The Department of Conservation operates Indian Trail conservation area located 14 miles northeast of Salem on Highway 19. This is one of 10 MDC areas in Dent County.

“Indian Trail offers citizens many kinds of recreational opportunities, such as hiking, hunting target shooting, birding, camping and geocaching,” said Mike Fiaoni, Resource Forester in charge of managing Indian Trial for MDC.

Geocaching is a popular outdoor recreational activity using a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers anywhere in the world.

“People can hike the area viewing the wildflowers, wildlife and savannas that abound in Indian Trail.”

Camping is considered primitive, with no running water or restroom facilities.

The 13,503-acre property is never closed, but MDC does close some roads during the fall firearms deer season and spring turkey season so that there is more safe walking and hunting room for hunters. Small-scale controlled burning is done to enhance more of the savannas and natural plant communities of Indian Trail. Various burns are done annually at different times throughout the year.

The Indian Trail area came under public ownership in the 1920s. When the MDC was founded in 1939, they were given control of the property from the state fish and game.

Fiaoni says Indian Trail was one of two areas that were of importance in the re-release of the once-endangered white-tail deer back into the wild. In the 1950s a small herd of the endangered deer was found in Indian Trail, taken into captivity, re-bred and then released. Deer continue to live and thrive inside Indian Trail.

Indian Trail is home to many woods and open glades and savannas.

For more information, contact the Department of Conservation at 729-3182, ext. 224 or visit conservation.state.mo.us.