We are spending a week of down-time at Old Highway 86 Campground located on Table Rock Lake near Blue Eye, Missouri. It is a clean and well kept modern campground with water and electric hook-ups. It is modern because it was recently restored after a 2013 flood. A dump is nearby.
While in this area outside of Branson, Missouri we decided to take a couple of day trips to see the natural habitat around us. While searching on-line for ” interesting places near me” on my cell, I found Dogwood Canyon Nature Park only a few miles away. I thought that a nice free walk in a nature park would be enjoyable exercise and packed us a lunch.
The promo description: “Acquired by Bass Pro Shops’ founder Johnny Morris in 1990, the park is managed by the Dogwood Canyon Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the canyon’s natural plant and wildlife environment.” I am learning that “privately owned” likely means “admission is charged”.
It is a bit of roller-coaster ride to access the park off of highway 86, but once inside the park everything is reasonably accessible. There are various ways to see the park, on foot, by bike, Sedgeways and the tram. Being first timers, we were encouraged to sign up for the tram ride through the park and into the wildlife and domestic animal area. The tram is the only option to view the animals.
We saw streams, bridges, waterfalls and beautiful scenery as well as a few deer, muskrats and snakes to add interest to the ride. The streams are stocked with trout and can be fished. It is a 2-hour ride with stops at the chapel, several falls and of course potty breaks as needed.
I was at first put off by the $35 per person cost of the tram ride (walking and biking are less expensive, but no animals). Once I learned that all proceeds go toward the conservation foundation, I felt it worth the expense. We enjoyed the less strenuous experience of the tram ride verses a 6 mile hike and could have purchased lunch at the café on-site, but my roast beef sandwiches sufficed in a nice shady spot on the veranda.
This beautiful area of the Ozarks has quickly become a tourist haven for it’s scenery and the many man-made attractions. I found it refreshing that Johnny Morris appreciates the beauty here enough to want to conserve, preserve and restore areas that have been depleted of their natural habitat for us and future generations.
As for a tourist attraction, I find this one acceptable.