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Joel Marsh Wildlife Area


Joel Marsh Wildlife Area is a 1,192-acre property located in Polk County. It consists of flowages, grassland and upland forest.

Find it 2 miles west of Turtle Lake off Highway 8. There is access to the property south off Highway 8 on 30th Street, where Highway V goes north. There is a boat landing at the end of an unimproved gravel road. On the southwest part of the property, on 115th Avenue, there is a gravel access road to a parking area and boat launch site.

Management Objectives

The project began in the early 1980s with the acquisition of 64-acre Joel Flowage and cranberry bogs on the northeast part of the property. The cranberry bogs were active in the 1930s but have since been abandoned. A 600-acre flowage was developed in 2000 by placing a dam and water control structure on the southwest part of the property. Ducks Unlimited provided the funding and engineering assistance to implement this project.

Joel Marsh provides a good opportunity for wildlife viewing in the spring as waterfowl migrate through the area. Wildlife viewing and waterfowl hunting are popular activities in the fall. The property is also used for hunting upland game, deer, black bear and wild turkey, as well as trapping. One of the first nesting pairs of trumpeter swans in the state nested on Joel Flowage in 1991 and continued to do so through 2005.

Today, periodic draw downs of the flowage are done to promote vegetation development for waterfowl habitat.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Joel Marsh Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

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