Columbia, Mo. — Backpacking is a great way to get away from it all and reconnect with nature. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) allows walk-in camping at over 100 protected areas statewide. Here are six places to backpack in central and northeastern Missouri. The following nature reserves offer, among other things, hiking trails and beautiful landscapes:
Before you travel to a nature reserve, you should consider the following:
- Camping on these plots is free and requires no reservation. Groups of 10 or more must apply for a special use permit. Go to https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4q9 to learn more about camping in conservation areas.
- Download the MO Outdoors app. Track locations in nature reserves with this free app. Downloading area maps on this app before exploring an area is a good idea in case cellular service is disrupted. This app is available for Android and Apple devices. Learn more about MO Outdoors online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z7e.
- Bring a paper map of the area and a compass for backup. Paper maps are available from MDC regional offices and MDC area brochure boxes, and MDC area maps can be downloaded by searching https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z9o.
- Share any outdoor plans with other people.
- Go with a friend or a group to learn the ropes.
- Many nature reserves are in remote locations. Bring everything you need for the trip, including drinking water.
- Check the region’s website to make sure there are no closures. Some of these areas are closed to walk-in camping during gun deer and turkey season.
- Stays are limited to a period of fourteen (14) consecutive days in any thirty (30) day period.
- Keep fire contained and supervised. Know how to prevent wildfires from happening while camping.
- Unpack all trash and practice the “leave no trace” camping ethic.
Visit the MDC website at mdc.mo.gov to learn more about conservation camping.
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September 16, 2022 at 9:45 p.m
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