Woodland Mounds Preserve
19587 Kirkwood Street
Ackworth, IA 50125
Click the area map or the aerial photo for larger versions. Portions of Woodland Mounds are open to hunting in accordance with the laws of Iowa. The aerial photo of Woodland mounds has the hunting and refuge areas outlined.
There is a special sense of timelessness in the timber at Woodland Mounds Preserve. The unique qualities of this beautiful wooded ridge above South River have been recognized by inhabitants of this county for thousands of years.
Long before European settlers came to this area, Native Americans lived along the rivers of Warren County. They were part of a culture of people who dwelled in villages located along most of the major water courses in Iowa and the Eastern half of North America. These people did not leave a written record to tell us what they called themselves, but they did leave a variety of their cultural objects such as stone tools, pottery and earthen mounds. Local collectors and archeologists are able to study these artifacts and piece together the story of how these early people lived. Through similarities in their tools and traits, archeologists can group Native Americans into various types of cultures and traditions. The Woodland Indian Culture is the name given to those people lived in the eastern half of the United States approximately 3,000 to 1,000 years ago. From the evidence collected at the village site near Woodland Mounds, we know that Native Americans lived in the area throughout that time period. They hunted the abundant wildlife and collected roots, berries, seeds and nuts of the surrounding woods and prairie. It is also believed that they developed and early form of crop cultivation that allowed them to live in the same area for longer periods of time. They fashioned many types of tools from stone found locally or sometimes traded in from distant places. Scrapers to dress hides, knives, spears, arrow points, axes, pottery and ornamental pieces have been found in the area. All evidence points to the fact that these people were able to live successfully in this area for thousands of years.
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Woodland Culture was the construction large earthen mounds, usually found on the highest point of the ridge above the village site. The mounds are believed to have served either as burial sites for important tribal leaders or as some part of the religious ceremonies of the villagers. A series of conical mounds are located along the ridge at Woodland Mounds Preserve. A series of linear excavations of undetermined origin is also located here. The area was a sacred place to the Woodland people and continues to provide a link to those who were here so long before us. When visiting this area and exploring the mounds, be mindful of their spiritual nature and that they are protected by law. For more information on Native American mounds, their significance, importance and care, visit the web site of Iowa's Office of the State Archaeologist's Burials Program.
Enjoy the miles of trails at Woodland Mounds (above) and the flowers like the sweet William (below), but mind the poison ivy.
In the late 1800s, this site attracted European settlers as well. An area on one of the sidehills was dug out by local farmers to unearth pieces of limestone that were used for house and barn foundations. The abundant timber provided wood for heating and construction material for buildings and fences.
Woodland Mounds Preserve contains 185 acres of timber that provides habitat for many types of woodland wildlife. If is part of one of the largest continuous stands of timber remaining in the county. The area was purchased in by the Warren County Conservation Board in 1981 with assistance from a grant from the Wildlife Habitat Stamp Fund, a pool of money available to on a competitive basis to county conservation boards funded through the of Wildlife Habitat Fee, a fee required with the purchase of an Iowa hunting license. Warren County has been fortunate to use this very competitive grant program to purchase four tracts of land. An additional 140 acres have been leased, bringing the total acreage open to the public on this area to 325.
The area is used for school field trips in the spring and early fall, has an extensive trail system and is open to hunting within the rules and regulations set forth by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
For more information on Native American culture, visit the Office of the State Archeologist.