We asked Missouri Conservationist readers to tell us about their favorite conservation lands. Here are eight of their picks, places you may want to visit.
Young Conservation Area
South on Highway W off I-44 and three miles west on Highway FF in Jefferson County.
About 20 minutes outside of St. Louis County near Eureka, the Young Conservation Area is a refreshing place for any outdoor enthusiast.
For a relatively small area - 970 acres - it provides a variety of scenery, including fields of prairie grass, limestone bluffs, plenty of forested hillsides, a few small wildlife watering stations or ponds, nice hillside stands of pines surrounded by hardwood species and walking trails. Hillside streams run over smooth rocky flats and drop precipitously every so often into a larger pool and then another, and last but not least into a small feeder stream - LaBarque Creek - that runs throughout this tract of outdoors.
I became interested in this creek after I received a new fly rod and reel as a gift from my father. Being a rookie at fly fishing, this little creek was an excellent place to practice. It was amazing how many fish I saw darting out of the ripples and under root wads. I even caught fish after awhile. Not a lot of fish, nor any lunkers by any stretch of fish lies, but there were fish on my fly rod.
I have since graduated from that stream as far as fly fishing goes, but I still return to the Young Conservation Area just to wander around. Somehow it seems it is the smaller things I have experienced in my life that I remember more vividly.
Otter Slough Conservation Area
The main entrance is west of Dexter on Highway 60, then ten miles south on Highway ZZ in Stoddard County.
It's goose flight season again at Otter Slough Conservation Area. We're fortunate to live near the wildlife management area and can watch the snow geese and Canada honkers by the thousands, as they feed on the harvested fields of corn, beans and milo. Ducks are in abundance in the flooded fields as we drive alongside the area where blinds can be rented. Deer can be seen sometimes as we travel the road near the refuge.
Spring finds my husband fishing at the lake. Sometimes I join him. In the fall, we like to go to Otter Slough to walk around the south