Poplar Bluff Forest
Points of Interest:
- Walk through stands of tall and large bottomland hardwood trees.
- Keep on the lookout for swamp rabbits, wood thrushes and American redstarts.
- Walk through a mixing ground of Ozark and Mississippi Lowland plant species.
Natural Features Description: This area features bottomland forest with a diverse mixture of tree species including basket oak, cherrybark oak, red maple, sweetgum and sycamore. Blue beech and pawpaw are common in the understory. Interesting wildflowers found here include spider lily, miterwort, and pink-root. On the hills surrounding the bottomland forest are dry cherty woods. A unique community, an acid seep, occurs at the base of one of the hills. A variety of sedges, royal fern, lizard’s tail and swamp wood betony can be seen here. Unfortunately over time the thick midstory of blue beech and red maple has shaded out the understory to the point that many oak species are no longer found in the seedling or sapling stages. The Conservation Department will be investigating how to regenerate and recruit into the canopy some oak species using low-intensity methods at this site to retain a component of oaks in the overstory.
This natural area is within the Poplar Bluff Conservation Area. From the intersection of Highways 60 and W in Poplar Bluff, head north on Highway W for nearly three miles. You will cross over the Black River and a set of railroad tracks. Just after crossing the tracks, turn right (east) on to County Road 542 (gravel). Travel east on 542 for about 1.5 miles (stay to the left at the Y intersection). Park along the side of the road and head south into the natural area. Note the seepage wetlands are quite fragile. Please walk only along the edge of the wetlands. Hunting is permitted on the natural area. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.