Jamerson C. McCormack Conservation Area is in central Holt County, about five miles northeast of the junction of the Missouri-Kansas-Nebraska state lines. Mound City is five miles north of the area, and Loess Bluff National Wildlife Refuge borders the area to the west. The area can be reached via I-29 to Loess Bluff exit, then three miles south on Highway 159.
This conservation area was created in 1966 with a gift of 158 acres to The Nature Conservancy from Jamerson C. McCormack. The land was later leased to the Conservation Department. In 1977 Jamerson C. and Carson McCormack donated 67 acres to the Department, increasing the area to its present 227 acres.
Prevailing winds during the last glacial period deposited wind-blown soil into mounds nearly 100-feet thick on this area. Called "loess," this soil is characteristic of the Missouri River bluffs in this vicinity. Erosion of mounds of wind blown loess soil well over 100 feet deep has created a steep and rugged landscape.
The western portion of the area is a designated Missouri Natural Area. Loess hill prairies found on the ridgetops here support eight plants at the edge of their range. Listed in the Missouri Species of Conservation Concern Checklist, these plants are more common on the arid Great Plains 100 or more miles to the west. The main hill prairie on the area is upslope to the left of the field road through the area and contains over one-half dozen plant species that are state listed species of conservation concern.
Controlled burning and selective cutting are management techniques used to help control woody species invading these prairies.The area is open to a wide variety of uses compatible with resource management.
The north end of this hill prairie provides a dramatic overlook of Loess Bluff National Wildlife Refuge and views are especially impressive as flocks of snow geese enter and leave the refuge in late November/early December and again in late February/early March.