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The Conservation Department purchased this 160-acre tract of land in 1982. It contains quality examples of lowland swamp and bottomland forest in Missouri. A 76-acre portion of the area is designated as a Missouri Natural Area and is managed and protected for its educational and scientific values. The area's bottomland forests support bald cypress, swamp tupelo, water locust, sweetgum, willow oak, overcup oak, water hickory, swamp chestnut oak, water elm, swamp privet, and many other species. A seven-acre natural lake, near the center of the area, is ringed with cypress-tupelo swamp. Some of the bald cypress trees are more than 500 years old. The lake contains swamp species, including the endangered taillight shiner and swamp darter. A boardwalk and platform have been constructed on the western side of the lake for nature viewing and photography. Tree seedlings and acorns have been planted in most open fields to help restore the diverse forest communities the land once supported. Over time, these areas will add to our dwindling supply of lowland bottomland forests.
Hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, dog training, launching and landing boats are allowed 24 hours a day on areas where these activities are permitted.
Allred Lake Natural Area is five miles east of Neelyville on Route 142 and 2.5 miles south on Route H to a southbound gravel road.
Amidon Memorial Conservation Area is a 1,630-acre area located on the upper reaches of the Castor River. The forest's timber species range from mixed hardwoods to shortleaf pine to cedar glades. A granite shut-ins on the Castor River adds an interesting geologic feature. The Driscoll Tract contains two old grist mill sites that date to the mid 1800s, lending a historical flavor to the area. The area is located south of Route J, eight miles east of Fredericktown. County Road 208 fords the Castor River.
This rugged forest and old fields area has a hiking trail and 25 miles of field roads open to horseback riders. It also offers access to the Jacks Fork and Current rivers. The 39,325-acre area is north of Eminence and extends 15 miles west to near Summersville. It can be accessed by Routes 19 and 106, or Route D.
Steep hills and narrow valleys characterize this 2,082-acre area, where the northern border is marked by approximately 2.5 miles of Apple Creek Stream frontage. The area is home to a mix of upland oak-hickory forests and a few bottomland forests.
The Conservation Department has created watering ponds and planted food plots and agricultural crops within the forest to provide additional food sources for wildlife. Timber harvests are an important part of habitat management, as they produce forage and cover for forest wildlife.
There is a boat ramp, multi-use trails, primitive camping, firearms range, and fishing ponds. Activities include: bird watching; canoeing; fishing; horseback rding; trapping and hunting.
The area is located north of Cape Girardeau. From I-55, take the Fruitland exit; go north on Route 61, seven miles; go east on Route CC, six miles.
Nearly 7,000 acres of outdoor recreation; more than 30 lakes; several hiking trails, including a three-mile trail for hiking and biking; a full-service rifle, pistol, trap and skeet range (Fri.-Mon, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Tue., 2 p.m.-8 p.m., for a fee); and a field archery range. Missouri hunting seasons and regulations apply.
The visitor center features educational displays and naturalist-led programs in aquatic and forest ecology, reptiles, birds and trees. (Programs require reservations.) Picnic facilities include barbecue grills, benches and a covered pavilion.
From I-64; south on Route 94; west on Route D 1.5 miles. Closed holidays and Thanksgiving weekend.
This area, operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation, features 1,064 acres of mostly woodlands, savannas and crop fields. Regulated hunting, fishing and trapping by permit. Primitive camping near parking areas. Hiking and biking on trails that connect to the Thousand Hills State Park trail system. Access is from Rainbow Basin Trail parking lot.
Blind Pony Lake Hatchery and Conservation Area offers a diverse range of activities for the outdoor-minded person. The area has good hunting opportunities for dove, quail, small game, deer and turkey. Blind Pony Lake contains bluegill, largemouth bass, channel and blue catfish.
From Sweet Springs at I-70: north one mile on Route 127; east 6.5 miles on Route ZZ.
This is a 2,300-acre forested conservation area with hiking trails, picnic shelters, hunting, fishing and camping. The area is mostly forested, with scattered areas of open grassland. Missouri hunting and fishing regulations apply.
The Forest Nature Trail is Disabled Accessible. The Lone Pine loop offer scenic overlooks of the Missouri River floodplain, looking west.
The area is an Important Bird Area (IBA). IBAs are sites identified by Audubon as the most crucial for bird populations, because of the abundance and/or diversity of birds present.
Burr Oak Woods is 20 miles east of downtown Kansas City. The area is composed of 1,071 acres of woodlands, glades, native grass and forb plantings. It also features fields, ponds and includes a scenic portion of Burr Oak Creek. The Nature Center features a collection of permanent and temporary conservation exhibits and includes a 168-seat auditorium and a 3,000-gallon aquarium.
This 4,790-acre owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation provides opportunities for a variety of outdoor pursuits and is one of the few public areas in Missouri where prairie chickens can still be seen. The mix of prairie, overgrown farm fields and forest habitats provides viewing opportunities for a number of songbird and wildlife species. Hikers will find a network of trails which criss-cross the entire area. There is also a 6.6-mile horse trail. Bicycling is allowed on service roads, roads open to vehicles and horse trails. Primitive camping (no amenities provided) is allowed at one designated site. Hunting for all major game species is permitted in season. Fishing opportunities exist on the area at 157-acre Bushwhacker Lake, 29-acre Willow Lake and three smaller ponds managed for fishing. Check with the Missouri Department of Conservation office in Joplin (417-629-3423) for boating and fishing regulations specific to the Bushwhacker Area.
This 2,502-acre area owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation provides multiple recreational use opportunities for travelers who want to add nature appreciation to their trip to the Springfield/Branson area.
A well-marked trail system provides approximately 18 miles of use for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. There is an unstaffed shooting range on the area. Primitive camping at designated sites is available by permit only. (Permits and campsite locations can be obtained from the Missouri Department of Conservation's Southwest Regional Office in Springfield, 417-895-6880.)
Hunting for all major game species is permitted in season at Busiek. Pending mid-summer regulation approval, special deer hunting provisions may be in effect at Busiek (call 417-895-6880 for details). The small streams at Busiek have only intermittent flow and provide no fishing opportunities.
This area contains forest, savanna, and dolomite glades. Facilities/features include firearms and archery ranges and the Caney Mountain Natural Area (1,330 acres). Interpretive nature programs are held at various times during the year. This area is located five miles north of Gainesville on Route 181, then .50 mile west on a gravel entrance road.
The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located in Cape Girardeau's North County Park. It showcases the cultural history and natural resources of southeast Missouri.
Indoors, the nature center features hands-on exhibits for all ages, including the Corbin Collection of American Indian artifacts, freshwater aquariums, wildlife viewing areas, classrooms and an auditorium.
Outdoors, explore the White Oak Trace, which has two miles of trails winding through stands of poplar and oak trees, sinkholes and a small, man-made swamp. The nature center grounds include gardens featuring native wildflowers. At the Kid's Fishing Pond, children younger than 16 can try their hand at fishing for a variety of species. Poles and worms are available for use at no charge.
Castor River Conservation Area is nearly all forest and is home to Blue Pond Natural Area. Blue Pond is the deepest natural pond in Missouri. Facilities/features include: primitive camping, a multi-use hike/bike/horse trail, numerous intermittent streams, and one permanent stream. The main tract lies 12 miles west of Marble Hill on both sides of the Route 34.
Columbia Bottom is a mosaic of natural areas including wetlands, forests, prairies and croplands. The area encompasses the 110-acre Duck Island on the Mississippi River, as well as more than six miles of river frontage.
A road runs through the area, with eight exploration stations along the way, where visitors can view surrounding habitats in a self-guided learning experience. The confluence of Missouri River and Mississippi River – the fourth largest river system in the world – can be observed from the site’s Confluence Viewing Platform, located at the end of the road.
The visitor center has a number of educational displays designed to help guests become acquainted with the site. Naturalist-led educational programs are frequently offered for the general public, plus special programs for school and scout groups. Please call ahead, as most programs require advanced registration. The area offers hiking, biking and river access.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is in North St. Louis County: take the Riverview Drive exit from I-270; travel north on Riverview about 2.8 miles and follow the signs.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is closed from one-half-hour after sunset until one-half-hour before sunrise, except for authorized hunting, fishing and boat ramp use.
This 840-acre area owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation is a mostly forested area that provides both hunting and nature-viewing opportunities. Hunting for all major game species is permitted in season. Trails over parts of the area provide hiking and nature photography opportunities. Horseback riding is permitted on designated trails and service roads. Primitive camping (no amenities provided) is allowed on the area. Bicycling is allowed on designated trails. Dogs must be leashed or confined when not used for hunting or training purposes. There is a 14-station walk-and-shoot archery range. There are no fishable streams or ponds on the area.
This is a predominantly forest area. Facilities/features include: a picnic area, fishing jetties, Buford Pond (three acres, fishable), Blue Springs Natural Area (17 acres), Cardareva Bluff Natural Area (95 aces), and a permanent stream (Current River). The main tract of the Current River Conservation Area is three miles west of Ellington on Route 106. There are three entrances: one is located three miles west of Ellington on Route 106; another is located on South Road in Ellington; the other is located on Reynolds County Road 626.
Located about 10 miles northeast of Hermann, Daniel Boone Conservation Area makes for a nice diversion from Route 94, and it is a great spot for a picnic lunch.
A seven mile multi-use trail allows you to explore the area by foot, horse, or bicycle. You'll likely see many songbirds, and perhaps the elusive ruffed grouse.
Deep valleys, glades and rugged, wooded hills are there for outdoors enthusiasts. Several ponds supply opportunities to take catfish, sunfish and bass.
From Route 94: Route 19 north; Route Y, east. From I-70: Route Y at Jonesburg, six miles; southwest on Tower Road at the cantilever sign near Oak Grove Church; go three miles.
Located north of Lewistown in northeast Missouri, the Deer Ridge Conservation Area offers opportunities for the outdoor-minded person. Mostly forest with old fields, croplands and wetlands, the area facilities include a boat ramp, pavilions, the James B. Jenkins Shooting Range, Deer Ridge Community Lake and two permanent streams (North and Middle Fabius rivers). The Deer Ridge Conservation Area is rich in human history. Artifacts found along the ridges above the North Fabius River indicate the area was used by at least five different American Indian tribes.
Located just south of Kirksville on the west side of Route 63, the Northeast Regional Office offers those interested in fish, forest and wildlife the opportunity to learn more about our natural resources. Interactive exhibits, taxidermy mounts, a large freshwater aquarium and a trail await those interested in the outdoors. Those looking for information or publications on Missouri's outdoor resources will find the free publication area, as well as the small nature shop where books, cassette/CDs and DVDs are availble for shopppers. You can also purchase your Missouri Hunting and Fishing permits at the office.
This area contains 2,400 acres of wetlands, plus forests and some cropland. This is a waterfowl hunting area, established in conjunction with Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.
Facilities include: four boat ramps,; boat rentals; a boat dock; primitive camping; six fishing jetties; and an 1,800-acre lake. The main entrance is nine miles north of Puxico, on Route 51.
The Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is located southwest of Columbia. This 4,286-acre area is known for shorebird and migratory game bird viewing. Seasonally flooded wetlands attract numerous species of birds, making this a top site for bird watchers and migratory game bird hunters. The Missouri River flows along the western border of the area and Perche Creek flows along the easter border.
Forest 44 Conservation Area offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on the outskirts of St. Louis. This rugged forestland is situated on the northeastern most extension of the Ozark uplift and harbors plants and animals typical of Missouri's Ozarks. Several springs feed Williams Creek, which flows along the eastern portion of the area. Flowering dogwood and redbud trees add to the area's natural beauty, especially in the springtime. The area has more than 13 miles of trails, including a wheelchair-accessible path. Ten miles are multi-use, providing recreation for both hikers and equestrians. Forest 44 Conservation Area is in West St.Louis County. From I-44, take Route 141 south to Meramec Station Road, which is the first stoplight. Turn right (west) and drive a mile to Hillsboro Road. Turn left and go a half-mile to the area parking lot. The area offers a newly-rennovated staffed shooting range for public use. Range access is from I-44 Beaumont/Antire Road Exit, (Exit 269). For further range information and open hours, call 636-938-9548.
Fans of the famed comic strip "Beetle Bailey" should include this 2,212-acre Missouri Department of Conservation area on their travel schedule.
This site was the location of Camp Crowder Army Base during World War II and it was this site that gave cartoonist Mort Walker the inspiration for "Camp Swampy," the mythical military base that figures prominently in the cartoon strip.
This link to the comic strip is honored in the Crowder Area's "Mort Walker Trail," an 11-mile hiking/bicycling/horse trail. Hunting for all major game species is permitted in season. Primitive camping (no amenities provided) is permitted on the area, except for seasonal closures for some hunting activities (call 417-451-4158 for details).
Dogs must be leashed or confined when not being used for training or hunting purposes. There are no fishable streams or ponds on the area. There is an unmanned shooting range and an archery range on the area.
One of the premier water-fowl hunting areas in the state and the country, this area features trails, wildlife photography opportunities and other outdoor-related activities.
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Southwest Missouri Getaway
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U.S. 63 Itinerary Part I
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