The Fremont County Conservation Board began drafting a five year operation plan at their December 4 meeting.

Board president Sherry Gilbert had previously asked the other board members and some other interested parties for suggestions of things the board should plan to work on over the next five years. Gilbert was looking for short, medium and long-range goals as well as regular operational items to put together in a plan to present to the Fremont County Board of Supervisors when discussing budget needs for the year. In past years the supervisors had suggested they would like to see a plan of some kind from the conservation board.

Each of the conservation board members had emailed suggestions to Gilbert and the group spent the evening going through several of those emails, agreeing or disagreeing, and debating what time frame each item should fit in.

A tentative list of their first year goals or plans included:

1. Holding a junior golf clinic, possibly with a small tournament afterward. Gilbert said she would spearhead this project.

2. Working on the wildflower area, whether that means burning it off for the year, or re-seeding, or both. Board member Matt Dollison said he would take a look at the area to see what was needed.

3. Starting and maintaining a Facebook page for the board. Executive Director Doug Weber was against this idea, saying he felt the information on the county website and the “My County Parks” website was sufficient, and he had concerns about people posting negative things on Facebook. Gilbert said she would look into privacy settings and explore the idea further.

4. Promoting the campground with and in time for the Sidney Rodeo. Board members questioned whether it was already too late to get an ad in the Rodeo brochure for the 2020 year, and decided they would have to check.

5. Making the campground/archery range entry way more visible. Golf Course Superintendent Kris Henneman suggested trimming some trees back at the entryway would make the driveway more visible. Weber suggested purchasing banner flags to post at the entry again would also help, and said he was really happy with the ones they had previously that were destroyed by rogue winds.

6. Finishing the shower in the campground. Weber said this had to be a top priority for the next year. 

7. Replacing targets at the archery range.

8. Getting more gravel on the roads at Pinky’s Glen. Weber said this needed to be a high priority, too, and said he would check with some gravel sources soon if the board wanted him to.

9. Creating a golf course and maintenance equipment list and replacement timeline. Henneman said he is already working on this project.

The board suggested other items that should be in the plan but considered yearly or maintenance projects, including, continuing golf cart path work, working on drainage issues on holes 2 and 9 on the golf course and working on trails between the campground and archery range. Weber said the women’s golf association was doing such a good job with the golf cart path projects he didn’t want to interfere. It was suggested more trails in the woods alongside the archery range would be nice, and the board discussed the fact that the local Boy Scouts group had already offered to help with trail projects again.

Some other large projects the group wanted to consider for subsequent years included:

• a dump station at the campground

• more camping spots at the campground

• playground equipment at the campground,

• creating river rafting/canoeing access points on the Nishnabotna River, and

• work on the golf course bridge at hole 2.

Weber hoped FEMA funding might go through regarding the hole 2 bridge, and said he was working with a FEMA representative to finalize requests for reimbursement for repairs needed because of the March high water event.

Board members were interested in the possibility of promoting facilities through some kind of “stay and play” promotion. Weber cautioned they might not be able to run those types of promotions, and said he would have to check with the auditor regarding the possibility.

The conservation board will meet next at 5 p.m. on February 5.

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