Clayton County Conservation Board rendering of new campground.

A campground is returning to Osborne Park south of Elkader after the state Destination Iowa program provided a $345,000 grant for the project. Osborne used to have a campground along the floodplain, but it was removed about two decades ago.

Clayton County Conservation Board Director, Jenna Pollock, says they are excited about bringing a campground back.
“We’ll be developing 20 electric and water campsites, and some additional tent camping or more primitive sites within the park,” she says. Pollock says they got a shocking amount of comments from the public about bringing back the campground when they worked on their future plan in 2018.

The state grant will cover 40% percent of the project’s total cost. “When we got the news, we were pretty ecstatic. Osborne Welcome Center has always been you know, a welcome center of Iowa that kind of helped put us on the map and build the nature center in the late 80s,” she says.

She says the campground will fit well with the Osborne Welcome Center. “So we’ve always felt that it’s a prominent place in the driftless area that welcomes folks to Iowa. And this is just kind of a next level for us is to be able to offer additional services to guests and travelers coming to the Welcome Center. They can stay overnight, you know, split up their trip, get to know Clayton County and the surrounding communities a little bit better,” Osborne says.

The opening of the new Osborne Park campground is tentatively set for the 2025 camping season, but that could get moved up to next year depending on how work progresses.

(By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester)

Radio Iowa