John F. Murphy Memorial State Forest and Wildlife Area

Driving Directions

From Wheatland, take Highway 54 east about 0.50 mile.


This area is mostly forested with upland woodland, forest, and glade communities. Facilities/features: primitive camping and intermittent streams.

About This Area

John Fisher Murphy had been a friend, student and protector of the land and conservation movement most of his life. In later years prior to retirement, he was actively involved as office manager of the Hickory County ASCS Office. This job, combined with his love for the land that had been in his family since the turn of the century and his close association with several farm foresters and conservation agents, resulted in the bequeath of this land to the Missouri State Conservation Commission.

Fisher, also known as Mike, was a small built Irish man. He was educated (a former teacher), well read and could converse on most any topic. He asked many questions and some of them were loaded questions. He had a sly sense of humor, but never used it to intentionally embarrass you.

Historical records show that the Cross Timbers (to Quincy) Spur Road of the Old Butterfield State Coach Line curved up the southwest of the tract. According to local stories, passengers took refuge in the caves during bad storms. Another legend tells that during the Civil War, an underground railroad to help slaves escape to freedom up north passed through this area. The Mansion, a two-story house used as a refuge for the slaves on their journey, stood on a farmstead about a mile west of the forest boundary. The slaves reportedly hid out in caves during raids and in other times of danger.

General Information




Owned by MDC

  • All caves on this and other Conservation Areas are currently closed or restricted to public access. The fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats was found in Missouri in 2010, resulting in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s White-nose Syndrome Action Plan that limits public access to protect bats. WNS can be spread from cave to cave by bats or possibly on the gear of explorers. Privately owned caves are not affected by this Plan.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  No amenities provided. 
Hiking  No designated trails 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit   

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   No amenities provided.  
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Stream - Intermittent Vanderman Branch 0.75 miles  
Stream - Intermittent  0.40 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Grassland (non-prairie) 10.00  
Glade 17.00  
Old Field 12.00  
Forest and Woodland 286.00  
Total Area Acres:325.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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