Missouri Department of Conservation – Ozark Regional Office
Points of Interest:
Scenic sandstone cliffs up to 25 feet tall line the Big Piney River.
Spring water cascades down sandstone bluffs most of the time.
A wonderful stop along a Big Piney River float trip.
Natural Features Description:
This stretch of the Big Piney River is habitat for the bluestripe darter and Missouri saddled darter, two species endemic to the Missouri Ozarks. This highlights the importance of maintaining good water quality in the Big Piney River as the global conservation status of these two fish species depends on how we treat our Ozark rivers. The sandstone bluffs that are nearly always moist from the springs above harbor nine species of mosses and liverworts that thrive in this microenvironment.
This 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 area can only be reached by boat. For a nice canoe trip, put in at the Baptist Camp Access (Missouri Department of Conservation) on the Big Piney River and float downstream a little over a mile and a half. Baptist Camp Access is not too far off of Highway 63. Look for the area on the west side of the river. The next Missouri Department of Conservation river access is about another six and a half miles downstream at Dog's Bluff Access, off Highway 17 west of Houston. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area. Fishing is permitted.