Rediscover nature at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, where 3 miles of trails allow visitors to disappear into 112 acres of nature for hours on end without ever leaving the city of Kirkwood. The .3-mile Tanglevine Trail circles south of the nature center and is paved for wheelchair access. It is situated on a ridge that boasts century-old white oak trees sporting bonnets of grapevines that lend the trail its name. The 1.2-mile Hickory Ridge Trail alternates between hills and valleys, forest and savanna and has a viewing deck overlooking a seasonal stream and a wooded valley. You can take a cutoff that shortens this hike to a .5-mile loop. The Broken Ridge Trail circles north of the nature center through steep terrain with shady oak-hickory-maple forest and sunny rock outcroppings. Look for songbirds in the forest, lizards in rocky areas and wildflowers all over from spring through fall.
Winter, when leaves are on the ground, is the best time to see Missouri’s champion trees and look for new ones. Missouri has 116 champion trees in 47 counties scattered across every region of the state. A tree’s score is the sum of its height in feet, one-quarter of its average spread in feet and its trunk circumference in inches. Four Missouri champion trees are national champions. Missouri’s biggest champion tree is an American sycamore in Polk County that stands 94 feet tall, has a circumference of 333 inches and an average spread of 120 feet for a total score of 457. For a list of champion trees, visit www.MissouriConservation.org/294.
Until the late 1960s, catches of walleye weighing 10 to 12 pounds were not uncommon on the St. Francis. After that, however, the fishery declined. By 1990, catching any walleye —much less a trophy—from the St. Francis River was a rare event. Fisheries biologists believed that anglers were catching more walleye than the fishes’ natural reproduction could replace. The Conservation Commission closed walleye fishing on the St. Francis above Wappapello Dam in 1997. This allowed nearly 200,000 walleye fingerlings the Conservation Department put in the river to grow.
March 1 will mark a new chapter in St. Francis River walleye history, as anglers once again are allowed to catch and keep walleye in the St. Francis River and its tributaries above Wappapello Dam.
Anglers can keep four walleyes daily. The fish have to be at least 18 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail. The possession limit is eight. These limits include saugers, fish that resemble walleyes so closely that many anglers would have trouble telling them apart. See A Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations or the Wildlife Code for season information (available at permit vendors).
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler