St. Louis, Mo. — Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, located at the Confluence of North America’s two largest rivers, is celebrating a 10th anniversary. The area’s Howard and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center was dedicated on May 27, 2004. To commemorate the anniversary, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host “Ten Years, Ten Ways to Celebrate!”, a series of special free programs for the public on Sunday, May 4.
Columbia Bottom will offer a number of activities throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset, designed to help visitors discover the natural resources at the conservation area and learn about its heritage. These include:
- An early morning “golden hour” hike at the Confluence;
- A tour of the various habitats of the area, with binoculars and spotting scopes supplied;
- Hayrides scheduled between noon and 5:15 p.m.;
- Photo contest;
- A self-guided geocaching activity, with GPS units available for check out;
- Bike the Bottom, a naturalist-lead bike tour to explore regrowth and regeneration of Columbia Bottom after last year’s flooding;
- A birding walk along the River’s Edge Trail; and
- An evening sunset observance.
For a full schedule and starting times of activities, go to mdc.mo.gov/node/298. All activities are free, but some require preregistration. For more information or to make reservations, call 314-877-6014.
In addition, a special pictorial display, “A Barn Story”, will show the history of Columbia Bottom’s Howard and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center. The structure is based around the old barn that stood at the same spot on the area. The wooden post and beam skeleton from that original structure can still be seen in the current visitor center.
“There’s no better way to introduce Columbia Bottom’s resources than through this beautiful structure,” said Interpretive Center Manger Colleen Scott. “It has witnessed decades of ebb and flow near the Confluence of North America’s two greatest rivers, the Missouri and Mississippi.”
MDC purchased this 4,318-acre tract in 1997 to create an urban conservation area. The area includes a view of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, more than 6.5 miles of river frontage, about 800 acres of bottomland forest and a 110-acre island.
MDC is managing Columbia Bottom to create a mosaic of bottomland habitats that includes shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and prairie. These habitats attract a wide variety of resident and migratory wildlife.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road in north St. Louis County. The area can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately 3 miles.