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Date(s) - 09/20/2020
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve and Center


Trip Leader: Olga Flores

Type of Mineral/Rock Collected: Well preserved brachiopods, gastropods, and corals are most abundant in the yellowish shale that overlie the blue-gray beds. The fossils occurring here are known as the Hackberry fauna.

Website: https://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Floyd/Park/Fossil-Prairie-Park-Preserve-and-Center.aspx

Trip Description: This is a fun fossil collecting site for kids and adults alike. The Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve and Center offers these features:

Collect your own Devonian fossils

Hike trails through native prairies and fossil quarry

Observe the historic beehive kilns used by the Rockford Brick & Tile Co.

Visitor Center contains compelling exhibits that intrepret the unique features of the Park

Canoe access to the Winnebago River

No Admission fee

Park is open from sunrise to sunset and the Fossil & Prairie Center building is open daily Memorial Day to Labor Day from 1 – 4 p.m.

Restrooms are available

The Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve contains mowed trails through the native prairie and wetland/pond areas.  Trails also run through the quarry and past the plant site of the Rockford Brick & Tile Company.

Interpretative Visitor Center

1880’s Log Cabin

Native prairie

Fossil quarry

Hiking trails

Wetland area

Where and When we will Meet:  

We will meet in Clear Lake, Iowa (I-35, exit 194) at the Pilot Travel Center at 10:00 AM. This location is approximately 2 hours 5 minutes and 136 miles from the Falcon Heights City Hall. It is about another 30 minutes to the Park. The group will wait for all to arrive until 10:15 AM. At 10:15 AM we will leave for the collecting location.

Approximate Travel Time and Distance:

From Falcon Heights City Hall to MMC meeting location: 2 hours, 5 minutes and 136 miles. Please plan to arrive on time out of respect for everyone else. Thanks.

Mine/Collecting Location: Fossil & Prairie Park Preserve and Center, Rockford, Iowa

Website: https://www.mycountyparks.com/County/Floyd/Park/Fossil-Prairie-Park-Preserve-and-Center.aspx

Difficulty of Collecting Site:

The parking area, Prairie Center building, picnic area and (most) hiking trails are all on level ground. The fossil beds are at the bottom of a ravine which is 50′ – 75′ below the hilltop. Getting to the fossil beds requires carefully walking down narrow and steep loose gravel trails. Difficulty rating: 6-7/10.

Vehicle Restrictions: No vehicle restrictions

Headcount or Vehicle Parking RestrictionsThere are no limits to the number of members who can sign-up for this trip.

Other Restrictions: The Park and fossil beds are kid-friendly areas and the Park does not provide any information about age restrictions. Also, there is no information about whether or not pets are allowed.

Collecting Fees: Collecting for personal use is free–there are no fees. Commercial collecting for resale is prohibited.

Rockhound Tools NeededThe fossils are mainly exposed or can be easily pried out of the ground with a rock pick, chisel or screwdriver. As always, bring your lunch, plenty of fluids, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, gloves, sturdy shoes, newspaper and 5 gallon buckets. Bring rubber boots and a change of clothes if the ground is wet or there is a good chance of rain. Hiking poles may be useful in providing stability getting up and down the trails leading to the fossil beds.

Safety Considerations:  
Use caution when going down and back up the trails to the fossil beds. Hiking poles may help provide stability. Hard hats are not required, but wearing them is always a good idea in areas near cliff walls. Proper footwear with good ankle support is a must when climbing around the rock piles. Always examine the area above you for loose rocks and boulders. Check for anyone working below you and be careful not to dislodge any loose rock. Warn people below by yelling “ROCK”, if anything starts going their way. The field trip leaders have final and absolute say as to where you may safely work.

Release Forms: All trip participants will need to fill out and turn in a MMC Liability Waiver form and a MMC Ethics Agreement form. Children 17 and under will also need a Release of Image form filled out and signed by their parent(s) or legal guardian.  Forms can be found at https://minnesotamineralclub.org/public-documents/

Registration will open on January 10th, 2020.

Registration will close on September 18th, 2020 at 9pm.

***When booking a trip, in the comments please list the names of everyone in your party, and whether they are an adult or child. Per MMC Field Trips Policy, field trips are for members only, including children. All children (17 and younger) MUST be accompanied on field trips by at least one parent or legal guardian. Thank you for your cooperation.***

For questions, please contact Jennifer at TourDirector@minnesotamineralclub.org


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