Located 30 miles from downtown St. Louis, this St. Charles County area provides a great way to escape the fast pace of urban life and reconnect with nature.
The 6,987-acre August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area offers lots of wide-open space and outdoor opportunities for spring. The nearly 25 miles of public roads throughout the area provide easy access to nature. There are 28 fishing lakes and several smaller walk-in ponds scattered across the area that provide fishing opportunities for a variety of species. Deer and turkey hunting opportunities are also available through the Department’s managed hunt program. In addition, small game hunting opportunities for rabbit, squirrel, and dove abound. The Busch Area is also a wonderful place to bird, with a recorded 265 species that use the area for nesting, overwintering, or as stopover habitat during migration. Mushroom hunting also piques theinterest of many users each spring — a few prized morels can be found by those with good eyes and a little luck. A self-guided auto tour is available and takes visitors through the area to several locations including lakes, trails, and historic features. Another attraction is the newly renovated Archery Range Complex, which contains seven shooting positions ranging from 10 to 40 yards, an ADA-accessible elevated shooting platform, and two 14-target walkthroughranges. Other activities visitors may enjoy are wildlife viewing, outdoor photography, or simply an escape from the urban landscape.
One reason for excellent hunting and wildlifeviewing opportunities is Busch’s diversity of habitats, including woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, and agricultural fields. Many of the woodlands have become overrun by bush honeysuckle, an invasive plant, but managers are using a variety of methods to help reduce its spread. Once the bush honeysuckle is controlled, woodlands are thinned and burned topromote the growth of a diverse mix of plants that attract deer, turkey,small game, songbirds, and insects.
The Conservation Department purchased the Busch Area in 1947 with help from a donation by Mrs. August A. Busch, Sr., as a memorial to her late husband. The property was previously owned by the federal government and used by the Army during World War II as a trinitrotoluene (TNT) munitions plant to support the war effort. One hundred of the old TNT storage bunkers still stand on the area today.
—Raenhard Wesselschmidt, area manager
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
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Circulation - Laura Scheuler