(KPLR) – Columbia Bottom Conservation Area is having a 10th Anniversary this May. The area’s Howard and Joyce Wood Education and Visitor Center was dedicated in May 2004. To celebrate the occasion, they’re having a special day of activities this Sunday.
Colleen Scott talked with John Fuller about all the fun things you can do at the celebration.
Q. Tell us a little about the history of the area
- Two towns attempted to start up in the area during the mid-1800s, Columbia and later St. Vrain . . . but no population information exists today
- Both had become ghost towns by 1870
- After that time the area was used to take advantage of its fertile farmland
- During the great flood of 1993, much of the land was covered by water
- Due to periodic flooding the area was condemned for conventional development
- MDC purchased this 4,318-acre tract in 1997 to create an urban conservation area
- Soon after it was opened for public use
- The visitor center was built and dedicated on May 27, 2004
- It was built on the same site as the famous old barn, and using some of the wood of the original structure
Q. What are some special features of Columbia Bottom?
- The area includes a view of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, North America’s largest rivers
- It has more than 6.5 miles of river frontage, about 800 acres of bottomland forest and a 110-acre island
- The area is a mosaic of bottomland habitats including shallow wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and prairie
Q. So how are you celebrating this Sunday?
- “Ten Years, Ten Ways to Celebrate!”—a full day of special activities
- An early morning “golden hour” hike at the Confluence
- A tour of the various habitats of the area, with binoculars and spotting scopes supplied
- Hayrides scheduled between Noon and 5:15
- Photo contest
- A self-guided geocaching activity, with GPS units available for check out
- Bike the Bottom, a naturalist-lead bike tour to explore regrowth and regeneration of Columbia Bottom after last year’s flooding
- A birding walk along the River’s Edge Trail
- An evening sunset observance
Q. Is there any cost?
- Everything is free, but some activities do require pre-registration
- Call 314-877-6014 to register or find out more
- Or go to MissouriCoservation.org and check out the Columbia Bottom page