Get out a map of Missouri and look at the bottom half of the map. You will see eight large areas of green space.
These are the eight units of the Mark Twain National Forest that are south of the Missouri River.
The Mark Twain National Forest has 1.5 million acres of public land in 29 counties in Missouri. Among the wide range of recreational opportunities are hiking, camping, horseback riding, floating, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and picnicking.
There are more than 350 miles of perennial streams and many semi-primitive and wilderness camping areas available that give visitors a variety of forest experiences.
The Mark Twain National Forest is the largest public land manager in the state with over 5 percent of the land base.
Purchase of the forest land began in 1933 and more land was added in the following years. Originally, some of the forest land units were called the Clark National Forest and other areas were the Mark Twain National Forest.
On July 1, 1973, the Clark National Forest was administratively combined with the Mark Twain National Forest and on February 17, 1976, it was absorbed by Mark Twain.
The Clark National Forest was named after Champ Clark, a former Missouri legislator and U.S. Congressman, not William Clark of the Lewis & Clark Expedition and first governor of the Missouri Territory.