Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: September 2018

Southeast Region | Current River Conservation Area

Contributing to Missouri’s wild past, recreational present, and forest future

by Larry Archer

With access to its namesake— one of Missouri’s most popular floating waterways — miles of trails, two designated natural areas, wildlife viewing, and two shooting ranges, Current River Conservation Area (CA) has plenty to offer the perfect family fall vacation.

But beyond its amenities, Current River CA also played an important role in Missouri’s conservation history and continues to do so today. In the 1930s, the area’s white-tailed deer population was tapped to help restock depleted herds in other areas.

Along with Peck Ranch CA, the area constitutes a significant portion of the state’s elk restoration zone, said Steve Orchard,

Current River CA manager. “When MDC restocked elk at Peck Ranch, we did a bunch of habitat work here and beefed up our open-land management,” Orchard said. “A lot of people go to Peck Ranch part of the day and then over here part of the day.”

The area is also set to play an important role in the future of forest management. As one of two Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP) sites, the area is included in a 100- year study to assess the effects of different forest-management techniques on the forest and its inhabitants.

Current River Conservation Area

Current River Conservation Area consists of 29,291 acres in Shannon, Reynolds, and Carter counties. There are three entrances: 3 miles west of Ellington on Highway 106, on South Road in Ellington, and on Reynolds County Road 626.

What to Look for When You Visit

  • Summer tanager
  • Elk
  • Timber rattlesnake
  • Black bear

What to do When You Visit

  • Bird-Watching Included in the National Audubon Society’s Black River Watershed Important Bird Area ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Current River CA is available at
  • Camping Individual campsites. No amenities. Seasonal closures may apply. Fishing Bass, catfish, goggle-eye, suckers, sunfish
  • Hiking There is a 1.5-mile walking path from Deer Run Fire Tower to Buford Pond. Also, good hiking on area access trails.
  • Hunting Deer and turkey. Regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also squirrel. S
  • hooting Ranges Static archery range. Firearms range with 25-, 50- and 100-yard targets.

What to Look For when You Visit

  • Summer tanager
  • Elk
  • Timber rattlesnake
  • Black bear

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen

Staff Writer - Larry Archer
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