Walk off the turkey and trimmings at MDC Kansas City conservation areas

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – The Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving by dining outdoors. Indoor feasting works better for most folks these days. But the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests that getting outdoors can be part of the holiday fun. Nothing walks off turkey and pumpkin pie like a good hike amid fresh air amid natural scenery.

Late-autumn hikes have advantages. Insects are few. Terrain and natural details can be seen when foliage is gone. Wildlife is more visible. Plus, if the weather cooperates, cooler temperatures can be quite refreshing. Rainbow trout fishing at one of the urban lakes MDC stocks in partnership with local communities is another option.

In the Kansas City area:

  • The trails system at MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center and Conservation Area in Blue Springs offers variety. Six trails from a half mile to a mile and a half in length take hikers through forest, woodlands, and grasslands. They range from easy to moderate in walking difficulty. Two trails are paved paths and others are gravel. The Nature Center building will be closed on Nov. 25 and 26, but the conservation area and hiking trails will be open. Check out the area’s details and maps at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zt7.
  • MDC’s Parma Woods Shooting Range provides target practice opportunities for pistol and rifle shooters. However, another feature of the area is a forest trail leading away from the range in the wooded Missouri River hills. It’s a worthy walk for those who like to explore. https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZHM.
  • The James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area at Lee’s Summit has winter trout fishing in two lakes, a hiking trail, and places to explore the autumn woods and fields. https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z9j.
  • MDC’s Cooley Lake Conservation Area east of Liberty has multiple options. An oxbow lake provides a chance to see migrating waterfowl. A ridge offers hiking in forest and woodland, and the northern part of the area has a walkable service road. There is also a Missouri River access south of Missouri 210 bordered by river bottom forest. https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zjt.
  • The Platte Falls Conservation Area near Platte City has service roads closed to public vehicle access but open for foot traffic. Migrating bald eagles are sometimes spotted along the Platte River there as they look for fish or waterfowl. https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zt8.
  • Rural Missouri: MDC has a wide variety of conservation areas and fishing accesses. To find one near you, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z9o.

MDC conservation areas provide a chance to get outdoors and enjoy nature in all seasons. Always check an area’s rules and regulations, study maps and boundaries. Leave no trash behind. Please be courteous to the other hunters, birders, anglers, and hikers who use these areas.

Add to the holidays with a trip to Missouri’s scenic and wild natural places.