FIERY FORK CONSERVATION AREA
Wade, Della Rhoades, 2018
1608.95 acres Camden Co. DeLorme 44, 5-E
owned; for information call 573-346-2210
Directions: From Camdenton (20.6 miles), take MO 5 north to a left onto MO 7 at
Greenview, and follow it to a left (south) onto Granger Lane (Camden Co. 7-17
on some maps) for 2 miles. Stay straight
to enter the area; do not turn onto Fiery Fork Rd.
(32 miles) take US 65 south and turn east onto MO 7 toward Climax Springs. From Climax Springs, continue east 4.3 miles,
then take Granger Rd. south.
the parking area giving access into the upland western portion described below,
turn off Granger Lane onto Fork Park Dr. (a.k.a.7-17K). The first part of this road is through
private land. Not far from the turn off
Granger Rd. is an improved low water crossing (some damage as of spring 2018,
but very passable) Continue to a less improved crossing at the base of the hill
where the road enters the conservation area. This crossing might give difficulty to low clearance vehicles. The
parking lot is at the top of the hill.
ADA Information: The
two privies are accessible. Birding can
be good from or near a vehicle. The Toby
Hollow primitive campground/picnic area has a flat, grassy surface and is
surrounded by good habitat for a variety of species. Time spent sitting or walking slowly here
should be well rewarded.
When to Visit/Species to Expect: This is very good birding area with decent
access to a variety of habitats via road and trail. It is underbirded, largely due to its
distance from other birding sites. A
visit in any season will be worthwhile.
reported migration period visits indicate Fiery Fork, with its river frontage
and good mix of lowland and upland, is a good migration corridor for
songbirds. Breeding season records are
lacking, but the potential is excellent.
Ozark permanent and seasonal residents are abundant. Woodpecker and sparrow species are well
In Toby Hollow expect woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood-Pewee, warblers and vireos, Yellow-breasted Chat, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, and Indigo Bunting. See the “Features” section for more detail.
Features of interest to birders: The area has about 1,500 acres of
mostly oak-hickory forest, much of it even-aged, the result of timbering and
poor management with uncontrolled wildfires in the 20th century
private ownership period. Active improved management practices are underway.
and the resultant gravel build-ups have required a great deal of infrastructure
work in recent years. Low water
crossings are now much improved. The
main campground has been relocated slightly uphill.
the area, the road in has grassland on the right, wooded hills on left.
lowland area, grassland and forest are easily birded from the main road.
parking area just past the first (short) low water crossing is a good place to
get out of the car to watch and listen for birds in and near the small
riparian/wetland habitat at the crossing.
farther, on the left at the first privy, is the entrance to a short road into
the Toby Hollow parking/camping/picnic area. This is a great ecotone with
wooded hills and open area.
A trail leads uphill from the picnic area (look for the trailhead on your left as you near the end of the road. Maintenance may be minimal. It’s a fairly steep climb from the valley at about 720’ elevation to the top at about 960’.
mile-long River Glades Trail, rated difficult because of the steep portions, is
reached from the small parking area at end of the short road going uphill near
the privy (where the main road makes a sharp right). Even a short walk along it allows birders to
encounter species on the hill and slopes not easily found in the valley below.
road, just after it leaves the privy, crosses a small spring-fed creek flowing
from the base of the bluff on the left (1,000 gallons per day). Here is a small wetland, summer home of
Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Yellowthroats and others.
On the main
road, after the two long water crossings, a short road on the left to the
Little Niangua ends at the gravel bar river frontage. Sycamores and other riparian species host
warblers and vireos; herons haunt the shallows. Birding can be very good for
the length of the road and on the gravel bar.
western portion at the end of Fork Park Drive (7-17K) often hosts species not
seen in the main section. The elevation,
fragipan soils, and land use (old fields/grassland) give a distinct character
to it that attracts birds not commonly found below. Mature trees are at the parking area; three very
small ponds are nearby (the closest just east of the lot). Paths and an old two-track lead into the
accessible privies at camping areas.
Camping: Primitive, year-round in two areas. Some sites are graveled and have picnic tables and fireplace grates.
Hazards/Limitations: Low water crossings may be gravel
choked. Check for undercutting from
flood events. There is a steep angle on
the small crossing on Fork Park.
Nearby Birding Sites: Climax Springs Towersite*, Ha Ha Tonka SP*,
Mule Shoe CA.
* Birders’ Guides available.