Columbia Bottom visitor center changes days of operation April 1

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Saint Louis
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SPANISH LAKE, Mo. — The visitor center at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake will permanently adopt new days of operation starting April 1. The visitor center will be open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The visitor center will be closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Hours for all outdoor activities on the area itself will remain unchanged.  Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is open from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset daily except for authorized hunting and fishing activities, as well as launching and landing boats.

Visitation records show very low use of the visitor center on weekends, as most of the area’s public use is centered on fishing, wildlife viewing, launching boats, hiking, biking and visiting the confluence.

“With such low traffic in the visitor center on weekends, it didn’t seem productive to continue staffing it during those times.  The new Monday through Friday days of operation will enable us to better serve local school programs through the week,” said Colleen Scott, Columbia Bottom interpretive site manager.  Columbia Bottom Conservation Area frequently serves as an educational resource and field trip destination for area schools.

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.