Looking for a variety of outdoor experiences? Try the Golden Valley Nature Trail at the Department of Conservation office at 2010 Second St., Clinton. The main trailhead is south of the office entrance road. The East and South loops (1.6 and 1.2 miles) skirt mature pecan groves that are maintained so hikers can easily fill their pockets in the fall. The Wetland Loop (1.7 miles) circles a wetland, with an overlook where you can see flowering plants, migratory birds and other wildlife. Most of the trails traverse wooded terrain, but some spots have open views of Truman Lake. A short spur connects the Wetland Trail to the Clinton office, with an archery range, restrooms, gift shop and conservation publications. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A pond near the office is open to fishing except during May and June, when it is used for fishing clinics.
Scrivner Road Conservation Area (CA) in Cole County, is one of more than 70 areas with unstaffed shooting ranges. This one is top of the line, with 20 concrete shooting benches under roof and target holders from 25 to 100 yards. The shotgun range has a concrete pad for target throwers. Use of these ranges is free. Call 573-884-6861 for more information about the shooting range at Scrivner Road CA. For information about other department unstaffed shooting ranges see links listed below.
The St. Francis undergoes a dramatic transformation between its headwaters in Iron County and the Arkansas state line. The upper part flows through granite shut-ins that challenge even Olympic kayakers when it is swollen with rain. Below Sam A. Baker State Park, the action shifts from paddling to walleye fishing. The Madison County stretch is best. Below Lake Wappapello, the St. Francis becomes a lowland river, flowing through swamps and the flat agricultural land. there is some very good spotted bass fishing downstream from Kennett. You can launch canoes at the Department of Conservation’s Chalk Bluff Trail, Coldwater, Fisk, Gruner Ford, Roselle and Syenite accesses, at Ben Cash Conservation Area, Sam A. Baker State Park, at the USDA Forest Service’s Silver Mines Recreation Area and at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accesses at Highway 34 and immediately below Lake Wappapello.
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