This small Gasconade County area offers opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature study near a spring-fed stream and seep.
Mint Spring Conservation Area, purchased in 1981, is managed to preserve its natural seep and provide the public opportunities for viewing and studying flora and fauna native to oak-hickory forest. Nearby natural springs keep the small creek and waterfall flowing all year, even during periods of drought. Due to the area’s small size of 43 acres and proximity to nearby residences, it is not open to hunting of any kind.
The area is almost entirely woodland or forest, composed of oak and hickory, except for the sandstone glade in the northwest corner. Forest thinnings have been conducted to improve the health and vigor of trees left standing. Removing small trees and stimulating the forbs, wildflowers, and warm-season grasses already present has opened the sandstone glade. Typical wildlife on the area includes deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and a wide variety of songbirds.
Mint Springs Seep Natural Area is also found on the property. A seep is a naturally occurring wet place where groundwater reaches the surface from an underground aquifer. Many parts of Missouri have karst topography, or soluble limestone or dolomite, that allows for the drainage of water underground into a system of groundwater aquifers. In spring, when the seep at Mint Spring is at maximum flow, the bottomland becomes saturated and branches into several small streams. Various springs upstream from the property feed the stream that flows year-round, and they all eventually feed the Bourbeuse River.
Mint Spring is open to the public from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Facilities include a parking lot and a footpath to the spring-fed waterfall. Just north of this conservation area is Mint Spring Access, which provides a boat launch to the Bourbeuse River. The ramp can accommodate a vehicle and trailer, but this portion of the river is fairly shallow and best navigated by canoe.
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