Places To Go

James A. Reed Wildlife Area

Pack up your tackle and head down the trail to one of James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area’s (WA) many fishing lakes. Located in Jackson County, this diverse 3,083-acre area features 650 acres of woodlands along with hundreds of acres of grassland, wetland, cropland and old fields.

The area’s 252 acres of lakes and ponds, ranging in size from 1 to 42 acres, make for a lovely landscape and great fishing. Most fishing lakes contain good populations of largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, green and redear sunfish, and bullheads; and striped bass hybrids have been stocked in several lakes. Two boats are available for rental and use on Gopher Lake, James A. Reed Memorial WA’s largest body of water. The area also provides outdoor learning opportunities with Prairie Hollow Lake, a reservation-only lake for educational group activities, and Honker Pond, a kids-only fishing spot.

If you’d rather exercise your legs than your casting arm, try taking in the scenery on one of James A. Reed Memorial WA’s trails. The area boasts 15 miles of multiuse trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding, along with the 2.5-mile Shawnee Trace Nature Trail for hiking. You can even take a rest after a day of exploring with a comfortable picnic at a table shaded by one of three on-site pavilions.

While no general camping is permitted, James A. Reed Memorial WA offers a reservation-only primitive campsite for organized youth groups with special-use permits. The area also offers excellent hunting in season for deer, dove, small game including squirrels and rabbits, and some waterfowl. Waterfowl hunting at James A. Reed Memorial WA is available by reservation only. Archery hunters can pack in their bows and practice on site at a 29-station archery range.

Interpretive displays throughout the area give visitors a look at the habitat present and various management practices in use, such as native grass and shrub plantings and crop fields that provide year-round food and cover for wildlife.

James A. Reed Memorial WA is located 1 mile east of Lee’s Summit on Ranson Road, 1 mile south of Highway 50. As always, visit the James A. Reed Memorial WA website for an area brochure and map.

—Rebecca Maples, photo by David Stonner, 24–70mm lens • f/5 • 1/500 sec • ISO 200

Recreation opportunities: Archery range, bicycling, bird watching, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting in season, trapping and youth camping

Unique features: This area features 12 fishing lakes or ponds, a 29-station archery range, 15 miles of multiuse trails and three pavilions for comfortable outdoor picnicking.

For More Information: Call 816-622-0900 or visit mdc.mo.gov/a5501.