Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2014

Henry Sever Lake Conservation Area

Looking for a place to get away with the family and do a little camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, or horseback riding? This conservation area offers an array of activities for families in a peaceful, slow-paced setting in northeast Missouri.

The Original 747-acre purchase of the Henry Sever Lake Conservation Area (CA) property was made possible through a trust fund established by Henry Sever upon his death in 1941. Sever, a Knox County resident, had an appreciation for wild places and wished to preserve them. With his generous donation and subsequent purchases through the trust, the area has expanded to its current size of 1,115 acres.

When we think of conservation areas, we often think of fishing and hunting opportunities. Henry Sever Lake CA offers these activities and much more. The area has a 158-acre lake stocked with channel and blue catfish and holds one of only two muskellunge populations in northeast Missouri. Other fishing opportunities include crappie, bass, bluegill, and red-ear sunfish. Deer and turkey hunting are popular activities, and the area is one of the Department’s 19 Quail Emphasis Areas, or areas managed intensively to provide quality year-round habitat for bobwhite quail. Management activities on the area that help quail include prescribed fire, enhancement of edge habitat, timber stand improvement, food plots, and fescue eradication.

Henry Sever Lake CA has a campground on its east side with gravel camping pads, most of which have a fire ring and lantern holder. The area has a boat ramp, potable water, and a courtesy dock with a fish-cleaning station, a disabled-accessible fishing dock and privy, and a picnic pavilion. Bank fishing opportunities abound with easy access to the lake dam and three fishing jetties. Other privies are distributed throughout the campgrounds and access points around the lake, and five rental boats are available for a fee during summer months.

The area also has a 7.5-mile multi-use trail. This naturally surfaced trail is easily accessible from the campground for hiking and biking. Trail users will traverse native prairies, the lake’s edge, woodlands, forests, and old fields. This array of habitats offers an excellent opportunity to view wildlife. An area on the west side of the lake is designated for equestrian camping and trail access. A privy, five gravel pads, and high lines for tying horses are the only amenities provided in the equestrian area.

Holidays are often busy at Henry Sever Lake, but many times throughout the year, the area is relatively quiet and users can sit in a lawn chair and watch the sunset over the lake from the solitude of a campsite. Come get away from it all at Henry Sever Lake CA.—Darlene Bryant, area manager

Henry Sever Lake Conservation Area

  • Recreation opportunities: Bird watching, fishing, hunting, nature viewing, primitive camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing
  • Unique features: The area features oak and hickory forests, a 158-acre lake, native prairie, and woodlands.
  • For More Information: Call 660-785-2420 or visit

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Managing Editor - vacant
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Brett Dufur
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler