Note to Our Readers
Fall Activities Close to Home
I often hear from friends about their outdoor adventures in distant places—fishing or hunting in Canada or the Rocky Mountains and hiking in the Grand Canyon region are examples. This year, with the spike in the price of gasoline, I have heard from several who chose to stay closer to home and experience the Missouri outdoors. And why not? Missouri is blessed with many great destinations for hunting, angling, wildlife watching and touring to enjoy the stunning and colorful autumn scenery.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is pleased to manage 863 conservation areas open throughout the year for the public’s use and enjoyment. At some of the areas, we offer invitations to special public opportunities. One such event is the Rockwoods Nature Adventure at the Rockwoods CA on Oct. 4. This St. Louis County venue is close to home for more than a million people, so reservations are required! It is a great time to practice your outdoor skills, get help planning your next Missouri adventure outdoors and take a tour of historic Rockwoods CA. Another example is the popular fall driving tour set for Oct. 19 at the Poosey CA in Livingston County, northwest of Chillicothe. This will be the 22nd year that the area roads have been opened to view spectacular fall colors.
Missouri abounds with special places—and indeed entire regions—where the autumn foliage can dazzle the eyes. The Henning CA near Branson, Caney Mountain CA near Gainesville, and Rocky CA near Winona are great examples. Hiking in or near one of Missouri’s 184 natural areas is a great fall experience. Pickle Springs Natural Area, located east of Farmington in Ste. Genevieve County, has a special trail named “Trail Through Time” with many scenic views including sandstone cliffs, canyons and knobs. I must confess that seeing the fall colors from the seat of a canoe while floating down an Ozark stream may be my absolute favorite.
Other popular outdoor activities sponsored by the Department include more than 80 managed hunts for special dates at selected conservation areas and other public lands. Fishing in more than 900 public lakes and thousands of miles of rivers and streams in Missouri can be very good when the water temperatures cool in the fall.
Missouri’s trout fishing is excellent in the fall. On Nov. 1, the winter catch-and-release trout fishing program begins with the stocking of 28 small public lakes, providing popular and very close to home trout fishing for anglers in Jackson, Kansas City, Kirksville, Mexico, St. Joseph, St. Louis, Sedalia and more. The Department stocks catchable-size trout in cooperation with city governments, providing the opportunity for citizens to experience trout fishing without leaving town. On Nov. 14, the winter catch-and-release season begins in Missouri’s four trout parks.
I hope one or more of these outdoor opportunities are near your home, but if not, please check the Department’s Web site for conservation areas and other outdoor places near you. Experiences in nature are important to our quality of life, and in Missouri there are many options for a great time outdoors in special places just waiting for you. I hope to see you there!
John Hoskins, director