Points of Interest:
- Explore a small slice of a more primeval southeast Missouri – a cypress and tupelo swamp.
- Practice your tree identification skills with over 25 tree species found here including many restricted just to the southeastern lowlands.
- Listen for the sounds of the prothonotary warbler carry across the swamp.
Natural Features Description: This area lies along the floodplain of the St. Francis River and is frequently flooded from the winter through middle or even late summer. This level of flooding and soil saturation is only habitable to flood-tolerant tree species such as bald cypress, water tupelo, pumpkin ash, swamp cottonwood, and water elm. Although the topography is nearly flat there are some slight elevation rises that support trees less tolerant of such constant flooding – the rare Nuttall’s oak, swamp chestnut oak and sweetgum. This area was logged in the early 1950s but many large, old cypress and tupelo remain and thankfully the forest has recovered since that time. The area provides habitat for prothonotary warbler, yellow warbler, wood duck, and swamp rabbit (a species of conservation concern).
This natural area is within Ben Cash Memorial Conservation Area. From Senath, head north on Highway A for four miles. Then turn left (west) on to County Road 513 (gravel). Follow the gravel county road west for 2.5 miles at which point the road turns left and heads south. Here you will see the area entrance sign and parking lot. Access to the natural area often requires a boat during high water and to cross the ditch that forms the eastern boundary. During late summer and fall the area is often dry enough for decent foot travel but a canoe may still be needed to cross the ditch. A map and compass are recommended to explore the area. Hunting and fishing are permitted.