A history of serving nature and people
Our work began in 1937, when citizen-led efforts created the Department to restore, conserve and regulate Missouri's over-stressed fisheries, forests and wildlife populations. During our first 40 years, hunting, fishing and trapping permits provided most of our funding, but in 1976 an expanded program, the "Design for Conservation," was passed to set aside one-eighth of one percent sales tax directly to the agency. That consistent funding, plus a strong, non-political structure and very supportive public helped make Missouri a national leader in conservation. Today we continue our legacy of protecting our state's wild resources and helping Missourians connect with their natural heritage. Our goal is to sustain diverse, healthy plant and animal communities–well into the future.
Read about our latest accomplishments in our annual report. The First 50 Years covers the Department's development from 1937 to 1987. Contact a local office if you want to get involved in Department efforts in your area.
State-managed lands for wildlife, communities and you
The Missouri Department of Conservation administers more than 975,000 acres located throughout the state. About 63 percent, or 615,000 acres, are forested.
The forest land occurs on a wide variety of sites and, as a result, there is a broad diversity of plant and animal communities present. Oak and hickory are the most common tree species, but other important species are also found, such as shortleaf pine, eastern red cedar, walnut, ash and cottonwood.
State forest land provides a variety of environmental benefits including wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, watershed protection, scenic beauty and wood products.