Range, access road reopen at Ranacker Conservation Area

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FRANKFORD, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has reopened access to the north part of Ranacker Conservation Area, including access to the shooting range. Construction of a new bridge on the access road is now complete, replacing an old low-water crossing over Peno Creek.

Construction crews worked through the winter and spring to replace a low-water crossing with a new bridge that carries the north access road over Peno Creek. That bridge project is now complete, and the access road to the shooting range has reopened.

“We thank area users for their patience while we installed these important infrastructure improvements,” said MDC Wildlife Management Biologist and Ranacker Conservation Area Manager Mike Flaspohler. “This new bridge provides more dependable access for area users, especially during heavy rains when the creek rises rapidly.”

Additionally, replacing the low-water crossing with a bridge structure allows for better passage of sediment and aquatic organisms within Peno Creek. 

“Home to 40 fish species, Peno Creek is one of the highest quality streams in northeast Missouri,” said MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Chris Williamson. “By removing artificial barriers [such as the old low-water crossing], fish are able to complete their natural upstream and downstream movements, ensuring sustainability of their populations. Natural movement of sediment ensures quality in-stream habitats and stream function are maintained.” 

Ranacker Conservation Area consists of more than 1,800 acres of timber, grasslands, agricultural lands, and old fields characterized by narrow valleys with numerous rock overhangs. Peno Creek traverses the northern portion of the area, providing more than a mile of stream frontage. The area marks a point where river hills break away from prairie, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, and bobwhite quail. Management of the area focuses on providing wildlife habitat by maintaining timber edges and old fields, prescribed timber harvest, and rotating agricultural crops.

The area also offers an unstaffed rifle and pistol shooting range, parking, camping, and an ADA-accessible privy.

Statewide, MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish, and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of an MDC conservation area.

For more information about access to Ranacker Conservation Area, contact Flaspohler at Mike.Flaspohler@mdc.mo.gov, or (573) 248-2530.