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Missouri

Bennett Spring Savanna

A living window into the past, this savanna looks much like it did more than a century ago.




Open to the Public

Yes

Things To Do

Hiking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, exploring. View All

Plan Your Visit

Tips and guidelines for visiting this preserve. View All

Get Directions

According to land-survey records from 1846, many of the same species exist today as did more than a hundred years ago.

Why You Should Visit 

On this high-quality savanna, scattered oaks and hickories raise full, gnarled canopies, while tall bottlebrush grass, little bluestem and blazing stars wave beneath. The ravines and creeks are worth exploring for the chance of meeting a shy turtle, delicate ferns or elusive birds.

Location - Laclede County, west of Lebanon on either side of Highway 00.

Hours - Daylight

Size - 920 acres

Conditions

Recent ice storms in southern and mid-Missouri have caused some trees to split and large, heavy branches to break off but not fall. In heavy winds or with time, these tree limbs could come down. When visiting and hiking through wooded areas, be aware of your surroundings and consider these dangers before proceeding. The savanna is under intense study, so one might notice trees flagged to delineate test plots or other studies. The terrain is steep near the ravines. While you're never far from the highway, a topographic map and compass may be useful in navigating the ravines.  There are no designated trails.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Ongoing management, including the use of controlled burns, is restoring the grass/woodland complex, creating a habitat similar to that which existed prior to European settlement. The Nature Conservancy's vision is to restore 15,000 acres of rolling uplands and valleys, anchored by Bennett Spring Savanna, along a 10-mile stretch of the upper Niangua River near Lebanon.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site  

Bennett Spring Savanna is one of the last intact Ozark savannas, a globally unique landscape.  It protects part of the re-charge area to nearby Bennett Springs, one of the Midwest's most popular fishing destinations.

What to See: Plants

Look for oaks, hickories, bottlebrush grass, Indian grass, blazing stars, Downy blue gentian, pink milkwort, royal catchfly, stiff aster. 

What to See: Animals

Also, Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, ringed salamander, three-toed box turtle, woodland snakes and other commonly seen woodland animals such as wild turkeys.

Check local weather forecast and dress accordingly.  Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, hat and drinking water are recommended.  During warm weather, light color and light-weight clothing is suggested.  Repellent, binoculars and field guide(s) are worth bringing.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines

Directions
    • From Lebanon, go west on Highway 64 toward Bennett Spring State Park. 
    • Travel west through the park on 64A; turn left onto Highway 00. 
    • Continue south on Highway 00 for six miles and look for preserve
      sign and small gravel pull-off.
Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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