CHILLICOTHE, Mo. – A winding road uphill and down through autumn foliage and a chance to hobnob with Smokey Bear awaits those who visit the 33rd annual fall driving tour at the Poosey Conservation Area. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host the tour from noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the area northwest of Chillicothe in Livingston County.
Smokey Bear is celebrating his 75th birthday and the fire-wise sage will be present for photos with his fans. MDC will also feature presentations on the role of fire in forest, woodland, and grassland ecology. Fire helped shape Missouri’s original natural ecosystems. Today, fire used with planning and care in a prescribed burn can benefit wildlife habitat and forage management in pastures. Wildfire, though, remains a danger to people and wildlife. Experts will be present to talk with visitors about prescribed burns and how to prevent wildfires.
The annual Poosey driving tour allows visitors to drive on roads not normally open to the public for vehicle traffic. Vehicles with high clearance are recommended. The route’s gravel roads wind through steep hills and deep valleys with a few shallow stream crossings. MDC’s Poosey area also has trails, lakes, and ponds for visitors to enjoy. At one stop along the tour route, hikers can follow a short trail to the limestone overhang known as the Panther’s Den. Anglers can try their luck at Pike’s Lake or Indian Creek Community Lake or one of the area’s ponds.
The tour begins at Pike’s Lake. An entrance to the lake is reached off Route W and County Road 502. Gates open at noon and the last vehicle will be allowed to begin at 4 p.m.
For tour information, contact MDC Resource Forester Samantha Anderson, 660-646-6122. Maps and information about Poosey Conservation Area are at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZSS.
To learn more about conservation in Missouri, visit http://www.mdc.mo.gov.