HARTSBURG — People going to the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival this weekend will have the opportunity to explore a new conservation area, as well.
The Missouri Department of Conservation plans to lead tours Sunday of the Hart Creek Conservation Area, which includes a scenic overlook of the Missouri River. The department’s goal is to show people the outdoor opportunities of Hart Creek, said Corey Gregg, the conservation area’s manager.
There are camping grounds just off the Katy Trail; a scenic overlook of the Missouri River bottoms; crops; a small fishing pond, deer, dove and small-game hunting; small streams for amphibian habitats; and a two-mile hiking and biking trail through a oak-hickory forest that Gregg said is “loaded with wildlife and provides good bird-watching opportunities.”
The 657-acre area was acquired through two purchases. A 574-acre chunk was bought in 1997 from Vernon and Alta Fay Renner. The rest was obtained from John W. Shettlesworth in 2000, Gregg said.
The piece of land was attractive to the Department of Conservation because of its potential for wildlife management, easy access from Jamerson Creek Road, its proximity to Hartsburg and its access to the Katy Trail, Gregg said.
Once all the land was obtained, construction began by removing hazardous buildings, renovating the trail, posting signs and making the area suitable for public use, he said. Since the area was purchased, hiking and bike trails have been renovated, trails have been maintained to help stop erosion and a scenic overlook was built.
Recently, a bridge over Jamerson Creek was built because of difficulty in accessing the area, Conservation Department forester Ann Koenig said.
Over the last several years, sunflowers were planted in the fields for doves and gold finches, Koenig said.
Gregg and Chris Doran, who manages the land by mowing, planting food plots and clearing the trail, will lead the tours..