Conservation Connection: Columbia Bottom 10th Anniversary

(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 and check out the Columbia Bottom page

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