Matsell Bridge Natural Area
At 1,912 acres, the Matsell Bridge Natural Area is the largest Linn County area. Diverse in terrain and habitat, Matsell Bridge is home to many species of native Iowa wildlife and plants. The area contains numerous "one-of-a-kind" facilities within the Linn County Park system: a shooting range, primitive year-round cabin, equestrian camping and unique historical features.
Matsell Bridge is named after George W. Matsell, a New York City chief of police from 1845-1857. When he arrived, Matsell fell in love with the land and eventually built a mansion near the present day equestrian campground. Matsell fashioned his home after George Washington's Mount Vernon home that overlooks the Potomac River. Additional buildings were added to the farmstead until there were a total of 11 buildings including livestock barns, grain storage, a gate-keeper's house and an ice house. Over time, the buildings fell into disrepair and were razed. Only the ice house and stone pillars of the entrance gate remain today – reminding us of the grand old history of Matsell Bridge.
All campsites include a picnic table and ground campfire ring. All campers must self-register and pay the required Camping Fee.
With an expansive equestrian campground and over 10 miles of equestrian trails, the historic Matsell Bridge Natural Area is a destination for equine enthusiasts. The campground features hitching posts and a lot of space - situated with direct access to the equestrian trails in the park.
Matsell Bridge Shooting Range
A permit is required to use the shooting range.