Outdoor Recreation

Scout it Out

Opportunities for Everyone

  • Name: Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
  • Location: Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is in North St. Louis County. Take the Riverview Drive exit from I-270, then go north on Riverview about 2.5 miles.
  • For more information: visit our online atlas and search “Columbia Bottom”

Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is a shining example of the Department of Conservation’s commitment to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy the outdoors. It features the disabled-accessible Howard and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center, hiking trail system and much more.

Located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Columbia Bottom is ideal for big-river fishing. A wide, gradually sloping, concrete sidewalk provides easy access to the disabled-accessible Missouri River fishing pier.

The area’s eight exploration stations enable you to view and learn about the many habitats within the CA. A paved trail to the exploration stations includes several entry points to let visitors set the length of their excursions. An accessible deck offers a view of the confluence. Plans are in the works to add an accessible wetland boardwalk and hunting blind.

Get details on conservation lands throughout Missouri that provide quality outdoor opportunities for persons with disabilities from the free booklet Disabled-Accessible Outdoors. To receive a copy by mail, write to MDC Disabled-Accessible Outdoors, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180 or e-mail pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov

New Deer Permit for Youth

Firearms antlerless permits in participating counties

Youth ages 6 through 15 who are not hunter education certified will have more opportunities to hunt deer in Missouri. This fall they can purchase Youth Firearms Antlerless Deer Hunting Permits. The new permit entitles a youngster to harvest one antlerless deer during any portion of the firearms deer season. It must be used in the immediate presence of a properly licensed, hunter education certified adult. The $7 permit is valid in counties where antlerless permits may be filled. For details on the new permit, read the Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

Wheelin’ Exclusive

Dove hunt for hunters with disabilities

Hunters with disabilities can enjoy exclusive use of Ten Mile Pond Conservation Area Sept. 2 at the National Wild Turkey Federation and Department of Conservation sponsored Wheelin’ Sportsmen dove hunt. NWTF volunteers serve as guides and help hunters get to and from the field and retrieve downed birds. Hunters should arrive at Ten Mile Pond CA headquarters at 6 a.m. with their small-game and migratory bird hunting permits and hunter education certification cards. For reservations, call Larry Neal, (573) 334-8881.

Missouri’s dove hunting season begins Sept 1. For details on season regulations, conservation lands where you can hunt and the dove status report, see the links listed below.

Feathered Fascination

Turkey Vultures

The turkey vulture could be the Rodney Dangerfield of the bird world. It gets no respect. People tend to avoid it because of its looks and feeding habits, but those who take time to learn about turkey vultures will find the birds play an important role in nature and are an interesting species to study.

Turkey vultures are named for their featherless red heads that resemble the heads of wild turkeys. The vulture’s naked head aids in its personal hygiene, preventing the problem of feathers getting soiled when it feeds. Its body feathers are blackish-brown. The flight feathers on its wings appear silvery-gray underneath. The bird’s ivory-colored, hooked beak is useful for tearing flesh.

Some call turkey vultures nature’s garbage collectors because they cleanly and efficiently dispose of dead animals. They can eat up to 25 percent of their body weight. The non-aggressive birds have good eyesight and, unlike most birds, a well-developed sense of smell that helps them locate food.

Turkey vultures are among the most graceful birds in flight. They are experts at static soaring, the same flight technique used by hang gliders. Large, broad wings help them soar for long periods. Air rising from the sun-warmed earth and updrafts above hills and bluffs keep vultures aloft for hours without a single wing beat.

Trails on Conservation Areas

Nature Centers offer naturalist and self-guided hikes.

Take an urban nature hike at a conservation nature center. The Department of Conservation’s five nature centers have many miles of trails you can walk to enjoy the outdoors. Each nature center offers naturalist-guided hikes on which participants learn about native plants and animals. Self-guided trails include:

  • Burr Oak Woods’ Discovery Trail which features interpretive signs and an overview of a mature oak-hickory forest.
  • The Cape Girardeau center’s "White Oak Trace" has stunning views of the rolling river hills, sinkholes and deep hollows of southeast Missouri.
  • Powder Valley’s Tanglevine Trail includes interpretive signage and is designed for persons with mobility impairments.
  • Runge nature center trail offerings include the Naturescape Trail, which provides examples of how to make the most of your yard with native and cultivated plants.
  • Springfield nature center trails traverse nearly 80 acres of the Missouri Ozarks and showcase nine different natural communities.

Flock of Birders

Missouri Bird Conservation Conference Aug. 24–25

Find out how you can help lessen the negative impact of exotic, invasive species on native birds by attending the Missouri Bird Conservation Conference Aug. 24 and 25 in Columbia. The conference theme is “Dealing with Exotics.” There will be presentations on the impacts of exotic, invasive species and discussions on building habitat-based partnerships to address those issues. The Missouri Bird Conservation Conference is sponsored by the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative, a partnership of more than 40 organizations that care about birds. For information on the conference or MOBCI, visit online or call (573) 447-2249.