vegetation overgrowth. Scott states that “healthy waters are supposed to have vegetation,” but it needs to be balanced. “The theory used to be to put in grass carp so they would eat the vegetation,” Scott explained. “Over time we’ve learned that grass carp are only 90% sterile, so they can reproduce too much and eat all the vegetation.”
After getting the camping cabins ready for use, Scott plans to level the camp pads, widen them out, and ensure the parks are prepared for seasonal camping.
Scott is also enjoying camping at the county conservation parks he is now managing.
The first week Scott camped at Poe Hollow Park, and then moved his camper to Fifes Grove park the second week. He spends his evenings walking his two dogs and hiking the parks. “It’s a good way for me to see the management that needs to be done,” remarks Scott, and is helping him make the most of his day-time hours. Much of his first week was spent trimming trees, filling pot holes, and taking care of park maintenance tasks.
The Dragoon Trace Nature Center is open for the summer Wednesday – Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and Saturday – Sunday between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A free “Fun Friday” program for kids age 8 and under is being offered each week. Join AmeriCorps Summer Naturalist, Alaina Whittington, for story time, and a craft along with the book, from 10:00-10:30 a.m. Upcoming programs include:
June 23rd – Insects
June 30th – Rocks
July 7th – Salamander
July 21st – Seeds
No registration is required, unless you are bringing a group of 5 or more children. Participants should meet at the Dragoon Trace Nature Center. You can reach Ringgold County Conservation Director, Travis Scott, by calling the conservation office at (641) 464-2787.