COLDWATER STATE FOREST
Coldwater State Forest, nestled in the heart of Missouri, is a picturesque wonderland of serene beauty and natural abundance. Spanning over vast acres of unspoiled wilderness, it captivates visitors with its dense forests, rolling hills, vibrant wildflowers, and crystal-clear streams meandering through the landscape. The forest offers a plethora of recreational activities for nature enthusiasts, including hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, peaceful campsites that invite stargazing under a canopy of stars, and opportunities for wildlife sighting, making it a haven for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With its tranquil ambiance and thriving biodiversity, Coldwater State Forest is a sanctuary for those seeking solitude, adventure, and a deeper connection with nature.
Coldwater State Forest is located in southeastern Missouri and is known for its scenic beauty, rich history, and diverse wildlife. The forest is spread across Iron and Reynolds counties and covers an area of approximately 1,827 acres.
The history of Coldwater State Forest dates back to the early 20th century when the land was heavily logged by the St. Joe Lead Company. The company's activities not only resulted in large-scale deforestation but also led to soil erosion and degradation of the ecosystem. Recognizing the need for reforestation and habitat restoration, the Missouri Conservation Commission acquired the land in the mid-1930s.
Under the guidance of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which operated during the Great Depression era, the Coldwater State Forest underwent significant development and restoration efforts. The CCC built infrastructure such as roads, trails, firebreaks, and bridges, which are still in use today. Additionally, they implemented methods to combat soil erosion, planted thousands of trees, and established wildlife habitats, thereby rejuvenating the forest ecosystem.
Throughout its history, Coldwater State Forest has been actively managed for sustainable forestry practices, conservation, and recreational activities. The forest now serves as a valuable resource for timber production, wildlife habitat preservation, biodiversity conservation, and outdoor recreation.
Visitors to Coldwater State Forest can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. The forest is home to diverse wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, squirrels, rabbits, songbirds, and various reptiles and amphibians. There are also two small lakes within the forest, Coldwater and Hazel Creeks, providing opportunities for fishing and boating.
Coldwater State Forest stands as a testament to the successful restoration and conservation efforts undertaken by the CCC and later by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It showcases the importance of sustainable forest management and preserving natural landscapes for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.