“Staycation” is a word that became popular several years ago and, due to budgetary belt-tightening, is still part of many families’ summer-planning vocabulary.
However, just because you’re cutting back on travel mileage doesn’t mean you have to cut back on viewing pleasure. If you’re looking for a day-trip or an afternoon hike that’s rich in nature-viewing opportunities but cheap on the gas tank, look no further than your nearest Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) area.
The Springfield Conservation Nature Center in Springfield is the Department of Conservation site that immediately comes to mind for many area walkers. In the quarter-century the Nature Center has been open, millions have trod the facility’s trails and enjoyed its outdoor beauty. The Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area, just off of Highway 76 in Branson, is another popular, and well-walked, MDC-owned hiking area.
But these two sites aren’t the only Department of Conservation areas where people can hike. Many people may not realize that a number of MDC areas known for their hunting opportunities have trails, too.