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Harrison County Conservation Board seeks historic photos of Willow Lake area for special project, “Before the Willow”

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Willow Lake view from the new Willow Lake Center.

Willow Lake view from the new Willow Lake Center. Submitted photo

The Harrison County Conservation Board (HCCB) has launched a special project called “Before the Willow.”

As part of the construction of the new Willow Lake Nature Center near Woodbine, a deck will overlook the lake and F(20)L, also known as Easton Trail.

Interpretive panels will be installed on the deck to tell the story of the lake or what locals affectionately call “The Willow.”

Using maps and historical photos, HCCB wants to tell the story of what the area looked like before, during construction and after.

The straightening of the road back in 1970 created an earthen dam that made the lake to fill in with water flowing from Willow Creek.

Willow Lake is a 26-acre impoundment that has approximately 497 acres in its watershed. HCCB purchased 95 acres of land in 1976 to create a park.

The conservation board’s headquarters office/shop was relocated from Schaben Park to the Willow Lake Recreation Area in 1979.

HCCB has a limited number of photos from the time when the lake and park were built and is looking for the public’s help in finding more.

A number of area organizations, departments and individuals have been contacted to produce several historical maps, but the search continues for photos.

Anyone who has photos of the area around Willow Lake in the years before and after 1970, who would like to share them for this project, is asked to contact Naturalist Connie Betts at 712-647-2785 ext. 22 or email


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