Points of Interest:
- Explore bottomland forests and Ozark fens that support unusual plants.
- Keep your eyes peeled to see the 16 species of dragonflies and damselflies found here.
- See a stand of overcup oak, a species more common in southeast Missouri than the Ozarks.
Natural Features Description:
In the Ozarks fens occur where mineral-rich groundwater hits a confining layer such as sandstone and then percolates out onto the ground. This cool water saturated in calcium and magnesium ions creates a unique microenvironment. The cool, moist conditions of the fen harbor plant species more common to the upper Midwest and Canada. These include inland sedge, bristly stalked sedge, and leafy bulrush – species considered to be glacial relicts. Showy fen wildflowers include cowbane, golden ragwort, and orange coneflower. The fens and associated springs and rich forest provide habitat for the western slender glass lizard, four-toed salamander, southern red-backed salamander and the western slimy salamander. The bottomland forests along the South Prong of the Little Black River are a good place to hear or see a pileated woodpecker, Acadian flycatcher, northern parula, and Kentucky warbler.
Head east on Highway 160 from Doniphan and then turn left (north) on to Highway 21. Follow Highway 21 north for about 6.5 miles and turn right (east) onto the gravel entrance road. Follow the gravel road, staying to the left at the “Y” intersection, and proceed for almost a mile. The road goes down the ridge into the floodplain of the South Prong of the Little Black River. Park along the road and consult a map for accessing the natural area which is nearby. Hunting and fishing are permitted. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.