Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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Seeking Ozark Mountain High Leads To ‘Missouri Gravity Low’

Lots of sun and clear skies are essential for a comfortable canoe trip on a cold fall day, as well as a few restful stops as Don Corrigan takes here on the Current River.

by Don Corrigan

Forget a raging viral pandemic. Forget the raging political chaos. Forget the raised voices – the blame game and finger-pointing. This nature boy retreated to the wilderness of the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry in the Ozarks to forget the whole, tired, human mess for a little while.

And did I find peace of mind on the waters of the Current River in a land bereft of cell phone reception?

No. Not at all. I discovered a giant crack in the Earth. I discovered an ancient rift known as the “Missouri Gravity Low.” It runs from northwest Missouri to southeast Missouri and is estimated to be a billion years old. It is part of a larger 1,700 mile “Crack Across America.”

If the “Missouri Gravity Low” ever gives way, we are all sunk. We will all be put out of our Missouri … I mean Misery. We will fall into a crack in the Earth that last saw a bit of activity in New Madrid in 1811-12. We could fall into what’s called the “Midcontinental Basement,” a fracture so deep, it might as well be halfway to China.

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“Trees of Treloar” Project To Bring Back A Bit of Yesteryear’s Natural Setting

Photo: Magnificent Missouri. Left to right: Bill Spradley, Dan Burkhardt, and Mike Rood.

By Don Corrigan

Missouri’s bottom lands were once filled with tall trees and abundant wildlife supported by a sprawling tree canopy. Much of this natural area has been replaced by rows of corn and soybeans.

An organization called Magnificent Missouri wants to bring back a bit of yesteryear’s natural setting. It’s a project called “Trees of Treloar” and will focus on planting native Missouri trees near the Treloar Trailhead of the Katy Trail north of the meandering Missouri River.

“The Trees of Treloar will become a place to promote Magnificent Missouri’s goal of reforesting areas along the Katy Trail by planting trees along the trail route. This will be done in cooperation with Forest ReLeaf,” said Dan Burkhardt, the force behind Magnificent Missouri. “Trail users will love the shade and beauty, and pollinators and wildlife will appreciate the new habitat.”

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Geologic Wonders Await Hikers at Hawn and Pickle Springs

Don Corrigan at Pickle Springs.

By Don Corrigan

State parks remain a good bet for safe fun in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. EE Editor Don Corrigan recently took a jaunt to Hawn and Pickle Springs state parks – with a reprieve from the hiking and climbing at the local wineries located west of St. Genevieve.

The number of hikers was limited in quantity on a warm, autumn weekday. Visitors observed social distancing warnings in the parks as they all wound down trails in their hiking boots and climbed rocks, outcroppings and bluffs.

Hawn State Park boasts miles of looping trails and is a backpackers’ paradise. The short, but rewarding, two-mile loop combination of Pickle Creek Trail and Whispering Pine Trail, is perfect for anyone looking to allow time to do several park excursions in one day in this wooded area between Farmington and St. Genevieve.
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Powder Valley Nature Center Closed Nov. 7-9 For Managed Deer Hunt

Photo courtesy MDC.

Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center and its grounds will be closed Saturday, Nov. 7 through Monday, Nov. 9 to accommodate a managed archery deer hunt on the area. During this time, the nature center building and grounds, including the surrounding trails, will not be accessible to the general public. Powder Valley will resume normal operational hours starting Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Visitors should note that while the trails will be fully accessible after the hunt, the nature center building will continue to be available for front desk access for information, gift shop sales and permit purchases only.

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Forest Park Forever Land Management Department Celebrates 15 years

Photograph by Jennifer Silverberg, courtesy of Forest Park Forever

St. Louis has a gem that most cities across the country can only dream of – Forest Park! Citizens of the St. Louis region have enjoyed festivals, concerts, plays, top class museums and the zoo, sports and outdoor activities, extraordinary scenery, quiet and tranquil spaces, wildlife, overwhelming amounts of photography opportunities and much more for decades.

The grounds of the park are an exquisite example of year round land management and maintenance. It takes thousands of hours and hundreds of volunteers and staff to maintain the grounds for the public’s enjoyment and learning opportunities.

Thank you to the Forest Park Land Management Department for 15 years of making our park a beautiful and healthy place for all to enjoy in every season of the year!

Read about the Forest Park Land Management Department, its history and legacy, in the Forest Park Forever online story “Partnership, Professionalism and Passion: Our Land Management Department Turns 15.”

 

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Preparing Students For Extraordinary Challenges at The College School in Webster Groves

All photos courtesy The College School.

by Don Corrigan

Most people agree we live in critical times and young people must be prepared for extraordinary challenges. Educators at The College School in Webster Groves say they are preparing students for those challenges – and they are putting money where it counts to make that preparation happen.

The school has invested several million dollars in a 28-acre LaBarque Campus in Pacific, Missouri. The project includes the 3,000-square-foot Jan Phillips Learning Center, which contains classroom, workshop, outdoor and community spaces. The project reflects concern for the environment, sustainability and entrepreneurship.

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Spring 2021 Anticipated Opening of the Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape In Forest Park

Forest Park Forever recently published an update on the construction of Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape  in Forest Park. Please continue below for the full announcement.

To the Forest Park community:

Forest Park Forever and our City of St. Louis partners are thrilled to share a special update about the 17-acre Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape under construction in Forest Park.

Since spring 2019, the site has transformed from just mowed grass into natural landscapes with native and diverse plant species, water-based activity areas and more. The destination features nine distinct activity areas — including Mounds, a Spring, a Meadow, a Wetland and more — and a series of accessible paths and boardwalks between them. Visitors, especially children, will connect with nature and engage their senses as they explore, discover and learn.

Forest Park Forever and our City partners are anticipating a late spring 2021 opening of this remarkable new destination. Our teams will work together to ensure that the site opens to visitors with the proper health and safety protocols and guidelines in place.

Continue reading below for more details included in the project.

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Corrigan Comments On Recent Induction Into The St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

The St. Louis Media Hall of Fame Foundation recently posted on YouTube all of this year’s inductees, including Environmental Echo’s Don Corrigan.  A professor of journalism and long-time newspaper editor, Corrigan is introduced here by the Webster University School of Communications Dean Eric Rothenbuhler.

In his acceptance speech, Corrigan recalls his early years of journalism in grade school with his neighborhood newspaper. He ends his remarks with his interest in covering outdoor and environmental issues, from Times Beach to TMI radioactive rail shipments, to the radioactive waste problems such as those at West Lake and Coldwater Creek in the St. Louis region.

Corrigan also thanks the many inspirational women who have helped with his journalism projects over four decades.

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Grand Opening For Bridge at Bayless Avenue Celebrated at “2020 Life Outside Challenge”

Photo courtesy Great Rivers Greenway.

by Don Corrigan

Saturday, Oct. 10, was a big day for  Great Rivers Greenway. In Kirkwood, a “2020  Life Outside Challenge” was underway.  About 10 miles east on the trail network, a grand opening for a bridge at Bayless Avenue was celebrated.
 
“We had 20 challenge activities at the Kirkwood Trailhead in the categories of nature creativity and healthy play,” said Anne Milford, communications coordinator for the GRG. “The parking lot was filled with cars the whole time and there was a lot of buzz about heading east to the new bridge.”
 
Indeed, a sizable number of hikers, bikers and in-line skaters made the trip from Kirkwood to a new connector bridge over the River Des Peres. The new bridge connects the Gravois Greenway and the River Des Peres Greenway.

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NOW OPEN: MDC’s Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood!

Photo courtesy MDC.

Building admittance is currently limited to the front desk, but trails and grounds remain fully accessible to the public.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is now open for limited public access, following a COVID-19-related closure. The building’s operating hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., until further notice.

Powder Valley’s front desk is available to the public for information or gift shop and permit sales. Due to ongoing public health and safety concerns, the rest of the building, including the exhibit galleries and classrooms, are currently not accessible. To help minimize person-to-person contact, one person or family will be allowed into the building at a time.

The nature center’s outdoor spaces, including all trails, remain open and fully accessible to the public.

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