Blair Creek Raised Fen
Points of Interest:
- Visit an unusual “raised fen” wetland.
- See a wetland oasis in an otherwise dry and rocky Ozark landscape.
- Access this site from the Ozark Trail, the longest hiking trail in the Missouri Ozarks.
Natural Features Description:
The fen found here is dome-shaped from the accumulation of peaty materials. A thick deposit of mucky organic soil forms a mound here higher than the surrounding land. Fens are wetlands created when calcareous groundwater seeps out to the soil surface and are typically dominated by herbaceous plants. Fens are kept open by both saturated soils and historically, occasional wildfires. These fens are created by groundwater moving down through the dolomite formation and hitting a resistant layer, likely sandstone, along which the water then runs horizontally and seeps out onto the lower slopes along the valley. The fen itself is dominated by sedges, orange coneflower, and silky willow
This natural area is within the Mark Twain National Forest. From Bunker head east on Highway 72 and turn right (south) onto Highway P. Follow Highway P south for about 2.5 miles. Turn left (south) onto the gravel road (Forest Service Road 2220). Follow the gravel road for a third of a mile and go left at the “Y” intersection. Stay on the main gravel road for about 2.5 miles and look for an Ozark Trail trailhead on the right (north) side of the road. Follow the Ozark Trail (Blair Creek Section of the Trail, see http://www.ozarktrail.com or call 573-436-0540) south for about a mile. The natural area is to the east of the trail. The fen itself is fragile and easily trampled. Enjoy and observe the fen from its edges. A map and compass are recommended to explore the area. Hunting is permitted.
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