As temperatures drop and daylight hours diminish, many individuals retreat indoors instead of seeking the great outdoors.
I can admit that I am guilty of this, but not for long.
There is something special about this season that calls me out of my winter slumber and back into nature.
On those rare (yet wonderful) sunny and “warm for a winter day” moments, I can often be found in one of Missouri’s conservation areas.
Recently, I found myself watching frost slowly melt away as the sun worked its magic at Little Prairie Conservation Area.
As I observed the process, it clearly hit me that there is a reason that humans have worshipped the sun throughout the history of mankind.
This conservation area is home to William E. Towell Lake. Mr. Towell was born in St. James in 1916 and played a critical role in forestry and conservation.
He was the director of Missouri Conservation Commission from 1957-67, the executive vice-president of the American Forestry Association, and contributed to numerous conservation boards.
He also was a part-time employee for the U.S. Forest Service. Later in life, he served as a private forestry consultant for various governmental agencies and professional organizations.
It is only fitting that the lake at Little Prairie Conservation Area is named in his honor.
Little Prairie Conservation Area is located in Phelps County, between Rolla and Mr. Towell’s birthplace of St. James. Simply take Historic Route 66 (also known as the northern outer road) that runs parallel to I-44 between the two towns.
Head north on RA a short distance and the conservation area will be on the left-hand side.
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There are two main entrances to Little Prairie Conservation Area, both of which are paved and offer a vault toilet along with ample parking.