Places To Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: July 2019

Kansas City Region: James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area

Fishing, hiking, biking, and more in suburban Kansas City.

By Larry Archer

Residents of metropolitan areas tend to expect a wide range of options in dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation. Fortunately for Kansas City area residents, James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area (WA) offers that diversity for those wishing to get outdoors.

Located on 3,084 acres south of Lee’s Summit in Jackson County, Reed Memorial WA offers variety that should meet the needs of those looking for the outdoor experience.

Included in the landscape are 12 lakes, ranging from 1 to 42 acres, making the area a popular summer spot for casting a line, said Rick Bredesen, wildlife management biologist and Reed Memorial WA manager.

“Fishing is probably the number one activity for the area during this time period,” Bredesen said.

With a trail network totaling nearly 20 miles, hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians can all find an opportunity to get outdoors, he said.

The majority of the fishing lakes are located in the northern two-thirds of the area, while the lower third is more reminiscent of the prairie grasslands that once covered much of the state, including many grassland bird species and a wildflower presence.

“Flowers are blooming in July,” Bredesen said. “People come out to take pictures of them along with birds and butterflies that utilize those grassland areas.”

James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area consists of 3,084 acres in Jackson County.

From Lee’s Summit, take Highway 50 east 1 mile, then SE Ranson Road (Route RA) south 0.75 mile to the area entrance. 816-622-0900

What to Do When You Visit

  • Bird-Watching Included in the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at James A. Reed Memorial WA is available at
  • Boat Rentals Rentals available on Gopher Lake. Privately owned boats or other floating aids (belly boats, tubes, etc.) are not allowed.
  • Camping Youth group only; special-use permit required.
  • Dog Training and Field Trials Special-use permit required for field trials.
  • Fishing Black bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish, and trout
  • Hunting Deer by managed hunt, regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey booklet for current regulations. Also dove, rabbit, and squirrel.
  • Shooting Range 28-point walking archery course; six static targets.
  • Trails 15 miles of multi-use trails (hiking, biking, and horseback); 3 miles of hiking only.
  • Trapping Special-use permit required.

What to Look for When You Visit

  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Prairie kingsnake
  • Grasshopper sparrow
  • Upland sandpiper
  • White-tailed deer

This Issue's Staff

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