MDC's Jerome Access open to public at new site
ROLLA, Mo. – After several years of making headlines because of flood damage, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Jerome Access is back in the news for what it was meant to be known for – a scenic entry point to the Gasconade River.
This popular MDC access officially reopened to the public on Friday, Sept. 1. The main features of the new site, which is in Phelps County approximately 15 miles west of Rolla, are a paved parking lot with ADA accessible parking spaces, a half-acre gravel parking area that has 20 truck/trailer stalls, and a concrete boat ramp that provides entry to the Gasconade. The two-acre site also features opportunity for bank fishing.
Construction of the new Jerome Access began this spring. MDC’s partner in this $700,000 project was Twehouse Excavating Company, Inc. out of Jefferson City.
The new Jerome Access is at the confluence of the Little Piney Creek and the Gasconade and is slightly more than a mile south of the former MDC access of the same name. The old access had been closed to the public since 2017 when it received severe flood damage. However, 2017 isn’t the only time the former Jerome Access has been damaged by high water. In 2013 and 2015 it was also closed for extended periods due flooding events that wrecked the access.
Though the new Jerome Access isn’t far from its former location, it’s hoped that the new site will be less prone to flood events. Approximately 60 percent of the new site is above the FEMA-established 100-year floodplain. As a contrast, nearly 100 percent of the old site was within the floodplain.
Though all MDC stream access sites have characteristics which give each one uniqueness and value, there are several reasons why Jerome Access definitely falls into the category of “not just another stream access.” It provides entry to the Gasconade River, which has the reputation of being one of the world’s crookedest rivers. Rather than being a detriment, however, the Gasconade’s twists and turns are revered by those who float and fish this approximately 280-mile river. One highlight of Jerome Access is its proximity to MDC’s smallmouth bass management zone on the Gasconade. This special management zone stretches from the Highway Y Bridge in Pulaski County to the Highway D Bridge in Phelps County, a location that’s adjacent to the new Jerome Access. The new access is located in a portion of the Gasconade that also has good opportunities to catch popular species such as goggle-eye, catfish, and suckers.
People wanting information on other MDC accesses and fishing opportunities on the Gasconade River or elsewhere in the state can visit https://mdc.mo.gov/fishing/where-fish.