The Gilbertson Conservation Education Area is a three hundred and forty-five-acre park located along the banks of the Turkey River on the East Side of Elgin. This beautiful area is lined with streams and bottom lands surrounded by the palisade limestone bluffs for which Northeast Iowa is so famous. The late Millard Gilbertson of Elgin donated the original three hundred and twenty-seven area to the Fayette County Conservation Board in 1986.
This unique area offers something for everyone with a canoe access, paved 1/4 mile trail that is wheelchair accessible, a playground, and a shelter house. There are over 5 miles of trails for hikers, non-motorized bikes, horseback riders, and in the wintertime--cross-country skiing. Visitors can hunt, fish, or enjoy bird watching.
There is a petting zoo open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, Wednesdays - Sunday, 11 AM - 7 PM, or by appointment May 1 to Labor Day. There is also the Gilbertson Nature Center featuring interpretive and educational displays about Northeast Iowa, the Mavis and Conner Dummermuth Historical Building containing farm and home antiques and memorabilia, and the Hart Dummermuth Historical Home, depicting a farm home from 1890 - 1920.
These buildings are open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, Wednesday - Sunday, 11 AM - 7 PM or by appointment.