Because the area is located near a population center of 100,000+ people, its 2,200 acres are heavily used by many persons for every type of outdoor activity which is suitable to the area.
The terrain is extremely rugged due to strip mining, which occurred prior to acquisition by the Department. The mined area has broad ridge tops and generally steep slopes. Approximately 1,150 acres were strip mined with the balance of the acreage being oak-hickory forest cover and upland fields. One field of 25 acres is mainly bluestem prairie. Approximately 70 percent of the strip mined area has been planted with a mixture of trees and shrubs. The remaining areas were seeded with fescue which developed into excellent ground cover on the seeded area, but is not very favorable for wildlife.
There are over 60 lakes or ponds of significant size, which have a total surface area of 116 acres. The largest lake is over 50 acres. In addition, there are over 30 smaller (less than one acre) pools, some of which hold water the entire year.
Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area was purchased by the Department in March, 1979 for a purchase price of $379,000. Prior to acquisition, the land was owned and mined by Peabody Coal Company, from 1963 until 1972. According to a 1917 edition of a topographical map (Sturgeon Quadrangle) there were 15 residences on the tract at that time.
Two very old cemeteries exist on the property and the names on the headstones reflect past local history. There are Browns' buried in one of the cemeteries that were connected with Brown's Station a few miles away. Some of the stones date back to the middle 1830s.
The area had been row cropped where possible, and where not possible, livestock were grazed. No evidence exists to show that the landowners excluded their timber from grazing. There is evidence that fires of moderate intensity occurred periodically throughout the timbered stands. What is more evident are stumps which remain as examples of the landowner's desire to salvage his timber in front of the steady onslaught of the great earth moving coal machine. A few pockets of larger trees escaped this fate.
A ramp has been installed for boating access to the large lake, and a fishing dock designed for wheelchair access is located on the big lakes north shore.
The areas firearms shooting range receives year-round use.
- Sunday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 04:00 AM - 10:00 PM
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 105 Title; Authority
Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code applies to this area. The information provided reflects regulations for most activities on this conservation area but does not contain regulations for all possible uses. For more information on area regulations consult the Wildlife Code or call the phone number listed for the area in the area details section.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 110 General Provisions
Unless specifically authorized, the following activities are prohibited: swimming, sailboarding, skateboarding, entry on areas closed to the public, removal of water, rock collecting, planting, ranging of horses and other livestock, caving, rock climbing, rappelling, paint-balling, scuba diving, water skiing, and fires outside of designated camping areas.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 115 Closings
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 135 Wild Plants, Plant Products, and Mushrooms
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 130 Vehicles, Bicycles, Horses, and Horseback Riding
Unless otherwise posted, bicycles are allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic. Bicycles must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or on multi-use trails posted as open to bicycles. Groups of 10 or more people using bicycles on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.
Equestrian use is allowed on roads open to vehicular traffic. Horses must stay on roads open to vehicular traffic or on multi-use trails posted as open to horses. Groups of 10 or more people using horses on a department area must obtain a special use permit from the area manager. The area manager can be contacted at the phone number listed in the area details section for this department area.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 140 Camping
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 150 Target Shooting and Shooting Ranges
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 120 Pets and Hunting Dogs
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 180 Hunting, General Provisions and Seasons
Hunting is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to hunting. To determine the hunting regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code at https://www.sos.mo.gov/cmsimages/adrules/csr/current/3csr/3c10-11.pdf.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 145 Tree Stands
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 155 Decoys and Blinds
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 125 Field Trials
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 200 Fishing, General Provisions and Seasons
Fishing is prohibited on some conservation areas, but allowed on others. Special regulations may apply to fishing. To determine the fishing regulations for this conservation area, consult the Missouri Code of State Regulations in Chapter 11 of the Wildlife Code.
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 160 Use of Boats and Motors
7912 - 3CSR 10-11 - 187 Trapping
Things to Do When You Visit
Muzzleloader and Archery
Archery and Firearms
Special Use Permit
Rifle or Pistol