Mark Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area

Driving Directions

The main entrance is located in St. Joseph on 36th Street between Faraon/Jules and Messanie Streets.


Three loop hiking trails, two of which are disabled accessible - asphalt surface - the third is gravel surface and not disabled accessible. The area consists of 85 acres of open land and several acres of planted trees, two picnic pavilions with picnic tables and cooking grills and two privy restrooms, all disabled accessible. The area also has planted warm-season grass and wildflower meadows.

About This Area

The Mark Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area is nestled in the heart of St. Joseph.

This area was acquired by the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1983 and has been developed to demonstrate urban conservation while providing a place for quality outdoor recreation.

The Mark Youngdahl Urban Conservation Area features a two-mile trail system that takes you throughout the area. The Ridge Trail (3/4-mile long) and the Pond Trail (2/3-mile long) are paved and accessible to disabled visitors. The Marsh Trail (3/5-mile long) is graveled and non accessible. Two disabled-accessible picnic shelters and restrooms are also available.

A two-acre wetland and other small wildlife watering holes are too shallow to stock with fish but attract other forms of aquatic life, including waterfowl, turtles, and amphibians.

Visitors can enjoy other wildlife that have found this small refuge in St. Joseph. White-tailed deer and bobwhite quail have occasionally been observed in the wooded draws. Foxes, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and numerous kinds of birds can also be seen.

The Conservation Department has planted wildflower meadows and prairie grasses.                                                                          More than 75 species of native and non-native trees were planted throughout the area in 1997 to display the different kinds of trees that are commonly planted in the urban landscapes across Missouri.  Tree identification booklets are available free of charge at the Northwest Regional Office located at 701 James McCarthy Dr, St. Joseph.

This conservation area is named in honor of Mark Youngdahl, who served as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1970 to 1990 and was a member of the St. Joseph City Council at the time of his death in 1994. As a state representative, Mark Youngdahl worked diligently to acquire this urban area for the Missouri Department of Conservation and took an active interest in its development. He also served as the first chairman of the St. Joseph Tree Board. As chairman, he led the drive to write a new city tree ordinance and helped St. Joseph become a Tree City U.S.A. for the first time in 1993.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  Bicycles are allowed on the foot trails but bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on the trails. Bicycles must stay on the trails. 
Bird Watching  Numerous species of birds can be found throughout the area. Several bird nesting boxes have been placed on the area. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Demonstrations  Several species of trees have been planted on the area to demonstrate trees that are typically planted in cities and towns. 
Hiking  Three trail loops are open to hiking and bicycling. Two trails are disabled accessible. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Other   Above ground fire/BBQ grills at the two area pavilions. 
Otheraccessible  Drinking Fountain  
Parking Lotaccessible  2 ADA  
Pavilionaccessible  2 ADA  
Picnic Tableaccessible  2 ADA  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishless Pond  0.10 acres Wildlife watering holes.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Wetland 3.00 Shallow pond structure. 
Old Field 10.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 10.00 Planted warm season grass and wildflowers. 
Forest and Woodland 62.00 Planted. 
Total Area Acres:85.00 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Pond Trail (Easy)accessibleDisabled-Accessible Trail 0.70 
Ridge Trail (Easy)accessibleDisabled-Accessible Trail 0.76 
Marsh Trail (Easy) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike) 0.67 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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