Healthy Forests

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From Missouri Conservationist: Aug 2009

Our Glorious Forests

Big Creek CA

  • Size: 1,066 acres
  • Location: Just west of Kirksville, accessible via Highway 11, Boundary St. or West Michigan St.
  • Highlights: This area borders Thousand Hills State Park and provides the trail head for the hiking/biking trail on the park.
  • Find more info: explore our online atlas, keywords, "Big Creek".

Big Creek CA is a favorite location for birding enthusiasts from nearby Kirksville and Truman State University. The area’s forests, savannas and fields provide stop-over habitat for a variety of colorful warblers, as well as breeding habitat for rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, summer tanagers and yellow-breasted chats. Area managers use a combination of chain saw work and prescribed fire to restore approximately 400 acres to a savanna community, which is characterized by open, park-like tree spacing. As a result, wildflowers such as rattlesnake master, rough blazing star, leadplant and pale purple coneflower are flourishing. Permitted outdoor activities at Big Creek CA include fishing for bass, catfish and sunfish at several ponds and hunting for deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel and turkey during their seasons. Residents and visitors use the Big Creek CA’s nearly mile-long trail to access Thousand Hills State Park’s trail system and to pursue backpacking, birding and camping.

Storm Damage Report

Storms flattened 113,000 acres of timber in 36 counties.

No doubt about it, the violent storms of May 8, 2009, made quite an impression on Missouri’s Ozark forests. According to conservative estimates, about 204 million board feet of timber across 113,000 acres in the 36 affected counties received significant to severe damage. Most of the damage occurred in Reynolds, Madison and Shannon counties. The Missouri Forest Products Association conservatively estimated the value of damaged timber at $12,240,000. Up to twice as many acres of light damage are not included in these figures. The 204 million board feet of damaged timber is equal to one-third of Missouri’s annual timber harvest.

While the storm’s impact was severe, it serves as a reminder that periodic disturbance is a natural, even necessary element of sustainable forest management. Intense but infrequent disturbances open up swaths of forest to renewal and regrowth.

To get help coping with the storm’s damage, we recommend you contact a consulting forester and use a trained logger. The “Call Before You Cut” program at (877) 564-7483 can provide additional information to landowners considering salvage sales. For more tips on salvaging timber and a link to the Missouri Consulting Foresters Association, visit the link listed below.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler