Welcome To 

Check out Allamakee County Conservation's Website Here


Mission Statement:

It is the Conservation Board's responsibility to acquire, develop, maintain and make available, to the inhabitants of the county, public museums, parks, preserves, parkways, playgrounds, recreational centers, environmental educational opportunities, county forests, wildlife and other conservation areas, and to promote and preserve the health and general welfare of the people, and to encourage the orderly development and conservation of natural resources and to cultivate good citizenship by providing adequate programs of public recreation.


Future Meetings & Agenda


The Allamakee County Conservation Board will meet in regular session at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday June 4, 2024 in the Board Office located at 1944 Columbus Road Lansing, Iowa.



  1. Call to order, roll call, and approval of the minutes from the previous meeting
  2. Public Comment
  3. Board review of claims, revenues, and the 2023-2024 Fiscal Year Budget balance
  4. Review Allamakee Energy District Solar Audit on Driftless Center
  5. Discuss driveway easement on Knoll Street
  6. Discussion and consideration of approval of the revised Iowa DNR Management agreements excluding the Harpers Ferry house for the Harpers Ferry Boat Landing, Harpers Slough Fishing Access, Nobles Island Boat Landing, and Heytman's Landing 
  7. Any other informational items or old business
  8. Time and date of next meeting
  9. Adjournment




What Allamakee County Conservation Has Going On

Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center

Free Of Charge





Monday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Tuesday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Thursday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Saturday 12:00pm - 4:00pm

Sunday  12:00pm - 4:00pm



Robey Memorial Library "Afternoon with the Driftless"

3:30 ~ Lauerman Story Corner

Every fourth Tuesday of the month



Check out our online calendar at:




Contact Information

Allamakee County Conservation Board
1944 Columbus Road
Lansing, IA 52151

Main Line: 563-538-0400

NamePositionE-MailDirect Line
Ross GeerdesDirectoraccb.director@gmail.com 563-538-0402
Brody VanderkolkOperations Supervisoraccb.asstdirector@gmail.com 563-538-0403
Erin CubbonNaturalistaccb.naturalist@gmail.com 


Emma JacobsAssistant Naturalist/Office Manageraccb.offmanager@gmail.com 563-538-0401


For further information visit the Conservation website at :





Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center

Beyond The Plateau: The Campaign to build a Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center

Imagine tall prairie grasses waving gently in the wind, rippling across rolling hills and topping ridges of carved sandstone. The Yellow River carves a meandering path throughout the county, flowing through valleys and between rocky bluffs covered in oak and maple trees. These are the sights and sounds of the Driftless Area in Allamakee County.

Driftless Education Area and Visitor Center Campaign Video

Allamakee County Conservation Board Through the Years

Since its formation in 1989, the Allamakee County Conservation Board (ACCB) has worked to maintain public areas, provide access to recreational opportunities, develop wildlife habitats and educate visitors and community members about the environmental and conservation issues of the Driftless Area in Allamakee County. The Conservation Board oversees more than 158 acres, including
19 parks, river access and canoe landing areas. In 2007, the Allamakee County Conservation Board took on the responsibility of managing and developing an expanse of land along the Mississippi River. This property will be the site of the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center.


The Driftless Area encompasses 24,000 square miles, including portions of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Also called the Paleozoic Plateau, it is one of the few regions left untouched by the last glacial period.

When glaciers carved paths across the Upper Mississippi River Valley 12,500 years ago, their paths skirted Allamakee County and the greater Driftless Area. The existing topography was preserved, and the animal and plant species of the area were mostly protected from the loss of habitat other species experienced in the surrounding areas.

Building Beyond the Plateau

Embracing the history and natural beauty of the Driftless Area is the key to building beyond the plateau. The design of the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center celebrates the varied topography, wildlife and plant life by incorporating observation decks and patios on each level to ensure all visitors are treated to stunning views of the region. The facility will be more than a visitor center. It will include:

• Meeting rooms for public use
• Classrooms and group-learning areas
• Office spaces
• A nonprofit gift shop area
• A welcome desk to accommodate visitors

The new education center will become the  Allamakee County Conservation Board’s  headquarters, and it will provide jobs in the  community to staff and maintain the facility.

Taking Education Beyond the Classroom

The Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center will take education beyond the classroom and into the outdoors. Educational programs will provide opportunities for students to learn about conserving and protecting natural resources, and nearly two floors of interpretive and dimensional displays will show students the history of their county and the Driftless Area. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 youth from the surrounding area alone will visit the education center annually.
Encouraging learning beyond the plateau will include
displays about:

• River-town economies
• The natural history of the region
• American Indian cultures
• Archaeological history

Preserving Nature Beyond the Trail’s End

The Allamakee County Conservation Board maintains and preserves the land and wildlife of the Driftless Area in Allamakee County. Efforts to preserve nature beyond the trail’s end have already begun. So far, the Allamakee County Conservation Board has been able to create
a handicapped-accessible fishing access and stabilize the stream banks in the area.

Next, the project entails developing trails and sidewalks, as well as improving the infrastructure to allow visitors to reach the new center. Miles of trails and sidewalks will be built or improved to help visitors take in the natural beauty surrounding them at the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center.

Questions & Answers

How will the project be funded?

The Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center will be funded through a number of sources. The ACCB was awarded a National Scenic Byway Grant of $1.3 million, the largest amount awarded to date in Iowa by this program. Out of more than 1,800 applications submitted nationwide, only 80 were funded. Funding from the highly competitive National Scenic Byway Grant Program illustrates the quality of the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center project.
The ACCB met a challenge grant from the R. J. McElroy Trust in which they provided $300,000 if the ACCB raised $250,000 from area banks. This match was met, providing $550,000 to the project. The ACCB has also received notice from the Vision Iowa Board of their intent to award a Community Attraction & Tourism (CAT) grant of $486,386.

The ACCB has committed $200,000 of REAP funds toward the project. The stream bank stabilization work recently completed on the project site was funded by a Fish Habitat Grant. Funding totaling $37,000 has been awarded to the ACCB and the Allamakee County Conservation Foundation (ACCF) by the Allamakee County Community Foundation over a five-year period. Funding provided by the Allamakee County Community Foundation was instrumental in completing engineering, architectural and interpretive display plans that were instrumental in obtaining other grants for the project.

The ACCB has begun the private sector fundraising campaign and has retained the services of a professional fundraising consultant to assist in the fundraising efforts.

What are the annual operating expenses and who will pay for operational expenses?

The annual operational cost for the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center is projected to be $18,000. These fixed costs—including heat, water, phone, Internet, cleaning, inspections, building and grounds maintenance—will be paid through the ACCB operational budget initially. The ACCF may look at
cost sharing these expenditures as
its revenues increase.

Will the Allamakee County Conservation Board still have a presence in Harpers Ferry?

Yes, the current facilities of the Allamakee County Conservation Board in Harpers Ferry will remain the department’s center of maintenance and development. Some staff will report there on a daily basis. The Naturalist Program will use the facility to organize and store environmental education equipment and supplies.


Will tax dollars be used for the construction of this project?

It has been the goal of the ACCB to minimize the amount of local tax funding for the construction of the project. Depending on the grant funding source that the Conservation Board is applying for, local tax funds are required to show local commitment to the project. The ACCB will approach the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors for funding for this project, with the amount of funding requested dependent on the success of the private fundraising campaign.
The ACCB will use the value of the property for an in-kind match to obtain grants when necessary. The National Scenic Byway Grant already awarded requires payment of expenditures by the County before reimbursements can be submitted. The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors has provided the Conservation Board interim financing to pay for engineering, architectural and interpretive design work. Matching funds have been provided by the Allamakee County Community Foundation.

“ My hope is that the Tri-State area school districts will utilize the facility for an out-of-classroom learning experience to be educated on why we are the Driftless Region, why the Mississippi River is so important to our local economy and the history of our past.”         - Jane M. Regan, Campaign Co-chair

“ There aren’t many times in life you get an opportunity like this. You are going to be affecting the lives of kids 50 or 75 years from now.  I believe when you get a chance like this, you need to grab it and run with it and do the best you can.”         - John Verdon, Campaign Co-chair


Campaign Co-Chairs

  • Jane M. Regan, Waukon
  • John Verdon, Lansing

Honorary Campaign Chairs

  • Mark Farley, Cedar Falls
  • Dan Gable, Iowa City
  • Gary and Karen Galema, Lansing
  • Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg, Lansing

Projected Cost Estimate - $3.6 Million

Funding Secured

  • Grants - $2,147,786
  • Gifts and Pledges - $1,026,460
  • Miscellaneous Funding - $95,100

Amount Remaing

$330,000  (as of 6/1/2016)

How You Can Help

It will take the support and generosity of many families, friends and businesses to build the Driftless Area Education and Visitor Center.  When you’re ready to help the Allamakee County Conservation Board  go Beyond the Plateau, there are several ways you can give. Please choose the best way for you, and please give generously.

• Gifts will be accepted according to the Allamakee County Conservation Board’s gift acceptance policies
• Gifts may be made in cash or securities
• Gifts can include bequests, real estate, life insurance, grain and personal property
• Matching gifts through your employer or spouse’s employer can double or even triple your gift
• Pledges are encouraged and may be extended over a period of up to three years. A reminder will be mailed to you
• Your gift may be made in honor or in memory of someone. A letter recognizing your gift will be mailed to the person you are honoring or the family of the    person you are memorializing
• Your gift is tax deductible to the greatest extent of the law

In Recognition of Generous Contributions

All contributors to the Beyond the Plateau campaign will be recognized through a commemorative program at our grand opening. All gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized on a permanent, centralized recognition display.
Many areas of the new center may be named for an individual, business or organization as a result of a major gift. Recognition of these gifts will appear on a centralized recognition display. Naming opportunities are available for your review through the Allamakee County Conservation Board’s office or a campaign volunteer.
All gifts will be used in the areas of greatest need for the project.


Click Here To Print/Complete The Above Pledge From

The Allamakee County Conservation Board and the Allamakee County Conservation Foundation are dedicated in their mission to bring quality environmental education, outdoor recreational activities, and visitor information to area residents and visitors. We appreciate your support and if you have any further questions, please call the Conservation Office at 563-586-2996.