Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area, Iowa

In northeast Iowa, the Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, hunting, fishing, and now diving. In 2006 the owner of the site, which includes an old quarry now filled with water, donated it to the Black Hawk County Conservation Commission. The area is now the Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area. It wasn't long before local divers formed the Turkey Ridge Dive Site Management Team (TRDSMT) to work with those maintaining the area to create and manage the dive site. Permission to scuba dive at Turkey Ridge was granted in May 2010.
A staging area, the "Eclipso," includes benches and tank stations. Divers can giant-stride in, and an underwater platform is in place at 17 feet (5 m) of depth. Among short-range plans for the site are underwater navigation courses and freshwater rinse facilities. Long-range goals include a picnic area, restrooms, showers, a shelter, changing facilities and an automated gate. Night diving and winter diving are available with permission. Swimming and alcohol are not allowed. A c-card is required.
A gate lock blocks entrance to the site. Divers must call (319) 268-4201, provide proof of a c-card, sign an annual liability release, register their vehicles and get the gate code, which changes weekly. Divers must lock the gate after passing through it. Continued use of the site depends on the gate remaining closed and locked. After passing through the gate, divers may drive the 7/10 of a mile to the water's edge to unload their gear but vehicles must be moved away from the water and parked in a designated area. Parking signs are posted.
Depths to: 35 feet (10.6 m).
Visibility: 5-20 feet (3.5-6 m).
Water temperatures: 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit (10-27 degrees Celsius) during the diving season.
Aquatic life: Freshwater fish like bluegill,
crappie and catfish.
Fees: None.
On-site amenities: Staging area, underwater platforms, trash cans and parking. Restrooms are not available.
More info: Visit http://site.turkeyridgedivesite.com or call (319) 268-4201 or (319) 230-4662.
Open: For diving, sunrise to sunset April through November.
Getting there: From the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area, drive north on U.S. Highway 218 to the West Cedar Wapsi Road exit. Drive west for about 3 miles (4.8 km) to Union Road. Turn north onto Union Road and drive for 1 mile (1.6 km) to the park entrance.