Hartman Reserve Nature Center, Cedar Falls

4.8
#7 of 10 in Things to do in Cedar Falls
Hartman Reserve Nature Center is a 308.9acre nature reserve located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The reserve is dedicated to teaching youth about nature through hands on experiences and preservation. It is the largest undisturbed wooded area in Black Hawk County, Iowa and is home to three distinct habitats including wetland, forest, and prairie.
Hartman Reserve was originally named Camp Hartman Reserve and was only 56acre in size. Hartman Reserve was named after John C. Hartman who was a local writer for the Waterloo Daily Courier. He was also nature enthusiast, which prompted him to create the reserve. The $4,000 for the reserve was raised by the Cedar Falls YMCA.
The reserve was purchased in 1938 with the intent of being a residential camping site and as site for the local members of the YMCA to use. Camp Hartman Reserve lasted until 1976 when the Black Hawk County Conservation Board purchased the other 252.9acre. Hartman was almost bought and turned into a highway. The cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo helped and encouraged the Black Hawk County Conservation Board to purchase the land. That was the official start of Hartman Reserve Nature Center. The two lakes that make up 25acre were added in 1990.
The reserve is currently being supported by the Friends of Hartman Reserve. The Friends include individuals, families, and organizations that believe preserving the environment for the next generation is vital. They donate roughly $20,000 every year to keep the center open. In 2005, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack signed the Articles of Dedication and created the Hartman Bluff State Preserve.
PlantsThe Hartman Reserve forest is a mature forest that has many different species of trees that are over 100 years old. There are over 138 different species of plants. Some of the trees would include White Oak, Red Oak, Bur Oak, Hackberry, Walnut, and Sugar Maple. The hackberry, walnut, and sugar maple thrive in the reserve due to the flood plain. Every spring the Cedar River floods into the reserve creating super saturated soils and marsh-like conditions. To control the growth of trees and other vegetation, Hartman Reserve practices controlled burning. They started burning selected parts of the forest in 1999.
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Hartman Reserve Nature Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
11 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I grew up a block from "Camp Hartman" which was a YMCA camp with cabins, lodge, and trails even a cold pool to swim in in the 1960's. Since I was close I was a "day" camper, packing a lunch and...  more »
  • This is a great place to hike through the woods. I love finding the wildflowers in spring! They have a lovely new visitor's center as well!  more »
Google
  • This nature reserve was really nice. We had a large group and the staff was great. We got to see and learn about some of the animals up close. Very clean. Went for a hike on one of the trails and we saw a deer. Highly recommend checking this place out if you have kids or need an inexpensive activity!
  • Wonderful new facility was opened in the last year. Great place to take the kids to explore nature.

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