116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Nature lovers in Linn County have a number of places to go.
One of those places is Buffalo Creek Park, just west of Coggon on County Road D26, The park is 128 acres and serves as an escape for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
'It's a nice, quiet, somewhat hidden park,' said Aaron Batchelder, park ranger for the Wapsipinicon District of Linn County Conservation. 'It's not overly developed and we get a lot of comments from campers about how quiet it is. There is not a lot of vehicle traffic up here.'
Camping, Batchelder said, is definitely a big draw for the park. The Walnut Grove Campground includes 13 campsites with water and electrical hook ups. There also is an open air shelter that is available for reservations, a fire ring and a playground.
People have been enjoying Buffalo Creek Park for decades — it was the first park developed by Linn County Conservation. By 1962, it was open for residents and visitors to Linn County to partake in camping, picnicking, fishing, hiking, nature study and more.
The park draws its name from Buffalo Creek, which flows through the park and on into Coggon before eventually emptying into the Wapsipinicon River. There also is a trail leading through the park and its oak and hickory savanna, wetland areas — which Batchelder said is a pretty good spot for seeing water fowl in the spring — and prairie restored by the conservation department team.
'We also have a lot of geocaches hidden in the park so that is a lot of fun for people looking for that kind of adventure,' Batchelder said.
Because of the creek and the quiet surroundings, Batchelder added, the park also is a great spot to observe flora and fauna. Visitors can expect to see wild turkey, deer, nesting Canada geese, beavers and foxes.
A unique feature of Buffalo Creek Park is its amazing array of Virginia blue belles that pop up in late April or early May. Its one of the largest natural collections in the region.
'The whole forest floor is purple with flowers,' Batchelder said.
Batchelder said he is particularly excited for the park's future as Linn County Conservation pursues a dam mitigation process. 'Buffalo Creek is actually on Iowa's impaired waterways list as the current dam doesn't allow for fish or mussel passage,' he said. 'By removing part of the dam we will allow those catfish and mussels to pass through and also have access for kayakers and paddlers to get downstream through Coggon which we've had requests for.'
A group of local residents, organized as the Coggon Area Betterment Association, also is working to raise funds to connect the trails in Coggon to the trails within Buffalo Creek. 'It's great to see them promoting the trail connection,' Batchelder said. 'This is a neat scenic area which features nice recreation opportunities.'
While roads are closed to vehicles from October through April 15, Buffalo Creek Park is open year-round.