Big Buffalo Creek Fen
Riddell's Goldenrod with Monarch Butterfly
Points of Interest:
- See a large population of Riddell’s goldenrod – a characteristic fen plant.
- Catch a glimpse of a gray petaltail dragonfly – a characteristic fen animal.
- Listen to the spring brook that parallels parts of the fen.
Natural Features Description: Fens harbor many plants and animals considered to be “glacial relicts” in Missouri. That is, they are species that were common in Missouri 10,000 years ago when glaciers covered the upper midwest. In the intervening thousands of years Missouri’s climate has gotten warmer and drier. The glacial relict species were able to persist in fens and along spring branches where cool groundwater provides appropriate habitat conditions. Other glacial relict species in Missouri persist on cool, moist north facing bluffs. At Big Buffalo Creek Fen, glacial relicts include interior sedge, Riddell’s goldenrod, and the four-toed salamander. Ozark fens such as these are typically dominated by herbaceous plants and are kept open by both saturated soils and historically occasional wildfires.
This natural area is within Big Buffalo Creek Conservation Area. From Stover, take Highway 52 west and turn left (south) onto Highway FF. Follow Highway FF south for nearly 8 miles. At the “T” intersection go right (west) on Big Buffalo Road and follow this for about ¾ of a mile. Park along the side of the road here and head north up the old road towards the fen. A map and compass are recommended to explore the area. Hunting is permitted.
Get more information from the MDC Atlas.
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