Visitors to Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs District will find different landscapes from oak-hickory forests , shortleaf pine forests, and glades. Glades are open areas of native tall prairie grasses characterized by dry, shallow soils and limestone outcroppings.
The unique blending of eastern forest and western desert habitats makes a home for such varied wildlife as the bald eagle and the roadrunner, armadillos and wild turkey, white-tailed deer and black bears.
The sunlit balds and deep hollows, narrow ridgetops and steep slopes, secluded pastures and clear streams characteristic of the Ozarks are the trademark of the District. This is the landscape so eloquently described in Harold Bell Wright's famous book, The Shepherd of the Hills.
Nearby vacation destinations -- Branson, Silver Dollar City, Bass Pro, and Table Rock Lake -- make the District one of Missouri's favorite playgrounds.
If you drive through this area, you will be delighted at every turn by scenic views. Hike your way through the Forest and you will find solitude and tranquility.
The beautiful North Fork River is the pride of Willow Springs Area. A total of nine major springs flow into the river; two of the largest, Big Springs and Blue Spring, contribute some 18 million gallons of cold, clear water every day. The river is popular with canoeists as well as anglers.
The District contains three of seven Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas; Devils Backbone, Hercules Glades, and Piney Creek Wildernesses.
The District has the Forest’s only National Forest Scenic Byways; Blue Buck Knob, Glade Top Trail; and Sugar Camp.
Nearly 80 miles of multi-use trails for ATV, UTV, motorcycle, and mountain bikes wind in and out of deep forested hollows and down long ridge tops. It’s possible to plan a wide variety of full-loop riding without backtracking. All riders will encounter advanced riding challenges.
Situated about four miles southwest of Chadwick, Missouri, from which it got its name, the Chadwick Area contains a 12 square mile chunk of rough national forest land in Ozark country. Camping facilities are close at hand for riders or other visitors.
Off-trail travel is allowed only at two locations in the Chadwick Area. One is the 3-acre Family Play Area just to the west of Camp Ridge Campground. The other is the 5-acre Trials Bike Area, located between Trails 110 and 135, near the head of Cobb Ridge. These areas are shown on the map.
Chadwick Area is mostly forested with oak, hickory, and pine woods on rocky ridge tops, with a few small open forest glades. Steep ridges break into narrow hollows with scattered surface rock and occasional rock ledges, and patches of eastern red cedar.
The Salem district encompasses approximately 175,000 acres within the Salem Plateau of the Ozark Highlands. The district includes lands located within Crawford, Iron, Dent, Reynolds, and Shannon counties in the south-east central part of the state of Missouri. The Ozarks are characterized by deeply dissected hills, karst topography, horizontal bedrock, caves, sink holes, and natural springs. The ecosystem is rich in biological diversity and includes species that are found only in the Ozark Plateau. The main vegetation is upland oak-hickory and oak-pine forest, with bottomland hardwood forest in the floodplains of large rivers.