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Healthy Forests

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Our Glorious Forests: Indian Trail CA

Size: 13,510 acres

Location: 12 miles northeast of Salem on Highway 19 in Dent County.

Habitat types: A beautiful mix of oak and hickory forests, with an intricate mosaic of dolomite glades, chert savannas and woodlands throughout the area

Facilities and features: Primitive camping, Indian Trail Fish Hatchery/Blackwell Lake (35 acres), picnic area, numerous small ponds, two permanent streams (Fishwater Creek, Crooked Creek)

Find more info: visit our online atlas, keyword "Indian".

Although Indian Trail CA’s name recalls a tragic period in American history, the area itself is a legacy of Missouri’s early conservation efforts. In 1838, the United States government forced more than 16,000 Cherokee people from their eastern homelands and marched them to Oklahoma. One route of this “Trail of Tears” passed through land that would become Indian Trail CA. In the late 1800s, the Sligo Iron Company operated on the area, although its smelters exhausted local timber, and it soon closed. Later owners used the area for range until the state purchased it in 1927. From 1930 until 1960, the area served as a game refuge, providing deer and turkey for restocking programs. Civilian Conservation Corps crews built most of the area’s access roads, constructed the hatchery pond and planted trees. Today’s forest practices improve wildlife habitat, maintain watershed quality and enhance tree growth, quality and species composition.

Dogwoods and Hawthorns

Fruit-bearing trees sustain wildlife through winter.

Whether you live in St. Louis or rural Hickory County, you can help your local birds and small wildlife survive winter. The simplest way to do this is plant fruit-bearing native trees such as dogwood and hawthorn. These trees reward you with beautiful blossoms in spring, shade in the summer, colorful leaves in the fall, and bright red berries well into winter. Birds and squirrels will also reward you with their daily visits and feeding antics. You can order dogwood and hawthorn seedlings from the George O. White State Nursery online until April 15. To find other sources of Missouri-grown native trees and shrubs, visit the Grow Native! Web site. Click on “Buyer’s Guide” to find a supplier in your area.

Tree Care After Storms

A certified arborist can often treat damaged trees.

Snow, ice, tornadoes, hail and high-velocity winds are just a few of the natural perils Missouri’s trees experience. When storms damage trees, cleanup and recovery can be bewildering. Some injured trees can be treated and repaired to maintain their health and value to your home. Others should be removed. When hiring someone to work on your trees, be sure you use a certified, experienced professional arborist. Download a detailed brochure on caring for storm-damaged trees and finding a certified arborist online.

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