Wilbur Allen Memorial Conservation Area is a little-known gem of an area near the Manes community in Wright County. At 380 acres, this area is “small,” but it boasts lots of neat things to see and do for hunters, youth groups, families, floaters, anglers, hikers and birders —especially in October.
Named in honor of Wilbur Allen, the inventor of the compound bow, the area commemorates Allen’s contribution to the sport of archery. His family, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, established this area in 1981. The area’s purpose is to promote bow hunting by providing a place where deer are hunted exclusively by bow. Other wildlife species may be taken with firearms during the prescribed season.
A mile-long stretch of the Gasconade River runs through the area, isolating the larger western portion of it, which is inaccessible by road. To hunt, hike or explore this mostly forested section, visitors must cross the river by boat at the area’s gravel ramp.
Youth groups and families will appreciate the area’s small campground that can accommodate two to three groups. Floaters might take advantage of the Department’s Buzzard Bluff Access, which lies approximately 6 miles upstream, to enjoy a one-day float trip from the access to the area. Anglers can expect to find excellent smallmouth bass and goggle-eye fishing.
Although the area has no designated trails, hiking is fairly easy along the river, on access roads and on the gated farm trail that runs through the fields.
The area’s three distinct bird habitat types — grasslands, riparian corridor and deep forest — give birders the opportunity to see a variety of birds. Scissor-tailed flycatchers and quail inhabit the grasslands, wood ducks and kingfishers nest along the stream, and pileated woodpeckers and nuthatches grace the forest.
All kinds of visitors will appreciate the area’s management treatments, including watering ponds, grassland manipulation and occasional timber harvests, which help maintain the area’s natural diversity and beauty.
Of course, activities on the area will be enhanced during the month of October, when the forest blazes with fall color, and the cooler temperatures make outdoor adventures more comfortable.
—Bonnie Chasteen, photo by David Stonner
Recreation opportunities: Hunting, camping, floating, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing
Unique features: Campground with privy, picnic area and Gasconade River access
Location: A mile north of Manes on Highway 95, then one and one-half miles west on Radford Drive
For More Information
Contact by Phone: (417) 256-7161 or visit our online atlas, keyword "Allen".
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
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