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Published on: Aug. 17, 2010

Walking on a Trail

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Trail Building

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Playing in Leaves

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Turkey Hunting

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Planting a Seedling

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We all play a role in shaping the future of Missouri’s forests. Just as trees and the habitats they live in contribute in many ways to our quality of life, the actions we take in our everyday lives impact our forests.

Our connections to the forest are often not direct or obvious, but they are significant. They include the choices we make as consumers, the way we teach and raise our children, whether or not we recycle and the manner in which we manage our property, whether a small yard or large acreage.

We can improve our forests more dramatically by performing actions that directly benefit them. Following, you’ll find a number of ways that people can impact our forests. What may be the most important suggestion, however, is for people to get out in the forest and get acquainted with it. It’s a simple fact that we prize and protect what we use and enjoy.

Enjoy Missouri’s Forests

Recreation in the forest helps restore our connection, appreciation and understanding of the natural world. Natural, wholesome recreation also helps to cement family ties, so be sure to include your kids.

Missouri offers many opportunities to get out into our trees and forests. Trails wind through Missouri woodlands. Some of the trails are challenging, some are easy. They are available for a variety of uses, including hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as walking.

The less adventurous may prefer taking drives through forested areas to see trees flowering in spring or to observe fall colors. Or, you might visit your local park for a family picnic.

Missouri’s rivers are another pathway into forests. Floating, fishing or just visiting a gravel bar to read for a few hours in a lawn chair or to wade in the water are great ways to enjoy the quiet beauty of the woods. The woods also offer tremendous opportunities for camping, hunting, wildlife watching, berry picking and much more.

Use Missouri Forest Products

Conservation-minded consumers try to follow the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. However, the consumption of forest products harvested sustainably also helps support healthy forests and wildlife habitat. In fact, forest products are often much more environmentally friendly than alternative products.

For instance, it is more sustainable to install oak hardwood flooring grown in the Ozarks than to install a bamboo floor that had to be shipped all the way from

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