Visitor Center at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area to close as public contact office Jan. 1

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Saint Louis
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SPANISH LAKE, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will close the visitor center at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake as a public contact office beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The rest of the conservation area will remain open for outdoor use year-round during normal operating hours, which are a half hour before sunrise until a half hour after sunset.

MDC has assessed public use of Columbia Bottom and determined it is centered mostly on outdoor activities like fishing, hunting, river access for launching boats, birdwatching, and nature/wildlife viewing. Staff has observed over time that there has been decreasing traffic in the visitor center itself, including attendance at conservation education programs. MDC staff will still provide select programs unique to the area at Columbia Bottom, but have already relocated the bulk of conservation education programs to Tower Grove Park with significantly higher public engagement opportunities.

“Columbia Bottom continues to be an important urban conservation area, especially being located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and we hope all our visitors will continue to enjoy the benefits of being out in nature on the area in every season,” said MDC St. Louis Regional Administrator Julie Stone.

MDC staff will continue to be housed in the visitor center to easily facilitate area maintenance, habitat management for bottomland wildlife and waterfowl, managed hunts, and to offer outdoor recreational opportunities for the public.

MDC purchased this 4,318-acre tract in 1997 to create an urban conservation area. The area has more than 6.5 miles of river frontage, about 800 acres of bottomland forest and a 110-acre island. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is located at 801 Strodtman Road in north St. Louis County. The area can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately three miles.