MDC offers tips for safely viewing April 8 solar eclipse in the Ozarks

News from the region
Published Date

WEST PLAINS, Mo. – If your plans for viewing the celestial alignment on April 8 include visiting the Missouri Ozarks, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is reminding you to respect nature’s natural beauty, and to always practice safe habits while traveling.

Suitable viewing locations include:

  • Fourche Creek Conservation Area
  • Mudpuppy Conservation Area
  • Peck Ranch Conservation Area

“The public can access conservation areas as they normally do and are welcome to utilize parking available to enjoy the eclipse,” said MDC Regional Administrator Sarah Medlock. “However, access to conveniences like restrooms and water will be limited, so users should plan accordingly.”

Be Safe, Prepared, and Patient

  • Wear appropriate glasses. Ensure that the solar eclipse viewing glasses you have are authentic and properly rated. MDC will not be suppling authentic and properly rated glasses.
  • Please be prepared with food, water, sunscreen, chairs/blankets, etc.
  • Follow the regulations for any area you visit. Be aware that non-paved surfaces may be unsuitable for parking.
  • Drive cautiously and stay alert; do not pull over to watch the eclipse from the roadside, which could cause accidents, as many roads have blind corners. Pulling off roadsides could cause vehicles to get stuck and block traffic flow, since many roads have very little shoulder area.
  • Pulling off in tall grass could also potentially cause a wildfire if the vehicle’s exhaust system is hot enough and the grass is dry enough.
  • Bring a paper map in case you need to find alternate routes and find yourself in an area without good cell reception.
  • Pack out what you pack in – bring garbage bags along with you to appropriately dispose of trash, in a dumpster or at home later, in case you are in an area with no trash cans or the ones at your site are full.
  • After the eclipse, you may want to stick around for a while to avoid any traffic jams that could occur.
  • Prepare for unprecedented crowds in and around the area of totality on and before April 8.

Viewing Details in West Plains

  • Start: 12:37 p.m.
  • Totality: 1:54 – 1:57 p.m.
  • End: 3:13 p.m.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for many of us,” added Medlock. “My hope is that everyone can find a safe place to combine a little nature with this unique experience.”

Groups planning to visit a conservation area are required to submit a special use permit. This can be completed online at

For an easy-to-navigate guide to areas near you, download the free Mo Outdoors app, through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices. Find this and other mobile apps online at