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A Forest for Heroes. Myron and Sonya Glassberg Family Conservation Area 12/21/2014

December 21, 2014

2014-12-21 13.03.15I take all my pictures to this point with the camera on my phone, and for the last few months, the lens on it has been so scratched that I just haven’t felt like I could really even use any of the pictures that I have taken with it. However, yesterday afternoon we went and got new phones…so of course I had to get out today and see what I could capture with it. I grabbed some water and my day pack, and Max and I headed out to the LaBarque Creek Watershed south of Eureka, MO to hike the trail at the Myron and Sonya Glassberg Family Conservation Area. Mostly cloudy and about 40 degrees, we almost had the entire place completely to ourselves.

2014-12-21 13.49.12How to get there:

From the interchange of Interstate 44 and 270, take 44 west toward Eureka for about 11 miles. Exit at Route 109 (Exit 264), and make a left to go under the highway and head south on 109. After just about 2 miles on 109, make a right at the “T” intersection and head west on Highway FF. After almost 4 miles on FF, the Glassberg Conservation Area will be at a parking lot on the right side of the road.

2014-12-21 12.28.59There are two trails in the area. The main trail is a 3 mile loop around the area, and the other trail is a half mile loop around Buder Lake, just off of the main trail about 3 quarters of a mile from the parking lot. Max and I were going to hike both of them today.

We left the parking lot and headed along the trail into the woods, taking the left fork where it splits off and heads up the hill. It quickly rises and takes you into a small prairie along the hillside, before leading you into an old cedar grove forest. The trail meanders up the hill, back and forth before taking you into a power-line corridor, and then back into the woods. With dips and curves, it continues to rise the hills, taking you once more back under the power-lines, and then somewhat turns to the east and along the right side of the ridge to the overlook.

2014-12-21 13.24.43Once at the overlook, it starts to head back down the hill, past Buder Lake, to the creek valley floor, and then follows the creek out to the parking lot. The Buder Lake trail is simply a half mile hike around the perimeter of this beautiful, secluded-within-the-hills fishing pond, and is well worth hiking too, while you’re there.

2014-12-21 13.02.15What I like about this area:

The overlook. I haven’t met a person yet that didn’t appreciate standing on a bluff over a river and taking a moment to absorb the sight before them. And this one has a great view. With the Meramec River winding through the valley before you, coming in through a sweeping bend to disappear behind the tree line, then make its way to the base of the cliff deep below you through the trees, and then head along the edge of the hills to the east, this is one of the most pleasant places in the area to just stand and listen and look. As we came to the handrail at the edge of the installed deck, a bald eagle flew past along the river. Pretty cool.

2014-12-21 13.42.00The forest in this area is filled with life. All along the trail there was evidence of quite a bit of deer activity. From tracks to droppings to obvious game trails splitting off from and joining the trail, Max and I both had our eyes and ears darting back and forth as we hiked along. When we had almost gotten to the ridge before the overlook, we had a group of about 15 turkeys run down the hill and take flight through the trees right in front of us. I would imagine that this place would be pretty busy on your average spring morning.

2014-12-21 12.04.18Opened for public use just about 2 years ago, this land is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of conservationists in Missouri, specifically Myron and Sonya “Sunny” Glassberg. Both avid conservationists, they spent their lives working together where they could to promote a healthy appreciation for the outdoors. Myron, the nephew of Albert Greensfelder, passed away in 1991 after 51 years of marriage to Sunny. She continued on with their philanthropy, most notably contributing to revitalization around Forest Park, including the Turtle Playground next to 40/64, which she visited regularly until she passed away in May of 2013. We owe them a debt of gratitude for the legacy they created through the work they did, very much modestly and behind the scenes, to promote a stewardship of the lands and forests and rivers and history around us.

2014-12-21 12.44.35What you need to know:

This trail is muddy and not quite “seasoned” yet in spots, due to it being so new. We hiked it clockwise to get to the scenic parts after the long winding ascent through the forest to the bluff. If you take it that way then you get all the hard work done, and are rewarded with the overlook and the lake on your way back down the hill.

There is hunting permitted in this area, so pay attention to what hunting seasons are going on and allowed, and stick to the trail if you aren’t wearing something with high visibility colors.

2014-12-21 13.04.56I would call this trail difficult due to the length of the climb and the trail surface being slippery in spots. If you just want to hike the mile to the overlook, most of that section is paved all the way up. Take the right side of the fork, and it will take you right past the lake and up to the bluff.

I have very quickly found myself falling in love with this LaBarque Creek Watershed valley, and this conservation area is such a gorgeous example of why it is so special. With bluffs and creeks and a forest that has a very healthy feel to it, it is the kind of place that just makes you feel renewed by spending time in it. But something else I am really glad to have some thoughtfulness about, is the people this section of forest is dedicated to. Myron and Sonya Glassberg, while not household names, are examples of the type of people we all need to be more like. To promote conservation of natural places, protection of the history around us, and to live with a sense of stewardship in our hearts, I am very thankful for the work they and those like them have done. Spend your time hiking through here with an appreciation for all those who dedicate their lives to this path.

2014-12-21 12.05.52


  1. Marty permalink

    Yes, Mr. Cotton, this is where our paths first crossed. Continue with your great work.
    I have one suggestion to make. You post many fine photos and now with the new phone I’m sure many more. For those who do not know these areas and locations I’m sure they would like the photos to be captioned or identified in some way. All the best in the upcoming holidays and the new year. See you down the trail.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Depth of the Hills. LaBarque Hills Trail, Young Conservation Area 12/24/2014 | Camping Missouri

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