Thursday, December 26, 2013

LaBarque Conservation Area Doubles in Size

It was news to me that the 639-acre LaBarque Creek Natural Area, with its 3-mile trail, had three parcels added that make a total of 1,274 contiguous acres forming the LaBarque Creek Conservation Area. The Missouri Conservation Dept. says that a "natural area" is an area untouched by development, one that shows visitors native Missouri landscape; in this case the oak-and-hickory, creased and pitted Eastern Ozarks. By contrast, a "conservation area" might once have been farmed or otherwise used, but is now protected from further "development."

So when the hiking group went off-trail to explore the new acreage on a cloudy, cold Christmas Day, I went along. From the trail, down the rugged slopes we bushwhacked to the streambeds, some with icy water or pools (pictured) but mostly intermittent and full of stones, and bright-green moss. We found unexpected glades (already undergoing red-cedar removal), one impressive cliff, several small or narrow waterfalls, and much quiet woodland.

Don't bring your kids. It was heavy going -- one mile per hour. The new parcels link the Natural Area to the soon-to-be but not-yet-open Don Robinson State Park, for a total of more than 2,100 acres of new public land. I picked the right place to live, I did, because none of this was conservation land before I moved here. It's all about protecting our precious 6.1-mile creek, the mighty LaBarque, habitat of many wonderful Ozark-type creatures whom you have met on my pages, some of whom I've personally hosted in my house.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

That's great news!