Woodson K. Woods Memorial Conservation Area

Driving Directions

Southeast of St. James on Highway 8.


This area is predominantly forest. Facilities/features: gravel bar boat launch (no concrete ramp) and two permanent streams (Dry Fork Creek, Meramec River).

About This Area

Woodson K. Woods Memorial Conservation Area, located off Highway 8, near St. James, is one of the most beautiful state-owned properties in Missouri. The area consists of 5,658 acres in Crawford and Phelps counties. The Meramec River and Dry Fork Creek and their tributaries have cut scenic valleys through the area's rugged Ozark hills.

The area was purchased in 1971 with funds from the Conservation Department, the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, and the James H. Woods Foundation.

Fishing opportunities abound at Woodson K. Woods. Rainbow and brown trout lurk in the cool waters of the Meramec River and bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass and other warm-water species can be caught from the slow, murky waters of Dry Fork Creek.

Access to the Meramec is at Highway 8; the next public access is at Scotts Ford, located nine miles downstream.

Deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, quail, great blue herons, eagles, ruffed grouse and many other wildlife species frequent the area, 80 percent of which is forested. The forest is managed to provide food, cover, and water for wildlife and to maintain a healthy forest.

Much of the history of Woodson K. Woods Memorial Conservation Area is tied directly to the Maramec Spring Ironwork. The area borders the James Foundation Maramec Spring Park, which houses the relics of a once-thriving community of Shawnee Indians. Those Native Americans collected hematite, a red-colored iron ore, for cosmetics, ornaments and trade. In the early 1800s, European settlers started mining the iron ore, cutting away much of the timber around Maramec Spring to fuel the smelters.

General Information




Owned by MDC

  • There used to be a lot of variation in the spelling of the river. People used Meramec, Merrimec, Merrimack, Maramec, and a few other variations. In 1877 several editors in St. Louis got together to solve the problem of how to spell the name of the river. They took it to Judge Wilson Primm, who was considered to be the best French-English scholar in the area. His opinion was that the correct spelling should be Meramec. The river has been spelled that way since.

    The spring is spelled Maramec. The original name on maps in the early 1800's all used this spelling for the river and the spring. The Iron Works which were located here (Maramec Spring Park) were called the Maramec Iron Works. Lucy James, who purchased the land here and left the money to fund the park, was adamant about the spelling of the spring. She felt that since the original name was spelled Maramec that it should remain so.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Forest interior and riparian corridor species. Bald Eagles overwinter on the area. Heron rookeries. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. Phelps County. Crawford County.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Private campgrounds are located nearby. No camping is allowed on the Conservation Area. 
Canoeing  Several local privately operated outfitters available. Meramec River  
Demonstrations  Forest Management, Wildlife Food Plots. 
Exhibits/Displays  James Foundation Museum at Nearby Maramec Springs Park.  
Fishing - Bass Good population.  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.  
Fishing - Other Good population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Good population.  
Fishing - Trout Good population. Red Ribbon Trout Area from Hwy. 8 to Scotts Ford Access on Meramec River.  
Hiking  Good hiking potential on interior service roads closed to public vehicles. 
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.  
Hunting-Waterfowl-Open Hunting Fair population. Along Meramec River and Dry Fork Creek. 
Tours  Available at Nearby Maramec Springs Trout Hatchery for James Foundation Property only.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Stream - Other   Gravel bar access to Meramec River at Highway 8. There is no concrete ramp. 
Parking Lotaccessible 10  1-Gravel Parking Lot with a concrete pad.  
Privy/RestroomaccessibleRiver Access   

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Spring's End Forest NA 15.00 acres For more information, visit natural areas.  
Fishless Pond  24 10.00 acres  
Other  5.00 count Small gravel pit ponds joining river. Open to fishing. Stream regulations apply.  
Spring  1000000.00 # gallons per day Flow is 1 million gallons per day.  
Stream - Permanent Dry Fork (Large Creek) 2.60 miles  
Stream - Permanent Meramec River 2.60 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Crop Land 300.00  
Wetland 100.00  
Old Field 325.00  
Other 15.85  
Forest and Woodland 4670.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 150.00  
Lakes/Ponds 0.00  
Glade 60.00  
Savanna 40.00  
Total Area Acres:5658.12 

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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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