HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is in the multi-year process of updating Conservation Area Management Plans and is seeking public input on how conservation areas are important to Missourians. A draft plan for the J. Thad Ray Memorial Wildlife Area (MWA) and Julian Steyermark Woods Conservation Area (CA) is available for public review from June 1 to June 30. To preview the draft management plan and to share comments online, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
J. Thad Ray MWA is located west of Hannibal in Marion County. The area provides habitat for an assortment of woodland wildlife species, including whitetail deer, squirrels, raccoons, and songbirds on 148 acres. It also offers a field archery range with 10 targets and a practice archery range with five points.
The mostly wooded, 73-acre Julian Steyermark Woods CA is located within the city limits of Hannibal. The area offers excellent opportunities for nature study, wildlife viewing, and hiking. The area was named after Dr. Julian Steyermark, the noted botanist who wrote Flora of Missouri. The area provides an example of woodlands typically found in the "River Hills" bordering the west bank of the Mississippi River. Because Steyermark Woods CA is located within the city limits of Hannibal, hunting is prohibited.
Statewide, MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish, and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of a MDC conservation area.
“Missourians care about conservation and use conservation areas for many different reasons,” said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. “These areas help people discover nature through various activities, and help make Missouri a great place to hunt, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities. We want to know how conservation areas are important to Missourians. Encouraging public comments on Conservation Area Management Plans is part of MDC’s ongoing efforts of working for and with Missourians to sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife.”
Conservation Area Management Plans focus on natural resource management and public use on conservation areas. The plans do not address regulations on hunting, fishing and other area uses, which are set by the Conservation Commission and enforced under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC will consider all ideas received and will work to balance the issues and interests identified with the responsibility of managing areas for the present and future benefits to forest, fish, wildlife, and people. Decisions on which ideas to incorporate into area plans and on how to best incorporate them will be based on the property’s purpose, its physical and biological conditions and capabilities, the best roles of the property in its local, regional and state-wide context, and on the professional expertise of MDC staff.