Settle's Ford Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Creighton, take Route B west 4 miles, then Index Road south 1 mile to the area’s main entrance.


This area contains 2,500 acres of opportunistic wetlands (no pumping capability) as well as old fields, cropland, and forest. Facilities/features: disabled user waterfowl blind, six fishable ponds (six acres total), and five permanent streams.

About This Area

Settle's Ford Conservation Area is located on both sides of the South Grand River in southeast Cass and northeast Bates Counties and is easily accessed from Cass County Route B.

This 7,364-acre area was purchased from willing sellers, primarily using federal funds provided as compensation for the Trimble Wildlife Area, which was inundated by the Smithville Reservoir.

Southern Cass and Bates Counties were hotbeds of border violence before and during the Civil War. Eventually all residents were evacuated by federal troops under General Ewing's infamous Order No.11. Shortly after resettlement was permitted, a family with the name of Settle operated a mill and ford in the center of what is currently the conservation area.

Settle's Ford is rich in diversity and contains about 3,100 acres of bottomlands and 4,200 acres of uplands. Native warm season grasses, grain crops, and trees have been planted to provide winter cover and nesting habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.

Water control structures are used in the bottomlands to provide shallow water for wetland dependent wildlife species.

The area contains portions of the old channel of the now channelized South Grand River, small glades, upland and lowland hardwoods, several small intermittent streams, two large open bottomland tracts, several ponds, and 14 wetland management pools. These features and others provide a wealth of habitat for many wild plants and animals and many recreation opportunities.

This conservation area was acquired in part through the Pittman-Roberson Wildlife Restoration Act administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

General Information

Kansas City



Owned by MDC

  • Only Federally approved non-toxic shot is required for all hunting with a shotgun on this area.
  • Use or possession of lead shot prohibited.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Depending on water conditions, this area has good birding opportunities for species of waterfowl, marsh and shorebirds, wading birds and songbirds. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List. Bates County. Cass County.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Catfish Good population.  
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population.  
Hiking  Area headquarters access trail offers good hiking opportunity. The roads that pass through the area should provide a good opportunity to bird watch. Field access roads provide opportunity for hiking and bird watching, but are restricted to foot traffic only. 
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.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Good 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 Good population. All waterfowl hunters are required to self-register prior to hunting at area parking lots. Waterfowl hunting opportunity will vary depending on available water.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  Special Use Permit Required 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Hunting Blind - Waterfowlaccessible  Blind reserved for disabled users only. 
Other Gravel Boat Ramp  4-2 Wetland Pool  
Parking Lotaccessible 14  Includes 1-Gravel Parking Lot with a concrete pad. 
Staffed Office    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 1 1.62 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 2 2.00 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 3 2.00 acres    
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 4 1.09 acres  
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 5 0.69 acres    
Fishing Lake or Pond Pond 6 3.20 acres  
Fishless Pond  17 14.00 acres  
Stream - Intermittent  2.00 miles  
Stream - Intermittent Old River Channel 3.50 miles Old South Grand River channel.  
Stream - Intermittent Willow Branch 2.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent S. Grand River Drainage Ditch 5.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Lost 2.00 miles  
Stream - Permanent Peter Creek 1.50 miles  
Stream - Permanent Elk Fork Creek 2.25 miles  
Stream - Permanent Lick Creek 2.25 miles  
Stream - Permanent  13.00 miles S. Grand River Drainage Ditch-5 miles; Lick Creek-2.25 miles; Elk Fork Creek-2.25 miles; Peter Creek-1.5 miles; Lost Creek-2.0 miles.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Old Field 1972.40  
Lakes/Ponds 13.60  
Forest and Woodland 2207.00  
Wetland 873.00 821 acres in 14 pools.  
Grassland (non-prairie) 500.00  
Crop Land 1200.00  
Total Area Acres:7363.30 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Hiking trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 3.40 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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