Eponymous berries replaced by native nuts.
By Larry Archer
When it comes to huckleberries, people are more likely to find Huckleberry Finn or Huckleberry Hound as they are an honest-to goodness huckleberry at Huckleberry Ridge Conservation Area (CA).
“I have not found any,” said Cody Bailey, resource forester and Huckleberry Ridge CA manager, of the blueberry-like plant once thought to have existed in the area. “What I have found are Ozark chinquapin, a pretty rare species now.”
A native Missouri chestnut species, the Ozark chinquapin was devastated by blight throughout the state, but specimens can still be found on the 2,106-acre Huckleberry Ridge CA in McDonald County. The area’s network of multi-use trails cutting through its primarily wooded landscape provides visitors plenty of opportunity to find the rare tree, but its geography can make it a demanding search, Bailey said.
“There are a lot of steep hills that go up and down, so you’re going to either need to be in good shape yourself or make sure your horse is in good shape,” he said. “The terrain is really steep, but it’s well worth it when you’re getting a variety of hardwoods and a mixture of shortleaf pine habitat as you travel throughout the trails.”
“I think the area as a whole is probably overlooked a bit. They don’t realize how deep into nature you can get just going on the trails and being out in McDonald County in general. It’s a lot of really great terrain, and most people don’t realize how nice it is out there until they’ve been there for the first time, and then it quickly becomes one of their favorite places.”
—Huckleberry Ridge CA Manager Cody Bailey
Huckleberry Ridge Conservation Area consists of 2,106 acres in McDonald County. From Pineville, take Route K east 4 miles.
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber
Art Director - Cliff White
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler