Mines of Spain
the past seven years this group has provided education and interpretive
programs for the public, assisted in keeping the E. B. Lyons Center open,
in trail construction, habitat improvement, developing displays and exhibits
and hosting the Fall Seminar and winter programs.
Buchholtz has spent
8 years restoring a 270-acre field from crops, weeds and volunteer trees
into prairie grasses and forbs. He also works with local schools and colleges
to assist in prairie grass seed harvest and allows the students to take
some seeds back to their schools to establish their own prairie.
Buchholtz works with
the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to exchange grass seeds needed
for the DOT’s Living Roadway Trust Fund for forbs needed at Mines
“Wayne has made
a marked difference in vegetation management at Mines of Spain, and hundreds
of students have learned from his effort,” Szcodronski said.
The 1380 acres which make up the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area
include a variety of interesting land forms, plant species and communities,
animals and water types. A large portion of the area is rugged, wooded
Mississippi River Bluffland. While much of the original timber along the
Mississippi River was logged off during the steamboat era (1865-1880),
portions of the Mines of Spain Area were left untouched, leaving us with
burr oak trees today that are over 250 years old.
Portions of the park have seen
diverse use over the years cattle grazing, row cropping, logging, and
mining and quarrying. Other portions remain much as they were when Julien
Dubuque arrived in 1785.
The Mines of Spain Area was
designated as one of Iowa's "Watchable Wildlife Areas," and
with good cause. Rare species, including the bobcat, red-shouldered hawk,
flying squirrel, and bald eagle have all been on the area. In addition,
the area is home to a large variety of songbirds, white-tailed deer, wild
turkey, and numerous small mammals. With wetlands, creeks, forests, prairies,
cropland, meadows, and the Mississippi River, the Mines of Spain offers
a wide variety of Iowa's natural world for those who take the time to
look and listen.
E.B. LYONS INTERPRETIVE CENTER
The newly expanded E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center serves as a visitor information center and
park office. Displays and exhibits provide information about the history and
features of the park. The Betty Hauptli Bird and Butterfly Garden, native prairies,
woodland flower gardens, hiking trails and historic Junkermann farm site are
just some of the many attractions at the Center. The E.B. Lyons Interpretive
Center is open year-round. During the summer season, special programs can be
scheduled with the park manager.
HORSESHOE BLUFF INTERPRETIVE AREA
The geological history of the Dubuque vicinity is laid bare in this area. A
thick layer of Ordovician dolomite rock has been exposed in the horseshoe-shaped
quarry. In addition, a 15-acre wetland with two floating trails gives access
to a wildlife observation blind. Interpretive signs provide interesting insights
into the geology, history and resources of the Mines of Spain Area.
There is a canoe
landing at the mouth of Catfish Creek near the Mississippi river.
Hiking and cross-country ski trails are available at the Mines of Spain.
Check with the park manager for cross-country ski routes, from the interpretive
center to the south end of the recreation area. Four miles of ski trails
and 12 miles of hiking trails are maintained. There are five individual
nature walks within the park, including those at the E.B. Lyons Interpretive
Center and another at the Horseshoe Bluff Site. Other trails provide a
wide range of opportunities for visitors to view Mines of Spain on old
winding logging roads, to view limestone bluffs, scenic overlooks, and
to enjoy a hike through forests and prairie. Some of the trails are steep
The Mines of Spain offers a fine setting for a family or company picnic.
Visitors can enjoy the outdoors, experience the E.B. Lyons Center, hike
the many trails and enjoy the natural vistas at the park. Picnicking facilities
are available at the Center, the Julien Dubuque
Monument, and the Horseshoe Bluff Area.
There is no camping in the Mines of Spain, park closes at 10:30pm.
The Mines of Spain is a wildlife management area that allows trapping
and archery hunting for all seasons. Limited shotgun hunting for deer
(regular gun season in early December) and spring turkey hunting (first
season in mid April) is allowed south of Catfish Creek. Call the park
manager for details.
The park offers a wide range of interpretive opportunities. Self-guided nature
trails, a wildlife blind and signs educate visitors that tour the park. A Junior
Naturalist program is available for families and kids to explore and learn about
the history and nature of the Mines of Spain. Information can be obtained at
the interpretive center and at Bellevue and Maquoketa Caves State Parks.
LOCATION AND HOURS
The 1380-acre recreation area is located along the southern edge of Dubuque.
The eastern boundary is formed by the Mississippi River. Access to the Mines
of Spain and E.B. Lyons is off Hwy. 52 South, which intersects with Hwy. 61/151
on the south side of Dubuque.
The park is open year-round,
with park hours of 4 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The EB Lyons Iterpretive center is open
year-round with limited hours. October-April(winter hours) Monday through Friday from 9-4, closed Winter weekends except for winter programs. During the summer season, April 15 through October 15, the center
is open seven days a week. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through
Friday and 12 to 4 on weekends. Please call for off-season hours.
Dogs are allowed, but need to be on a leash at all times that is no longer than 6 feet long.
of The Mines of Spain, Dubuque,
IA 52003-9214, 563-556-0620