Weldon Spring Conservation Area is in St. Charles County, near the town of Weldon Spring. The area is named after John Weldon, who came to this region in 1796 with a Spanish Land Grant for 425 acres. This acreage included the spring after which Weldon Spring is named.
During World War II, the federal government acquired almost 17,000 acres in the area for the construction of a munitions plant. In 1948, all of the property, except the munitions plant, was given to the University of Missouri for an agricultural experiment station. The original purchase by the Conservation Department from the University of Missouri was in 1978 for 7,230 acres. The current acreage for Weldon Spring Conservation Area is 8,398.
The acreage is divided into a very diverse array of habitats and natural features. The floods of 1993 and 1995 deposited sand over almost 1,000 acres of agricultural fields. This unique habitat provides almost 1,000 acres of valuable breeding, foraging, and nesting habitat for a variety of birds as well as habitat for other wildlife and invertebrate species.
The Weldon Spring Hollow Natural Area is 385 acres of upland and bottomland forest and rugged river breaks topography. Natural features include limestone cliffs and bluff escarpments. Another notable resource which is accessible from the Weldon Spring Conservation Area is the Katy Trail State Park. It passes through Weldon Spring Conservation Area and parallels the Missouri River for 5.3 miles.
Portions of the Weldon Spring Conservation Area were used by the Department of Army in the 1940's for TNT and DNT production and by the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1960's for uranium ore processing. The affected portions were all part of a federal environmental cleanup project and required to meet certain environmental health and safety standards. The area is now considered safe for all recreational pursuits allowed on the area, as well as the wildlife found within the area.
To find out more about the history of these activities on the area, you can visit the Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center located at 7295 Highway 94 South, St. Charles, MO, 63304.