Little Black Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Doniphan, take Highway 21 north 8 miles, then Route NN east to the area.
Two new tracts: from Doniphan, take Highway 21 north 6 miles, then Route K east 5 miles to County Road K-4.


This is a predominantly forest area. Facilities/features: Picnic area, archery range, fishless ponds, intermittent stream (Barton Branch), and permanent stream (North and South Prongs of the Little Black River).

About This Area

Little Black Conservation Area is four miles south of the historic Grandin Mill site and was one of the first areas harvested for that mill in the 19th century. Remnant pine stumps from that harvest and pine woodland indicator species are commonly found. Historically, this region supported shortleaf pine and pine-oak woodlands with associated diverse ground flora. Post oak flatwoods were present on the broad ridges.

The tree species present are typical for oak-hickory and oak-pine forest types and include white oak, scarlet oak, southern red oak, post oak, black oak, hickory, and shortleaf pine. The 700 acre Little Black Woodland Bird Habitat Restoration Project was initiated in 2006 to restore woodland habitat by reducing heavily stocked tree stands.

On this area, the Fern Nook Natural Area has unique and high quality forest resources dominated by old growth stands with little or no disturbance. It was purchased in 2009 from the family of Thiemo Wolf. Mr. Wolf bought the property in 1918 to preserve the flora and fauna. It may be the earliest example of old growth management in the Ozarks. Eighty acres within this tract has been described as the highest quality bottomland forest in the Ozarks and has not been disturbed for 150 years. There are a wide range of species including sweetgum, white oak, ash, elm, sugar maple, shumard oak, bur oak, overcup oak, sycamore, swamp white oak, pecan and bitternut hickory. Uplands have old growth pine, white oak, black oak, post oak, and hickory. One north slope has the oldest known white oaks in the state dating to the early 1600s.

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 - Primitive Area  Unless otherwise posted. No amenities are provided. 
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Seasonal closures may apply. 
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Other Fair population. Suckers  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hiking  There is a one mile path through the archery range.  
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
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.  

Go to Top of Page

Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Fire Tower Grandin Tower   
OtheraccessibleLittle Black Archery Range  Archery Range with 7 targets, four of the targets are disabled-accessible.  
Other   Archery range trail. Approximately one mile with two benches.  
Parking Lotaccessible  Gravel Parking Lot located at Little Black archery range. Two parking spots are disabled accessible.  
Picnic Tableaccessible   

Go to Top of Page

Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Overcup Fen NA 151.60 acres Features bottomland forest and four fens. Natural areas provides additional information.  
Designated Natural Area Fern Nook Natural Area 398.00 acres Natural areas provides additional information.  
Fishless Pond  1.00 acres Wildlife watering holes  
Other  0.00 count Six fens  
Spring Orchid Spring 45000.00 # gallons per day  
Stream - Intermittent  7.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent North Prong Little Black  1.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent South Prong Little Black River 1.77 miles  
Stream - Permanent Barton Branch 1.50 miles  

Go to Top of Page

Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Old Field 78.00  
Forest and Woodland 2890.00 Addition of the Grandin Tower Site 
Total Area Acres:2968.02 

Go to Top of Page

Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Archery Range Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.00 

Go to Top of Page

Shooting Range General Information






1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless otherwise posted

Click Shooting Ranges for more information.

Go to Top of Page