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Rural Missouri Magazine

Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Winona, Mo.

by Jim McCarty

The Twin Pines Conservation Education Center near Winona began life as a museum dedicated to the Ozarks’ timber industry. When the museum project fell through, the Department of Conservation took over and built the state’s first rural nature center.

Tourists heading to Branson on Highway 60 and floaters fresh off the Scenic Riverways will want to stop at the nature center for the opportunity to relax and get a feel for the culture of the region. Besides rare pieces of early sawmill technology, the 456-acre site is home to a well-preserved log cabin that was moved from another site in Shannon County and the steam thresher at left.

In the works is a 1910-era one-room schoolhouse from the area, another sign that the center’s mission is education. Although the site just opened in April, it is already hosting events ranging from longbow shooting at the archery range to cave exploring and identifying edible mushrooms.

Visitors who forget their poles can still fish the pond shown on our cover with tackle loaned by the friendly staff. Inside, the center has displays that show life as it once was in the region. Of particular interest are historic photos showing how the Ozarks were logged to provide railroad ties.

The center’s resident critters include turtles and snakes, including a copperhead and a timber rattler.

Using the writings of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft during his 1818 tour of the Ozarks, the center’s designers sought to show the landscape the way it originally was, with open areas under a canopy of pines. Landowners wanting to improve timber plots can see the results of timber management here.

Twin Pines is located just east of Winona on Highway 60. It is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information call 573-325-1381.

 

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