The William R. Logan Conservation Area in Lincoln County has about 1,797 acres. The area is two-thirds timber and one-third open land. There are seven fishing lakes and three primitive camping areas. Special regulations apply to hunting and fishing.
Good populations of quail, rabbit, squirrel, turkey and deer are present. Other public facilities include an unmanned rifle shooting range. Planned facilities include a shotgun range, nature and hiking trails.
These trails will provide opportunity for bird watching, outdoor photography and nature study. Rare or endangered plant and animal species such as heartleaf plantain, false mermaid and the northern harrier also may be found.
The Cross Timbers Area is a 4,911-acre unit on Truman Reservoir located in Hickory County north of Hwy. 54 along the Pomme de Terre River. Cross Timbers Access provides easy access to the river for canoeing or tube floating.
Cross Timbers has scenic bluffs, glades, savannas and clear water. Deer and turkey are abundant. The small crop fields and long, looping meanders of the river are characteristic and are important to many endangered species like the bald eagle, osprey, sharp-shinned hawk, gray bat and numerous plants.
Chapel View Prairie is a 384-acre area located four miles southwest of Deepwater in Henry County. The area is dissected by a tributary of Marshall Creek and is primarily native prairie with woody species along the draws. Many native plants and animals are on the area, the most interesting being prairie chickens, upland sandpipers, prairie mole crickets, Indian paintbrush, gay feather, coneflowers and many other beautiful flowering plants.
There are several large Osage-orange trees with massive spreading tops on the southeast portion of the area. Two large ponds provide walk-in fishing, but no facilities are provided for area users.
Birding, hiking and waterfowl hunting are among the outdoor opportunities at the Ted Shanks Conservation Area in northeastern Pike County. This wetland, bordered by the Mississippi River and majestic river bluffs, lies between Louisiana and Hannibal, two miles east of Highway 79 on Route T.
The office visitor center is open weekends mid-February through mid-December. Stop by for a map and directions to natural areas, hiking trails, river accesses and camping facilities. Expect to see large numbers of waterfowl only in spring and fall. Wetland pools, while vitally important to wildlife, are not particularly scenic, especially when drained. Visitors may still see shore birds, however.
Hunting and fishing are subject to special area regulations. For group and school tours and programs call (573) 754-6171 or (573) 248-2530.
The popular August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area continues to get better! Many new facilities and program improvements have been made to accommodate a wide array of interests. The area is located 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis along Highway 94 in St. Charles County.
All around this conservation oasis, housing developments, highways and industry have sprouted from once productive wildlife habitat. The importance of this 6,987-acre area among the encroaching urban sprawl has never been more evident than today.
Renovation of area lakes to remove silt and create fish habitat will improve the lakes for fish and fishermen. New fishing facilities for the disabled include covered fishing docks and privies on Lakes 33 and 34, two of the area's 36 fishing lakes. Several lakes have catch-and-release fishing, including one that is stocked with smallmouth bass. Fishing is now allowed all year.
There is a new trap/skeet overlay at the Busch shooting range which is accessible to all shooters. Trap and skeet targets are loaded by area personnel and the shooter pays only $3 per round of 25 targets to participate. Shooters will also enjoy new asphalt pathways on the rifle/pistol range.
Nature education programs have always been popular on the area. Trained interpreters provide educational programs on a variety of topics, from "Wild Edibles" to "What Lives in the Water." A newsletter "Busch Bulletin" is available free to those who subscribe and provides a list of upcoming programs and activities.
A number of larger events also take place on Busch, including "Kids Fishing Day" (second Saturday in May), "Family Fishing Fair" (second Saturday in June), and "Hunting and Fishing Heritage Day" (fourth Saturday in September) when visitors may learn more about conservation issues and participate in hands-on activities.
A popular foot trail (Fallen Oak Trail) has been completely renovated to accommodate many people, including those with small children. This trail is a .7-mile excursion through forest habitat. A self-guiding brochure helps visitors learn more about forest wildlife, openland habitat and a variety of plants. Should a visitor not have the time or ambition for a stroll, they might consider taking the 8.7-mile self-guided Auto Tour, which highlights various trails, habitat types and history of the area.
Hunting is another popular attraction at this conservation area. Opportunities at the Busch Area include deer, spring turkey, squirrels, rabbits and doves. Deer hunting is limited to archery and muzzleloading rifles. The Busch Area also has a special deer hunt for youngsters only. Application cards for all deer and turkey hunts are available at Conservation Department offices in the St. Louis/St. Charles area.
Seasons for hunting squirrels, rabbits and doves vary from statewide regulations, and it is best to stop at headquarters and confirm season dates and bag limits. The Busch Conservation Area makes accommodations for disabled hunters, and a new headquarters on the area will include accessible features for the disabled.
Visitors who come to the Busch Area will likely notice new road, building and parking lot construction. A new administrative/visitor center is slated for construction. The new facility will house conservation professionals from the St. Louis area. In addition to one-stop shopping for resource information, the new facility will include various displays and larger classrooms for more interpretive programs.
While the Busch Conservation Area has made many improvements, it still provides the traditional experiences visitors have enjoyed since 1947. If you haven't visited in awhile, plan on making a trip in the near future to experience this wildlife oasis yourself.
There are many reasons to visit Peck Ranch Conservation Area. You'll find scenic vistas and hiking trails, rare plants and animals, unique caves, sinkholes and springs and special hunting opportunities.
Red, black, white and scarlet oak, together with areas of shortleaf pine, cover the rolling hills and quiet valleys. The vast forest attracts thousands of migrating songbirds each spring, many of which remain to nest during the summer. For those who enjoy bird watching, Peck Ranch provides both a variety of bird life and harmony of sound.
One can frequently hear the flutelike call of a wood thrush, the coarse gobble of a wild turkey or the birdlike call of a tree frog.
A hike to the top of Stegall Mountain at 1,350 feet provides a panoramic view of the Ozarks. There, you'll be among the oldest exposed rock in the state - more than one billion years old. Called rhyolite, it forms the core of the St. Francois mountains.
Rocky Falls is on the back side of Stegall Mountain, just off of Peck Ranch but still on the Ozark Trail. This is a favorite place to picnic and watch the water of Rocky Creek cascade over a 40-foot drop over rhyolite boulders.
Natural glades are interlaced among the oak/hickory forest. These hot, dry and rocky areas provide spectacular wildflower displays in the spring and fall. Indian paintbrush, Missouri primrose and purple cone flowers are some of the specially adapted plants you'll see.
In the fall, the reds and yellows of little bluestem, Indian grass and side oats grama catch your eye against the backdrop of fall foliage of the trees on the distant hillside. You may also see unusual reptiles, such as the collared lizard, basking in the sunlight.
Descending down the front side of Stegall Mountain, you encounter Rogers Creek, a small but clear spring-fed stream. Along its 7-mile length, you'll find over 25 species of small fish. Common species in the flowing water are southern redbelly dace, creek chub, central stone roller, Current River orange throat darter, barred fantail darter and green sunfish. In the shallow pools, the fish fauna is more diverse and includes such species as the striped shiner, bleeding shiner, hornyhead chub, slender madtom, black spotted top minnow and shadow bass.
Peck Ranch Conservation Area is divided into "zones" to accommodate its many users. During a visit, you will have the chance to see white-tailed deer, bobcat, wild turkey, beaver or perhaps even a black bear or river otter. Although most visitors are individuals or families, larger groups such as schools, hiking clubs and Scout groups frequently visit the area.
Peck Ranch contains four natural areas, seven caves and a 6.2-mile segment of the Ozark Trail. The Peck Ranch headquarter's nature trail originates at the spring at the headquarters and completes several loops through an area of beaver ponds. This trail provides excellent possibilities for seeing wildlife.
Peck Ranch provides three special deer hunts (archery and black powder), a spring turkey hunt and a special walk-in turkey hunting area. Hunts with primitive weapons for deer are held each October and January by application. Hunting within the special use zone (the fenced portion of Peck Ranch) is by special regulation only. However, over 11,000 acres in the exterior unit are open under statewide regulations for hunting. Many spring turkey hunters use the three primitive campgrounds when hunting the 3,000-acre Round Mountain walk-in turkey hunting area.
Peck Ranch includes a zone for disabled hunters. This special area is used during a muzzleloading buck hunt, an archery any-deer hunt and a muzzleloading antlerless deer hunt. Disabled hunters may drive into this area, and may have a helper assist them. The area is open to other hunters, but they must walk in. The headquarters at Peck Ranch and a restroom are accessible for people with disabilities.
Peck Ranch Conservation Area is located 8.5 miles east of Winona off Highway H and six miles north of Fremont off highways P and 60, in Carter County. To make reservations for a special use permit or a field trip, or for other information about Peck Ranch Conservation Area, contact the manager, Peck Ranch Conservation Area, Winona 65588 or telephone (573) 323-4249.
Marais Temps Clair is a 918-acre wetland tract located in north St. Charles County, east of Orchard Farm. Fishing, bowfishing and wildlife viewing can be productive in the ten wetland pools and associated ditches. Hikers, bicyclists and auto tour enthusiasts enjoy traveling the roads and levee tops viewing the water birds, frogs, turtles, fish and reptiles that thrive throughout the area.
This conservation area can't accommodate large numbers of hunters. However, waterfowl and dove hunting, following special regulations, can be good. Visitors to Marais Temps Clair will find living proof that wetlands are home to more kinds and numbers of wildlife than any other type of habitat. But expect to see large numbers of waterfowl only in spring and fall. Wetland pools, while vitally important to wildlife, are not particularly scenic, especially when drained, though you still may be able to see shorebirds.
The Urban Wild Acres program in Kansas City was begun as a means of conserving "green space" for urban residents. Properties within this program are donated to or purchased by the Conservation Department and leased to local agencies for site management.
The Conservation Department presently has five wild acre sites representing forests, old fields, glades, streams and prairies. Each of these areas has something different to offer visitors throughout the year.
Maple Woods is a federally designated natural history area. One of its unique features is a dense stand of sugar maples. Maple Woods is 1.25 miles east of North Oak Trafficway on 76th Street.
Rush Creek offers visitors an opportunity to learn about streams, old fields and wooded habitats. Rush Creek is two blocks south of William Jewell College on Jewell Street, .5 mile east on Richfield Road, then .25 mile north on Lafrenz Road.
Walnut Woods is a mixed hardwood tract with various species of trees, shrubs and woodland flowers. Walnut Woods is two blocks south of Willaim Jewell college on Jewell Street, .5 mile east on Richfield Road and two miles south on Lafrenz Road to Stockdale Park. The area is on the east side of this park.
Jim Bridger offers open fields, glades and wooded trails with a picturesque stream. Jim Bridger is 3.5 miles south of the junction of highways 40 and 7 on Highway 7, 1.2 miles west on Cowherd Road, then .5 mile north on Jasper Bell Road. Use the entrance to the Kemper Outdoor Education Center.
Creating wild acres is a lot like building a house for plants, wildlife and people. For more information on the Urban Wild Acres program in Kansas City, contact the Conservation Department's metro office at (816) /356 2280.
Several Conservation Department staff members contributed to this article.
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