Frost Island Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Wayland, take Highway 27 north 4 miles, then on an unnamed gravel road east 1 mile.


This area is largely old fields with forest, cropland, wetlands and prairie. Facilities/features: primitive camping and a permanent stream (Des Moines River).

About This Area

In 1996, seven tracts totaling 916 acres were acquired as part of the Emergency Wetland Reserve Program (EWRP), which was initiated after the flood of 1993 which lasted for 175 days. This flood damaged the area's farmland by depositing large amounts of silt and sand in some areas and scouring in other areas. Flood protection levees were not repaired to allow future flood waters to inundate the area and reduce flood damage downstream.

An adjacent upland tract and a small tract along the Des Moines River was purchased later to bring the area to its present size of 1,232 acres. The Des Moines River bounds the area on the north and east sides, providing two miles of river frontage. The lowland areas of Frost Island CA contain old crop fields, food plots, grass plantings, and some bottomland hardwood forest. The upland portion of the area is a high sandy terrace.

Unique natural features exist on the area. A natural oxbow slough, locally known as "McGuire's Hole," is on the area's south boundary. This naturally occurring wetland and adjoining sandy terrace is ideal nesting habitat for some rare or locally uncommon reptiles. The terrace also supports a small remnant sand prairie. The prairie hosts a variety of sand-adapted plants, a few of which are listed as rare in Missouri, and many others that are regionally uncommon.

Frost Island CA is managed to enhance some of the natural features including the restoration of wetland vegetation and hydrology, and expanding the sand prairie. Portions of the area are reverting naturally to willows and cottonwoods, expanding the riparian buffer along the river and the natural oxbow.

The open land is managed for upland wildlife such as quail, pheasant, dove, deer, and turkey. Management activities include burning, discing, haying, and cropping.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Camping - Primitive Area  Camping allowed on or adjacent to area parking lots. No camping along roadways. No amenities provided. 
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Except during all firearms deer and turkey seasons. 
Canoeing  Des Moines River  
Fishing - Catfish Good population.  
Fishing - Other Good population. Carp 
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 Good population. Click on link to dove management map (available in August). 
Hunting-Pheasant Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Fair population.  
Hunting-Turkey Fair population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Waterfowl-Open Hunting Fair population. On wetland units depending on fall precipitation. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Stream - Permanent Des Moines River 3.20 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Forest and Woodland 140.00  
Crop Land 142.00  
Wetland 51.00  
Old Field 882.60  
Grassland (non-prairie) 16.00  
Other 1.40  
Total Area Acres:1232.98 

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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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