Wetlands replace battlefields in former Civil War hotbed.
by Larry Archer
The bluffs at Settle’s Ford Conservation Area (CA) — once used by Union troops to spot approaching Confederates — now offer views of incoming waterfowl taking advantage of the area’s wetlands.
Located on 7,363 acres in southern Cass and northern Bates counties, Settle’s Ford CA includes a mix of South Grand River bottomlands and upland grasslands. The designated hiking trail, which runs almost 5 miles on the area’s western side, takes hikers through a variety of landscapes, according to Wildlife Biologist Brian Bokern, Settle’s Ford CA manager.
“You get a little bit of everything, from bottomland hardwoods to crops to old fields and prairies,” Bokern said.
Whether visitors get a good look at the area’s 14 wetland management pools, and the waterfowl that use them in the fall, depends on if the weather has been cooperative, he said. “Our wetlands are opportunistic, so I can’t pump ’em.
They’re dependent on Mother Nature,” he said. “If it’s a dry year, we don’t have much. People come out here and they’re like, ‘Where is the water I saw last spring? It says on the map it’s supposed to be here, and it looks like it’s a dry field.’”
“Dayton, which is a mile north of our headquarters, was the hub for the Missouri Guard at the time, which is why they burned it down. This whole area was kind of a hotbed during the Civil War.”
—Settle’s Ford CA Manager Brian Bokern
Settle’s Ford Conservation Area consists of 7,363 acres in Bates and Cass counties. From Creighton, take Route B west 4 miles, then Index Road south 1 mile to the area’s main entrance.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
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