What a glorious fall! I hope everyone has had the chance to get outside to enjoy the many outdoor opportunities our great state of Missouri has to offer its citizens and visitors.
In the past few weeks, I have traveled throughout the Northwest and Ozarks portions of Missouri — two vastly different and intriguing landscapes. I am always struck by how unique Missouri is and the variety of landscapes found throughout the state. Soybean harvest was in full swing, reminding me how important our state’s agriculture industry is to the state’s economy. Scattered throughout the farmlands were neat and tidy farmsteads with brilliant flame-red and orange maples glowing like beacons across north Missouri. Equally striking views were observed in my travels across the Missouri Ozarks, where the hills and hollers were aglow with the colors of the many species of hardwood trees, contrasted by the spires of short-leaf pine. Running though this vivid landscape were the sparkling waters of Alley and Blue springs and the silver ribbons of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. These natural gems are reminders that Missouri has significant natural resources. Our forests and woodlands, streams and rivers, and vast productive farmlands are vital to Missourians’ cultural, emotional, and economic health.
Travels across Missouri always compel me to think about the future of Missouri’s natural treasures. Also, there is nothing like a life-changing event such as the birth of one’s first grandchild and grandson. Such events spur one’s thoughts about that child’s future, especially as they relate to adventures in Missouri’s great outdoors. What will that child get to experience in the natural world? What is our generation’s responsibility to ensure the citizens of the next generation have abundant forest, fish, and wildlife resources?
We know Missouri has much to offer in natural resources. Our state is blessed with fertile soils, abundant fish and wildlife resources, sparkling rivers, streams and springs, two mighty rivers, and productive forests and woodlands. More importantly, Missourians have consistently shown they are committed to natural resource conservation. However, many Missourians have told me they know the 21st century will present many pressures
and many challenges for our state’s vital natural resources. This citizen awareness is shared by your Conservation Department.
Your Conservation Department acknowledges it has the great responsibility
of ensuring Missourians enjoy abundant forest, fish, and wildlife resources
now and in the future. To that end, the Department has invested significant
effort with partners, landowners, and citizens to plan for sustaining the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife resources for today and tomorrow. The collaborative planning efforts have identified priority places where habitats and landscapes will provide the best opportunity to sustain grasslands and prairies, forests and woodlands, and rivers and streams so that Missourians will continue to have the opportunity to enjoy these natural treasures.
By working with landowners, outdoor enthusiasts, and the agriculture community, we, together, can invest conservation resources in a manner that our children will be able to have great outdoor experiences. They will hear the whistle of waterfowl wings and see a smallmouth bass jump out of the water as they paddle a canoe down a clear stream. By investing conservation resources in priority places, they will have the opportunity to see that magnificent white-tailed buck as he slips through the autumn woods or hike to majestic views in Missouri’s varied landscape.
Yes, in my nearly four-decade career in natural resource conservation, I have noticed how the world and our state have changed. However, Missouri’s future is very bright because Missourians have demonstrated time and again they care deeply about their resources. Knowing this, I have great hope that my first grandson will have many great outdoor adventures in Missouri (and did I mention I have our first float, fishing,
and hunting trips planned?).
Thank you, Missourians, for your commitment to conserving and wisely investing in your forest, fish, and wildlife resources for our citizens of today and tomorrow.
Tom Draper, deputy director
Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Managing Editor - vacant
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler