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Poplar Bluff and Stephen J. Sun Conservation Areas

They seem to lump together the Poplar Bluff and Stephen J. Sun Conservation Areas on a map, so I am putting them on the same website page. We really only saw two signs for the Poplar Bluff Conservation area and did not visit it on January 28, 2023.

The one sign was along a gravel road, but there was no entrance that we could see to it and the other said archery range and we were not interested in that.

When we were at Allred Lake Natural Area (by MO Conservation) some folks were arriving as we were leaving and I asked them where the pretties place in Butler County was located and after an initial blank stare and a "we usually leave the county" comment, they came up with this place as the prettiest walk in Butler County, so that is why we ended up here! They called it "Carpenter Lake" which caused us to have trouble finding it.

We did not realize that was a conservation area and put "Carpenter Lake" in our GPS. It took us to an area west of the Carpenter Lake. The GPS took us from Highway 60 up Highway W to County Road 542. This goes right through the Popular Bluff Conservation Area where we saw the sign. It also told us to to right, but there was a sign there indicating it was private property. The GPS followed the yellow line on the above map. The GPS did not recognize the name of the conservation area, once we found it online, so I put in County Road 544 and it recognized it and we had a beautiful drive around the northern edge and back down on country roads.

Looking at the Conservation Department map, the yellow line is the approximate path GPS took us. You can see why we saw a sign for the Poplar Bluff Conservation area as the path cuts through it. You can also see there is no parking available, although we did notice a few pull off area with enough room for one vehicle and a trail. We almost stopped to explore those, but the day was getting long and we had a destination. Then we drove up north and around on the county roads and came down to find Highway NN were the pink line is shown. In the above video, you can see the sign to the archery range that we passed, but chose not to visit. On down south on Highway NN we came to Highway 544 which also took us straight through the Poplar Bluff Conservation area on the way to the Stephen J. Sun Conservation Areas. So technically, we saw the Poplar Bluff Conservation area and were actually in it several times although I have no video of the forest areas because basically that is all it was.

On our way to Allred Lake Natural Area (by MO Conservation) and back again, both times, there were chickens crossing the road! Why does a chicken cross the road? So later on the same day when this little dog kept running ahead of us as if to say "follow me" on County Road 542 (the wrong way to go to the conservation area), we were having a good 'ol laugh about the things in the road for the day.

This was also down County Road 542, but it was a really beautiful area and off to the right was a bench area on private property.

There were puddles to walk around the every so often on the trail. I suppose they were created by the melting snow.

Every so often I looked at my All Trails app to see how close were were to the Carpenter Lake. I had no idea how long the trail was and I was judging the distance. You can see here we started at County Road 544 and how far we had come. I thought we were about half way, but we were not as the trail meandered.

This was the little creek that crossed the road that we enjoyed hopping over.

This is up the little creek.

I loved this straight lane lined with trees. I could imagine how beautiful it is with the trees all green.

Now certainly we are more than half way?

You can see we moved in a direction away from the lake again, although we were getting closer. It was 51 degrees out, so it was nice although very windy as a storm was coming in.

We were only able to see a little bit of Carpenter Lake.

This is where we were on the edge of the lake.

As can be seen in the above video, we tried to see more of the lake, but when I turned around, this is how far away we had gone away from the lake and we decided to turn around and go back.

Copyright Cheryl Rutledge-Brennecke
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