Points of Interest:
- Scenic sandstone cliffs up to 25 feet tall line the Big Piney River.
- Spring water cascades down sandstone bluffs most of the time.
- A wonderful stop along a Big Piney River float trip.
Natural Features Description:
This stretch of the Big Piney River is habitat for the bluestripe darter and Missouri saddled darter, two species endemic to the Missouri Ozarks. This highlights the importance of maintaining good water quality in the Big Piney River as the global conservation status of these two fish species depends on how we treat our Ozark rivers. The sandstone bluffs that are nearly always moist from the springs above harbor nine species of mosses and liverworts that thrive in this microenvironment.
This natural area is owned by the L-A-D Foundation (http://www.pioneerforest.org/, 314-621-0230), which is dedicated to sustainable forest management and protection of exemplary natural and cultural areas in Missouri. Leo Drey, one of Missouri’s outstanding conservationists, began the Foundation in 1962. The Foundation’s properties also include Pioneer Forest, where sustainable forestry is practiced on more than 150,000 acres in the Missouri Ozarks. Missouri’s Natural Areas Program owes much to the pioneering work of Leo Drey and the L-A-D Foundation.
This area can only be reached by boat. For a nice canoe trip, put in at the Dog’s Bluff Access off Highway 17 west of Houston. Roughly six and a half miles downstream is the natural area. Float down stream for another mile and a half and take out at Baptist Camp Access which is not far off of Highway 63. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area. Fishing is permitted.