Rocky Barrens Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Willard, take Route O east, then Farm Road 105 north.


This area contains forest, glades, and old fields.

About This Area

This 281-acre area in Greene County is located within the boundaries of the largest Mississippian limestone glade ecosystem in the region. The limestone glade community is characterized by thin, rapidly drained soils, interspersed with rock fragments and dissected by horizontal layers of exposed limestone bedrock. Dry conditions prevail during summer and fall, but extended wet periods occur during winter and spring.

In March 1835, Elias Barcroft, surveying the Rocky Barrens area for the U.S. Government described it as "...very hilly and broken almost naked hills covered with ledges of limestone rocks and also loose falt limestone flint and gravel."

One hundred and fifty years of settlement and changing agricultural practices have changed the region drastically. "Naked hills" are now covered with dense growth of cedars and other trees.

Aggressive non-native plants, including fescue, musk thistle and brome grass, are replacing native plants. Actual glades are now in small isolated areas.

This area was purchased specifically for the protection restoration and management of a small mustard plant called Missouri bladder-pod (Physaria filiformis). The plant, which is on both state and federal endangered species lists, is found only in four counties in southwest Missouri.

The glade system here contains sufficient diversity of characteristic glade plants to allow restoration of that natural community. There is no permanent water on the tract, but several intermittent wet-weather springs produce some flow during periods of heavy rainfall.

Management practices, including prescribed burns and cedar tree removal, are underway on the area to expand and protect this population of bladder-pods. The area is also used as a laboratory for research on this rare plant.

General Information




Owned by MDC,Leased

  • Firearms firing single projectiles prohibited.

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  There are many shrubland and game bird viewing opportunities. Neotropical bird viewing during spring migration can be good, particularly along the Little Sac River. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Hiking  No designated trails 
Hunting-Deer Fair population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population. See Area Regulations tab  
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.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  Special Use Permit Required 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
No Identified Features

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Glade 116.00  
Old Field 20.60  
Forest and Woodland 144.00  
Total Area Acres:280.60 

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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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