Panorama of the Missouri preserve Grasshopper Hollow
Grasshopper Hollow Panorama of the Missouri preserve Grasshopper Hollow © © Rebecca Landewe/TNC

Places We Protect

Grasshopper Hollow

Missouri

Grasshopper Hollow is the largest, most significant fen complex in unglaciated North America.

At least 15 different fen communities of various types are found at Grasshopper Hollow. A fen is a low, marsh-like area where water plays an important role in how the ecosystem functions. It is usually very wet and grassy with a variety of plant and animal species.

Why You Should Visit  

This is the largest, most significant fen complex in unglaciated North America. Its wet, stony ground (in knee-deep water) is laced with beaver runs among a rich assemblage of native grasses and sedges.  A spur of the Ozark Trail borders the preserve.

Why TNC Selected This Site  

In this narrow, Ozark valley, at least 15 fens of various types can be found; Grasshopper Hollow has the largest known prairie fen in Missouri.

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

In March 2000, TNC purchased the 20-acre Bryant tract, which is located within the Grasshopper Hollow watershed. This acquisition will prevent development of the site and further protect the fen communities at Grasshopper Hollow.

We are using fire management to retain the natural characteristics of a fen complex. Through a partnership with the United States Forest Service, we are restoring the fen recharge watershed. In addition, we are leasing 80 acres of the best fen habitat at the site from the Doe Run Company.

What to See: Plants

Unusual wetlands fed by a permanent supply of highly mineralized groundwater. Fens and natural groundwater seepages dominate the hollow bottomlands. Among many native forbs and grasses, a visitor may find swamp agrimony, arrowleaved tear-thumb, prairie cordgrass, big bluestem, swamp aster, rough-leaf goldenrod and Michigan lily.

What to See: Animals

Notable animal species include beavers, the rare four-toed salamander and the rare wood frog. In 2000, the federally endangered Hine's Emerald Dragonfly was discovered to be breeding at this site.

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