Residents and visitors to Missouri can sample the state's fishing free, thanks to a proclamation recently signed by Gov. Mel Carnahan designating June 7 and June 8 as Free Fishing Days.
Permits, including trout permits and area daily fishing tags are not required on those days, but all anglers must obey size and possession limits for the waters they are fishing.
Free Fishing Days are part of National Fishing Week, which emphasizes the benefits of fishing. The theme of this year's celebration encourages youth to get "Hooked on Fishing/Not on Drugs."
Check with your local Conservation Department office for local events associated with National Fishing Week.
New phosphorous removal equipment at Branson's wastewater treatment plant and a new Environmental Excellence Challenge program are cleaning the environment around this southwest Missouri town.
The recently installed, $3.5 million equipment is reducing the amount of phosphorous going into Lake Taneycomo by 90-95 percent. Phosphorous feeds algae that turn the lake water green and emit a foul odor.
Area businesses that meet strict standards for conserving water and energy and reducing solid waste will receive from the city "Environmental Excellence Certification" stickers, stand-up cards and brochures that may be given away to customers.
"The goal is a corridor of environmentally excellent businesses from Springfield to Eureka Springs," said Debbie Redford, who developed the program.
The St. Louis Conservation and Kids Chapter of the Black Bass Foundation will conduct an amateur buddy bass tournament May 31, with all the proceeds going toward fish habitat construction in Truman Lake.
The Trolling Thunder Open tournament will be headquartered at the Osage Bluff Resort and Marina on Truman Lake.
The tournament guarantees a $5,000 first place award and paybacks to 10 percent of the field, as well as a first and second big bass prize. Entry fee is $110 per boat.
For more information, call Kevin Kerr, (314) 240-9633. The Black Bass Foundation is a national, not-for profit charitable bass conservation organization.
The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail recently opened, offering hikers, bicycle riders and horseback riders a 38-mile route along the St. Francis River and through a variety of landscapes, including oak/hickory forest, fields, flood plain and gravel bars.
The trailhead is located on Highway 143, just south of Sam A. Baker State Park. There are many places to access the trail south of the Highway 34 bridge. This section of trail ends at Black River, just east of Highway 67.
The trail section, located entirely in Wayne County, crosses public land administered by the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service and private land. The first four miles of trail are managed by the Conservation Department.
The National Wild Turkey Federation has named Conservation Department wildlife biologist Dr. Larry Vangilder its Outstanding Professional Wildlife Biologist of the Year for his significant contributions to the research and management of wild turkey. Missouri's successful wild turkey management program is a model for other states in the nation.
The federation also honored the following Missourians for their ability to talk turkey. Walter Parrott of Fredericktown, who has won the competition an unprecedented five times, was named Grand National Turkey Calling Champion and Chris Parrish of Mexico took second place.
Conservation Department employee Ralph Duren of Jefferson City placed second in the gobbling division, and Larry Shockey of Willow Springs and Don Shipp of Arkansas took third in team calling.
The Conservation Federation of Missouri recently honored 11 people and one organization for outstanding contributions to conservation in the state.
Donald Fisher of Corder was named Conservationist of the Year. Conservation Department employees David Hamilton and Lonnie Hansen, both of Columbia, received honors in the Wildlife Conservationist and Professional Conservationist categories, respectively.
Other honorees were Marina Cofer of St. Louis, Laura Scott of Kansas City, David Easterla of Maryville, Larry Harper of Columbia, Jan Morris of Imperial, State Representative Phil Tate of Gallatin, Everett Williams of Springfield and the Pomme de Terre Chapter of Muskies Inc. of Hermitage.
Arnold Meysenburg of Lee's Summit earned a special award for his work on behalf of the 1/10 of one percent sales tax for state parks and soil conservation.
June 7 is National Trails Day, and the Conservation Department is extending the celebration by promoting trail opportunities in May and June. The June Conservationist will feature articles on hiking urban areas and map and compass reading. Following are some of the trail celebrations already scheduled.
May 10 - The Daniel Boone Conservation Area in Warren County will dedicate and open a new horse trail ((314) 456-3368).
June - Glade hikes will be held each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the Henning Conservation Area in Stone County ((417) 334-4865).
June - Runge Conservation Nature Center in Cole County will have a Missouri trails exhibit in the nature center and will offer weekend trail hikes ((573) 526-5544).
June 7 - Forest 44 in Jefferson County will host an easy, 1.5 mile hike on a dogwood trail to see wildflowers and wildlife. Reservations required ((314) 301-1500).
June 7 - On Trails Day, Rockwoods Reservation in St. Louis County will host guided hikes, kids' activities and information stations ((314) 458-2236).
June 7 - Springfield Conservation Nature Center hosts Volksmarch from 8 a.m. to noon ((417) 888 4237).
June 14 - The grand opening of Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area in St. Joseph will feature guided tours and stations on urban conservation ((816) 271-3100).
June 14 - Deer Ridge Conservation Area in Lewis County will be open for self-guided auto tours ((573) 248-2530).
June 28 - Henning Conservation Area in Stone County hosts "Step into the Ozarks" for area scout troops ((417) 334-4865).
A brochure highlighting trails on 22 conservation areas will be available by the end of May. For a free copy, send a postcard to Trails, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180.
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