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Mark Twain National Forest Ranger District Update

AVA, Mo. (May 27, 2020) – A lot is happening on the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs (ACW) Ranger District of Mark Twain National Forest.  Prescribed fire season has come to an end here in Missouri, as the lush green growth across the Forest can attest.  However, Forest firefighters continue to help out other national forests (further north), assisting with fighting wildfires.

Across the Forest, recreation areas are in the process of opening back up.  

Here is the current status for sites on the ACW Ranger District:

• Caney picnic area is open; but restrooms are still temporarily closed.

• Hercules Glades Wilderness trails and Hercules Tower and Blair Ridge trailheads are open; restroom at Hercules Tower is still closed. Coy Bald Trailhead is not accessible due to flooding.

• Bar K Recreation Area is closed due to flooding

• Cobb Ridge Campground is still temporarily shut down, expected to open June 1.

• Chadwick OHV trails are open, all trailheads are open; and trailhead restrooms are open.

• Shell Knob Recreation Area is closed.

• Big Bay boat ramp is open; but water is high and boat ramp inaccessible.  Restrooms are closed.

• Piney Creek Wilderness trailheads are open.  Restroom at Pine View trailhead is closed.

• Noblett Lake Recreation Area picnic and dam areas are open and the restrooms are open. However, dispersed camping below the dam is closed due to flooding.

• North Fork Recreation Area day use is open, and restrooms at the day use area are open.  The campground is still temporarily shut down, but expected to open June 1.

Along with the short term task of getting recreation sites open for the public to enjoy, the Forest is undergoing some long-term planning too.  The Forest needs public input on its five-year program of work for transitioning to a sustainable recreation program—called the Recreation Facility Strategy (RFS).  The RFS is now available for the public to review on the Forest’s website (; the Forest is currently accepting feedback regarding the proposed RFS.

In addition to information online, Mark Twain National Forest will host a public meeting via teleconference to provide the public the opportunity to comment and to discuss RFS and proposed changes on the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs and Houston/Rolla/Cedar Creek Ranger Districts (Zone 3).   

The Zone 3 call will be May 28, 5:30 – 7:30 PM (CST). The teleconference will be accessible to the public by dialing 844-721-7241 (toll-free) and entering the access code 4357871.  These meetings will be recorded.  Before attending the teleconference meeting, please visit the Recreation Site Analysis and Recreation Facility Strategy web page (link to this can be found at the bottom of the Forest’s homepage) to review a video and associated materials which will help guide your review and explain how to provide comments. 

The Ava District Office continues to offer services virtually. 

Visitors are encouraged to call the office, 417-683-4428, for prompt customer service. Please keep in mind the Forest can sell maps and some permits over the phone with a credit card payment.  Questions will also be answered as well.