Points of Interest:
- See an unusual stand of mature cedar and white oak.
- Examine highly weathered outcrops of Eminence formation dolomite.
Natural Features Description:
This natural area was designated as a Society of American Foresters natural area back in 1964 for the forest cover type known as Type 48, Eastern Redcedar-Hardwood. The society then had a natural area program that was started in 1947, decades before the Missouri Natural Areas Program. This site was later entered into the Missouri Natural Areas Program in 1977. Here you will find large mature red cedars growing together with mature white oaks. Nearby is an old house site and former agricultural fields in the Current River bottoms. It is likely that this unusual stand of red cedar and white oak originated after being cut over by early settlers.
Pioneer 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 natural area is most easily accessed from the Current River by canoe. From Round Spring access float down stream for about 8 miles to the confluence of Big Creek and the Current River. Park your canoe on the south side of Big Creek. Hike up and over a ridge (a quarter mile) to the north boundary of the natural area. From Big Creek it is about 4 miles downstream to the Jerktail Landing access. The access points are managed by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Hunting is permitted on the natural area. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.