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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Region
Graves Mountain State Forest
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Graves Mountain State Forest is a picturesque haven in the heart of nature, offering an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and breathtaking scenery. This forest is characterized by its diverse ecosystem, encompassing rugged mountains, lush valleys, meandering streams, and dense woodlands. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of the forest as they embark on scenic hikes, horseback rides, or mountain biking adventures, all while being surrounded by a variety of wildlife and vibrant flora. In addition to its natural splendor, Graves Mountain State Forest also provides camping and picnic areas, ensuring visitors can fully embrace the tranquility and serenity of this enchanting destination.
History of the Area
Graves Mountain State Forest is located in the southeastern part of Missouri and has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. Here is an overview of its historical significance:

1. Native American Settlement: The region around Graves Mountain State Forest was home to native American tribes, including the Osage and Shawnee. These tribes relied on the natural resources offered by the forest for sustenance, shelter, and spiritual practices.

2. European Exploration: The area was explored by French explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries, who sought access to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. They established trading posts and interacted with the native tribes in the region.

3. The French and Indian War: During the mid-18th century, the French and British both sought control over the Mississippi River Basin, leading to conflicts between these colonial powers. The outcome of the war resulted in the cession of this territory to the British.

4. American Settlement and Exploitation: Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, American settlers started moving into the area around Graves Mountain. They utilized the forest for logging, mining, and farming purposes. Minerals like lead, zinc, and iron were extracted from the land, contributing to the industrial growth of the region.

5. Conservation Efforts: Recognizing the need to conserve its natural resources, Missouri established the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1937. Graves Mountain State Forest was acquired by the state a few years later in 1940 as part of the state's efforts to preserve and manage its forests for future generations.

6. Recreational Development: Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, Graves Mountain State Forest has been developed for recreational purposes. Hiking trails, camping areas, and picnic spots were established, making it an outdoor destination for locals and visitors alike.
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Area Campgrounds
Big Creek RV Park/ Arcadia Meadow Campground LLC
47247 Missouri 49
Annapolis, MO

1. Start by heading towards Salem on Highway 72.
2. From Salem, continue east on Highway 32 for approximately 9 miles.
3. Look out for a sign indicating Graves Mountain State Forest and turn left onto County Road EE:550.
4. Follow County Road EE:550 for about half a mile until you see another sign directing you to the entrance of the forest.
5. Turn right at this junction and proceed down the gravel road that leads into Graves Mountain State Forest.

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Missouri State Parks