CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a hike along the Mississippi River this weekend. February’s Conservation Destination is Seventy-Six Conservation Area (CA), in Perry County along the Mississippi River. MDC Cape Nature Center Assistant Manager Jamie Koehler, said to make reservations now for the Feb. 16 program. She said the group will meet at 8 a.m. at the nature center and finish up around 2 p.m.
“Seventy-six is a great place to hike,” Koehler said. “You always learn new things about an area by viewing it during winter.”
The group will hike along bluffs and through the forest at Seventy-Six CA, with views of the Mississippi River on much of the 3-mile hike. The trail difficulty is rated as moderate with some steep slopes. Participants will need to pack a lunch, bring water, and dress for the weather. Youth ages 12 and older are welcome to attend with an adult.
Koehler said there are options to ride with nature center staff to the area or for participants to drive themselves. Participants should make that distinction when registering in advance at www.mdc.mo.gov/southeastevents.
This area is characterized by steep forested hills with narrow ridge fields and deep hollows. Rock bluffs face some sections of the Mississippi River, which runs along the area for nearly two miles. Seventy-Six CA supports a mixed hardwood forest, with stands of trees, including oaks, tulip poplars and other species, ranging in size from saplings to majestic old growth.
The area serves as a demonstration area for forest and wildlife management techniques often recommended for implementation on similar or smaller tracts of land under private ownership. Timber harvests and forest stand improvement practices are an important part of wildlife habitat management. They produce forage and cover for many species of wildlife. MDC has planted food plots, native warm-season grasses and legumes to provide additional food sources for wildlife. The trail provides area users an opportunity to view these forest and wildlife management practices.
Seventy-Six CA is in eastern Perry County, at the end of Route D, approximately four miles northeast of Brazeau. From Perryville, take Highway 61 south 7 miles, at the south edge of Longtown take Route D east, then take Route C southeast and in Brazeau take Route D northeast until it ends at a gravel road. Follow this road into the area.