DubuqeueLand Pheasants Forever

Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area

In 1995, DubuqueLand Pheasants Forever worked with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to purchase 160 acres from Dave Engler. The land was purchased for $160,000 and became known as Ringneck Ridge.

To insure long-term maintenance and development, the Dubuque County Conservation Board purchased the property (from INHF) in 2005 with the help of an Iowa Habitat Stamp Grant.

From Dubuque County Conservation Web site: Located 2.25 miles south of Worthington on the west side of Highway 136, Ringneck Ridge is a Dubuque County Conservation Board wildlife area open to PUBLIC HUNTING during state designated hunting seasons. In addition to hunting, the 160 acre area is also open to hikers and bird watchers. Some rare bird species call this area their home. The area was originally acquired by Dubuqueland Pheasants Forever through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. To insure long-term maintenance and development, the Dubuque County Conservation Board was able to purchase the property in 2005 with the help of an Iowa Habitat Stamp Grant. Much of the work to restore the area's prairies and trees was completed by the Pheasants Forever chapter. In 2009, a project will be initiated to restore the pond at the back of the property to improve its use by waterfowl and provide fishing access. Only foot traffic is allowed on the property. Motorized vehicles may only by taken down the lane to the parking area.

From the Thursday, April 6, 1995 Cascade Pioneer-Advertiser:

New public area at Worthington

Pheasants Forever buys farmland

Ringneck Ridge is Dubuque County's newest public recreation area.

Located two miles south of Worthington, off Iowa 136,the 160-acre site was purchased from Dave and Geraldine Engler by DubuqueLand Pheasants Forever and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation of Des Moines.

Twin Rivers Pheasants Forever of Cascade donated money toward the project. Joe Srang said his organization was asked for financial help by the Dubuque group and made a $5,000 contribution to the Ringneck Ridge land.

Jerry Eiben, from the Dubuque group, said the land is located about 500 yards from the highway on a gravel road. The tract will be developed over the next five years, turning the area into a pheasant habitat.

Ringneck Ridge now has a two-acre pond, rolling hills and 47 acres of prairie grass. Eiben said his group intends to plant 40 acres of switchgrass, two food plots and at least 4,000 trees as a windbreak and travelbelt for pheasants. The land now supports quail, turkey, Hungarian partridge, as well as songbirds, deer and rabbits.

"It will be open to free public hunting," Eiben said, adding that there is a need for public hunting lands in the county. Ringneck Ridge will be used only as a wildife habitat for hunting rather than a nature preserve. There are other lands availble for this, he said.

The Ringneck Ridge area is a tribute to a former president of the Dubuque organization and a well-known sportsman and conservationist, Ron Weiner, who died in 1992.

The Dubuque County Conservation Board, which may take over the property someday, is an advisor on management plans and a biologist from the Iowa department of Natural Resources is laying out the site's planting plan.

He said Pheasants Forever was able financially to purchase the property for $160,000, but its bylaws do not allow land ownership, so the land was purchased through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. "Without the foundation, we wouldn't be able to do this," he said.

Pheasants Forever plans to build a parking lot in the area for visitors.

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