Wappapello Training Area
The Wappapello [not Wappello, and not Wapapello] Training Area is located at Lake Wappapello State Park in Wapapello, near Popular Bluff, MO. Lake Wapapello is a manmade lake administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Missouri National Guard's mission is to provide trained soldiers and units to support national military needs, as well as to support the governor in the event of state emergencies. The Missouri National Guard operates seven training sites, including Skelton, Wappapello, Macon, Camp Clark, and Camp Crowder.
The Wappapello Training Site is located on United Forestry Service land and has unlimited public access with the exception of the administrative area. The administrative area is delineated by locked gates and is limited to military use only.
The training sites are located throughout Missouri, which requires that we tailor our management recommendations to diverse ecosystems: upland hardwoods in the Ozark region (Camp Crowder), tallgrass prairies in western Missouri (Camp Clark), and forested swamps in southeast Missouri (Wappapello Training Site). Soil conservation is another challenge. Missouri's topsoil is very thin and fragile, and washes away if it is not rehabilitated after disturbances. Natural Resource Management Plans for Macon Training Site, Camp Crowder, Camp Clark, and Wappapello Training Site integrate ecosystem management with military missions by using historic land cover maps, topographic maps, and wildlife, plant, and soil surveys.
In 1997 the Missouri National Guard needed to build a road at Wappapello Training Site that would disturb an endangered plant, Marsh Pink. The Missouri National Guard team marked sites that were suitable habitat for the plant. By avoiding these sites, the National Guard was able to build the road without further endangering the Marsh Pink. The Guard team was successful in adjusting management practices in order to protect an endangered plant.
Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Wappapello Lake offers activities for all walks of life. Over 44,000 acres of public lands and water welcome hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping and picnicking. Interpretation of the natural resources through trails, Visitor Center exhibits and various programs highlight the natural beauty found in Southeast Missouri. Lake Wappapello is located in one of the oldest mountain regions of North America -- the St. Francois Mountains. Sam Baker State Park is one of the oldest parks in the Missouri state park system. The Wappapello Lake Section of the Ozark Trail begins just outside the park. Retreats and conferences are held at the University Forest facility near Lake Wappapello. Both the Corps and State Park campgrounds roads and campgrounds around the lake are well maintained. The roads down to the campgrounds and beaches on the lake are very steep.
Wappapello Lake maintains an on-going and extensive Customer Services Program. Public education, safety programs, nature walks, gatehouse tours, campground and special request programs are designed to increase the public's understanding of the role of the Corps of Engineers. Interpretive programs are also conducted off-site for groups, organizations and businesses.
Construction of Wappapello Dam was authorized in June 1936, and work began in September 1938. The project was completed in June 1941. The original Master Plan was approved in 1946, then revised in 1958 and updated in 1963, 1975 and 1985. The Master Plan has served as the guide for the orderly development and management of the land and water resources at Wappapello Lake.
This updated Master Plan presents a current inventory and assessment of land and water resources and physical improvements, reformulated resource use objectives, discussions of influences on lake operation and management and an evaluation of existing and future needs and requirements to protect the value of the resource base. Emphasis has been placed on increasing the efficiency of operation and rehabilitation of facilities for public safety.
Although Wappapello Lake is managed primarily by the St. Louis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, many others play a crucial role in the operation of the project. These important players include the Memphis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, marina concessionaires, upstream and downstream interest groups, farmers, local organizations, youth groups and businesses. The objective of the Wappapello Lake Master Plan is to meet the needs and interests of the various users of the project and outline a 10-year plan of action assuring that all project purposes are addressed.
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