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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Southeast Region
Wilhelmina State Forest
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Wilhelmina State Forest, located in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas near Mena, Missouri, offers a captivating natural retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. This sprawling forest encompasses over 3,000 acres of diverse landscapes, boasting a mesmerizing mix of lush green pine trees, colorful wildflowers, pristine streams, and rugged hiking trails. Visitors can revel in an array of recreational activities, including camping, picnicking, fishing, and horseback riding, while the more adventurous find solace in exploring the rugged terrain and discovering hidden gems like the spectacular Rich Mountain Fire Tower, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenic beauty. With its serene ambiance and an abundance of wildlife, Wilhelmina State Forest serves as a tranquil haven for nature lovers seeking to immerse themselves in the serene charm of the Missouri wilderness.
History of the Area
Wilhelmina State Forest is located in Polk County, Missouri, in the United States. The forest is named after Wilhelmina Lodge, a historic lodge built in the 1930s that is now a part of the state park. Here is a brief history of Wilhelmina State Forest:

1. Establishment: The forest was established in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression. The CCC was a federal relief program that provided employment to young men while also focusing on conservation and reforestation efforts.

2. Logging and Reforestation: The forest was primarily established as a working forest, and logging activities took place within its boundaries. The area had previously been logged extensively, resulting in large portions of it being barren. The CCC implemented reforestation programs, planting thousands of trees to restore the forested areas.

3. Wilhelmina Lodge: As a part of the CCC's efforts, they built the Wilhelmina Lodge, a stone and log building, in 1936. The lodge served as a retreat and recreational area for the CCC workers, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

4. State Ownership: Following the completion of the CCC project, the ownership of the forest was transferred to the state of Missouri in 1941. It was initially managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and later became a part of the Missouri State Parks system.

5. Recreational Activities: Wilhelmina State Forest is now popular for recreational activities, especially hiking and camping. There are several trails within the forest, including the 8.5-mile-loop Butterfield Hiking Trail, which offers access to the surrounding Ozark Mountains and beautiful views.

6. Expansion: Over the years, the forest has expanded its land area through acquisitions and partnerships with adjacent landowners. The additional land has allowed for the preservation of more natural habitats and an increase in recreational opportunities.
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Wilhelmina State Forest is located near Poplar Bluff

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The Wilhelmina State Forest is located in the southern part of Missouri, near the town of St. Robert. To get there from Interstate 44, take exit 163 and head south on Highway Y for about 5 miles until you reach a junction with Route H.

Turn left onto Route H and continue driving for approximately 3 miles until you see signs indicating the entrance to Wilhelmina State Forest on your right-hand side.

Once inside the forest, follow the main road that winds through it. There are several parking areas along this road where visitors can park their vehicles before exploring different parts of the forest.

If you're interested in hiking or nature trails, make sure to stop by at one of these designated trailheads within Wilhelmina State Forest:

1. The Whispering Pines Trail: This moderate-level loop trail offers scenic views as it meanders through beautiful pine forests.
2. The Cedar Bluff Trail: A shorter but more challenging hike that leads up to an overlook offering panoramic vistas over surrounding hillsides.
3. The Oak Ridge Nature Trail: An easy walk suitable for all ages which takes hikers past various types of trees found within this diverse ecosystem.

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Missouri State Parks