Wildwood, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to know what Missourians think about its nearly 1,000 conservation areas around the state. MDC is in the multi-year process of updating management plans for conservation areas and invites public comments. Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood is among the areas under review.
MDC is inviting public comment at Rockwoods Reservation to aid staff in developing a 10-year management plan for the conservation area. Interested persons or groups are invited to bring their ideas to an open house at Rockwoods on Monday, Aug. 5, from 6 – 8 p.m. These include recreational users, neighboring landowners, conservation groups, elected officials and government agencies.
The topics in which the Department is seeking input include the area’s forest management, public and recreational uses, and facilities such as restrooms, the visitor center and trails. Department staff will be on hand to answer questions and accept comments from visitors. The public is also invited to share ideas online now through Aug. 8 at mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
The open house will take place at the Rockwoods Visitor Center, 2751 Glencoe Road. Rockwoods Reservation is located off Highway 109 between Highway 100 and I-44.
MDC staff will review comments as they develop a draft area management plan in August and September. The plan will be posted online in October for an additional comment period, and will be available for viewing at mdc.mo.gov/areaplans. After considering all public comments, the final plan will be drafted, approved, and posted online sometime after November.
“Due to its natural quality, scenic beauty, and proximity to Missouri’s largest metropolitan area, Rockwoods Reservation offers tremendous opportunity for people to discover and enjoy nature," said MDC Forestry District Supervisor Gus Raeker. "The public input and planning process we have underway will help ensure that Rockwoods will meet the diverse interests of Missouri citizens as well as possible while maintaining healthy and sustainable forest, fish, and wildlife resources into the future. Although we won’t be able to advance all ideas, we greatly appreciate feedback and will give all comments careful consideration.”
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.
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 an MDC conservation area.