The Celebration Continues
Here’s a riddle for you: What do the Missouri towns of Bluffton, Hart Creek and Rocheport have in common?
The answer is that they all are communities located in the Central Region, adjacent to the Missouri River. They also happen to have conservation areas nearby with new developments on them.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has recently focused on enhancing some of the conservation areas in the Central Region, and it is concentrating efforts on those near the Missouri River. The developments are part of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration and are designed to promote education of conservation and the Missouri River, as well as increase opportunities for the public to enjoy their conservation areas.
So follow along and learn about the new opportunities Missourians have to enjoy conservation areas in the central part of the state.
Grand Bluffs Conservation Area
In 2003, construction began on a 1-mile trail and a deck overlook. The deck sits atop a 300-foot-tall fluted dry dolomite bluff that rises above the Missouri River floodplain and provides a serene view of the Missouri River, bottomland fields, Highway 94 and adjacent bluffs.
At the overlook, you can read an interpretive sign about Lewis and Clark and the Missouri River, study the glade-loving plants that surround the deck on a grassy knob, observe farmers working their crops in the bottomland fields below and enjoy the scenic vista that stretches both far and wide.
Grand Bluffs Scenic Overlook Trail leads users through maple/oak forest, prairie and an old orchard where a pear tree still bears in the fall to the deck overlook. The area is particularly gratifying to visit in the spring when woodland wildflowers abound and in the autumn for the bright fall colors. Hunting on the area is permitted under statewide regulations except that firearms firing single projectiles are prohibited. This 222-acre area is mostly forest and contains savanna, prairie and glades.
Grand Bluffs Conservation Area is located five miles east of Portland along Highway 94 in Montgomery County, a quarter-mile off Highway 94 on Bluffton Road. The Katy Trail runs along the southern border of the area.
Hart Creek Conservation Area
Driving along Jemerson Creek Road north of Hartsburg, you may notice a new development on Hart Creek Conservation Area. On the west side of the road is a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing Jemerson Creek. This bridge allows area users to access a 1.5-mile bicycle and hiking trail that bisects the area and