Rural Missouri - February 2014 - (Page 16)

O U T D O O R S C by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop abin fever's got you down. The couch bears the distinct impression of your backside. Your kids suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder. It's time to get outside. But where do you go when your "Back 40" is measured in feet? Fortunately, Missouri is home to thousands of acres of adventure on public lands open to all. You can lose yourself in a wilderness area, hunt wild game, search for rare flora and fauna or camp in comfort just about anywhere in the state. Keep in mind that public land is well marked, with signs showing where the public use areas begin and end. Anything outside these areas is privately owned. Venturing onto private land is trespassing. Never enter private land without permission. Enjoy your time on Missouri's public lands, but be sure you treat them with respect. Remove your trash, follow regulations and try your best to leave it the way you found it. You've got land Missouri is home to acres of adventure on public lands Most people think of camping or rustic lodging when it comes to state parks. The system offers more than 2,000 structures, 3,500 campsites and 194 cabins. However, increasingly the parks are becoming nationally recognized for the nearly 1,000 miles of trails. These trails include opportunities for hikers, backpackers, bicycle riders, off-road vehicle users and horseback riders. The system also boasts the 240-mile-long Katy Trail State Park. It's never been easier to plan your State Park experience thanks to an interactive website. Here you can reserve campsites, browse parks and historic sites or search for events. The Nature Conservancy 314-968-1105 www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/missouri The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 145,000 acres in the state. These areas include streams, vast forests in the Ozarks and a sea of prairie grass in north Missouri. There are 12 ecologically important areas in Missouri that are protected through The Nature Conservancy's efforts. Its crown jewel is the Grand River Grasslands project, which seeks to restore more than 70,000 acres of tallgrass prairie. This includes Dunn Ranch near Hatfield, where you can see bison grazing on the lush grass and hear prairie chickens booming among vibrant wildflowers. Check the website for field trips and other events held at Nature Conservancy sites. Mark Twain National Forest 573-364-4621 www.fs.usda.gov/main/mtnf/home With more than 1.5 million acres of land, Missouri's only national forest has plenty to offer. Most of this rugged and scenic landscape is in southern Missouri, but there's also a small piece in central Missouri. The forest boundary includes 19 natural areas that protect unique natural communities. It also boasts seven wilderness areas, The rugged Taum Sauk section of the Ozark Trail is just one of many Ozark National Scenic Riverways defined as places "where man himself is a visi- places where you can enjoy public land in Missouri. 573-323-4236 tor who does not remain." www.nps.gov/ozar/index.htm The National Forest Service also manages the Eleven Point River, which is designated a "wild tive centers. Each offers its own list of what you can The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first and scenic river." There are 14 floatable streams do. In addition, the department manages many pubnational park formed to protect a river system, in within the Mark Twain National Forest, along with lic lakes for small towns across the state. this case the Current and Jacks Fork. Besides these 16 lakes ranging in size from 3 acres to 440 acres. two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of It would be impossible to list all of the outdoor U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites. opportunities the Mark Twain National Forest offers. www.fws.gov (search for Missouri refuges) While most people enjoy this park system for its However, some of the most popular are the recreclear, fast-flowing waters, there's more here than ation areas such as Logger's Lake near Bunker. Abundant wildlife and world-class recreation awaits floating. The Riverways offers seven developed Hunting is another pursuit allowed here. In fact, you on wildlife refuges managed by the U.S. Fish & campgrounds, along with several less-developed the national forest is one of the finest places in MisWildlife Service. Missouri is home to eight national backcountry campgrounds located along the rivers. souri to hunt for those who don't own land. wildlife refuges, ranging from the 10,000-acre Swan Big Spring near Van Buren - one of the largest Lake Wildlife Refuge at Sumner to the 21,000-acre springs in the world - is the centerpiece of a park Missouri Department of Conservation Mingo National Wildlife Refuge at Puxico, which that also offers fine dining in a stone lodge in sea573-751-4115 includes Missouri's largest remaining swamp. son. Tours of the working Alley Mill are one highwww.mdc.mo.gov Wildlife is the focus for these refuges, and migratlight of this area near Eminence. ing birds outnumber human visitors here by the Please note that the federal budget sequester has There are more than 1,000 areas owned or managed thousands. forced many closings on this national park. Check by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It can While most Missourians know about the larger the website or call for the latest info on Ozark be a daunting task to discover all that the departrefuges, the USFWS also plays a role in conserving National Scenic Riverways facilities and events. ment has to offer. the nation's fisheries from its Neosho National Fish However, an online Conservation Area Atlas that Hatchery in southwest Missouri. The nation's oldest The Ozark Trail can be found on the department's excellent website operating federal hatchery has raised more than 130 573-436-0540 will help you sort it out. Look for "Places to Go" different species of fish over the years. Fishing is not www.ozarktrail.com under the Discover Nature tab on the homepage. allowed here, but it is at most of the other areas. MDC's mission is to protect and manage MisThe Ozark Trail's 390 miles cross some of the best souri's fish, forest and wildlife resources. Its public Missouri State Parks scenery in Missouri An intuitive website will help lands reflect that mission with a huge assortment of 800-334-6946 you plan trips ranging from just a few miles to more area types. For example, the department manages www.mostateparks.com than 140 miles long. Some sections are multi-use boat access ramps. State forests ensure there are trees trails open to mountain bikes or horses. for future generations. Missouri's state park system contains 87 state High-quality maps of most sections are now availNatural areas showcase Missouri's original parks and historic sites. Within more than 200,000 able and can be ordered from the trail's website. You landscape while protecting what is often the best acres available to the public, the state park system also can find updates on trail conditions, informaremaining geologic features or rare plants and aniincludes homes of famous Missourians, Civil War tion on trail-building events and trip reports on the mals. There are MDC managed shooting ranges, fish battlefields and cultural landmarks such as mills and forum at www.ozarktrail.com. hatcheries, wildlife management areas and interprecovered bridges. 16 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/missouri http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mtnf/home http://www.nps.gov/ozar/index.htm http://www.fws.gov http://www.mdc.mo.gov http://www.ozarktrail.com http://www.mostateparks.com http://www.ozarktrail.com http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2014

Rural Missouri - February 2014
Contents
Comments
Columns
Ministering to motorists
A mid-winter read
Fighting more than fires
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Metal & music
Honest Abe
Hearth and Home
The Missouri Dinosaur
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - February 2014

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