The Missouri Department of Conservation is looking for public input on the future of three natural spots in Platte County.
The Kendzora Conservation Area north of Edgerton, the Little Bean Marsh Conservation Area north of Weston and the Dr. Frederick Marshall Conservation Area south and west of Platte City are all getting updates to their long-term master plans. These plans address issues of public access and long-term restoration and preservation of natural habitats and landscapes.
The Department of Conservation is responsible for preserving lands for public access to forests, fish, wildlife and other kinds of natural areas. While most areas have a plan in place, the department has been going through and updating the multi-year plans over the last several years.
Media Specialist Bill Graham for the Missouri Department of Conservation explains the primary purpose of each area varies based on how people use the spaces and what amenities they like to see.
The areas are meant to be wild, and focus primarily on preserving the natural landscape and habitats for wildlife. While some have trails and public fishing areas, those uses might not always be appropriate for other places better suited for hunting.
“We are forest, fish and wildlife,” Graham said. “We provide outdoor recreation in wild places, which is different than other state or county parks.”
The three spaces currently under review in Platte County cover 1,355 acres. They represent very different types of natural landscapes.
Kendzora is the largest at 746 acres. It offers fishing along the Platte River and in a 35-acre fishing lake. Kendzora includes both upland rolling hills and low-bottom land in old farm areas.
The 440-acre Little Bean Marsh includes a 167-acre area considered an original wetland natural habitat area that was never drained and farmed like many other marshlands. The area was referenced in the Lewis and Clark Expedition journals and is known for its bird populations.
The 169-acre Dr. Frederick Marshall Conservation Area, which also has frontage on the Platte River, was once a farmland, but has undergone a prairie restoration.
“It has some really large burr oaks,” Graham said. “We’ve restored the native prairie grasses around those Burr Oaks. That is what so much of Platte County looked like originally, a mixture of Burr Oaks and prairie grasses. It’s a restoration, but it’s really nice.”
The master plans for these spaces, which are available for viewing at the Missouri Department of Conservation website, generally focus on conservation and public uses.
The department updates them to keep current with best practices of conservation to benefit the wildlife, fish, forests and other native species, while keeping them accessible for people to use. Public input is an important part of the process.
“The public feedback is important because we want to hear from the people who use the areas and know what concerns they have,” Graham said. “Often, they have good ideas and suggestions.”
Drafts are posted for preview and a link for making comments is available at www.mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
The input process on the three Platte County areas will be open until Sept. 30, 2016.