Places to Go: Shawnee Trail CA

By Larry Archer | October 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: October 2021
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Shawnee Trail Conservation Area

Historic crossroads returns to prairie

Once a crossroads for the migration of Native American tribes, settlers moving to the southwest, and cattle drives heading from Texas to railheads in Missouri, Shawnee Trail Conservation Area (CA) is now more likely to be the crossroads of hunters, anglers, and birders.

Located on 3,635 acres in southwest Missouri’s Barton County, Shawnee Trail CA is undergoing a decades-long transformation from farmland to prairie, said Shawnee Trail CA Manager Nick Burrell.

“It was mostly farmed ground when MDC got it,” Burrell said. “And then in the last 20 years, it’s been slowly replanted into prairie reconstruction.”

With roughly half of the area returned to some level of grassland or prairie, wildlife has responded, making Shawnee Trail a great place for hunting, especially deer, turkey, quail, and small game, or for birding, including many grassland species.

The area’s several small lakes and ponds, many the remnants of early 20th century strip mining, also provide opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and waterfowl hunting, he said.

“It has nine marshes on it — small marshes,” he said. “They total up to 40 acres. We manage those to create some waterfowl and wading bird habitat every year. And at times, there’s a lot of waterfowl.”

This Issue's Staff

MAGAZINE MANAGER
Stephanie Thurber

EDITOR
Angie Daly Morfeld

ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Larry Archer

PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR
Cliff White

STAFF WRITERS
Bonnie Chasteen
Kristie Hilgedick
Joe Jerek

DESIGNERS
Shawn Carey
Marci Porter

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Noppadol Paothong
David Stonner

CIRCULATION MANAGER
Laura Scheuler