Luckenbill Woods is a 76 acre area of forest, prairie, and wetland located approximately five miles east of Mediapolis. More than a mile of hiking trails weave through the park's southern end, crossing
Dolbee Creek. They are an excellent place to view wildlife. The park is managed as a wildlife refuge and natural resource area.
Download the Luckenbill Woods Trail Map (PDF).
In 1999, the National Guard constructed a pond on the property's north end that today offers excellent bluegill, bass, and channel cat fishing.
In 2009, the property's north prairie became the site of Operation: Save the Quail, a cooperative bobwhite quail habitat restoration project between Julie Schnedler's 6th grade science class from Mediapolis and Des Moines County Conservation.
The project won the Disney Planet Challenge's Grand Prize and was featured on Good Morning America and the Disney Channel. The entire class went to Disneyland where they were guests of honor for three days. Since then, Luckenbill Woods has become a regular site for numerous other class projects.
Go east out of Mediapolis on Mediapolis Road Turn north on 73rd Avenue and then turn left (west) at the T-intersection. The road will turn back to the north and become Hawkeye Road The property will be on the right.
8295 Hawkeye Road
Mediapolis, IA 52637
In 1970, the original area was acquired as a gift from M. Virginia Sharar, heir to Benjamin Luckenbill, the original homesteader in Huron Township in 1853. The area was deeded to the DMCCB with the stipulation that the land be returned to its original state before homesteading.
A study was conducted listing all species of vegetation native to the area. Another study recorded the species presently existing in Luckenbill Woods. The main objective was to reestablish the areas a native timber. Tree and shrub plantings began in May 1971. Planting was completed in the spring of 1972. Very little unnatural development is planned for the area.
M. Virginia Sharar donated an additional 5.148 acres to DMCCB in August, 1979 to the original 32 acres at Luckenbill Woods. This area was developed into an arboretum. The purpose of this area is to be able to compare the arboretum with the adjacent re-established native timber and prairie.
An additional 20 acres was deeded by M. Virginia Sharar in April, 1985. This 20-acre area was restored to native grasses.
In April, 1986, M. Virginia Sharar deeded an additional 19 acres to DMCCB. A survey was conducted by Smith and Associates of the entire area. It was the desire of Mrs. Sharar for the DMCCB to own and maintain all of her previous property except for the 3.71 acres around her residence. This brought the total acres deeded to DMCCB to 76.2 acres.
In January, 1992, the DMCCB approved the "Luckenbill Woods Restoration Plan" for the area. The restoration plan included habitat improvement, improvement to the trails, and updating the nature trail and school curriculum.