Discover Nature in Missouri this week as you look for new areas to explore. Missouri is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts or just plain folks who enjoy a walk in the woods. With more than 1,000 Missouri Department of Conservation areas, including nature centers, fish hatcheries, natural areas and shooting ranges, you can pursue your favorite outdoor activity close to home or across the state.
To help you discover these areas, the Conservation Department has the MDC atlas which enables you to browse your MDC public lands and all their amenities online. You'll find lots of places to camp, hunt, fish, float, hike, ride your horse or bike, bird, gather mushrooms, photograph wildlife, picnic and discover nature with your family.
There’s also a Natural Areas Directory on the Missouri Conservation web site. Some extra special areas to discover are Missouri’s Natural Areas. Natural areas represent some of the best, and last, examples of the state’s original natural landscape, each offering a shining example of Missouri’s outstanding biological and geological features. While hiking through a natural area you can observe rare plants and animals that would have been familiar sights to Native Americans or explorers such as Lewis and Clark.
Natural areas are defined as natural communities or geologic features that represent the natural character, diversity and ecological processes of Missouri’s native landscapes. Natural communities are groups of plants and animals and the landscapes they inhabit that occur repeatedly throughout the state such as forests or prairies. You can also sign up for the Natural Areas Newsletter.
Whether your interest is in nature study, birding, hiking, fishing, hunting, or photography, there is a designated Missouri natural area out there to explore and enjoy your favorite low-impact outdoor recreational activity at.