Mark Twain National Forest

Mark Twain National Forest is located in the southern half of the state of Missouri, closest to the city of Rolla.  Named after famous author Mark Twain, the Mark Twain National Forest is spread across 3,068,800 acres of land.  Originally established in September of 1939, the forest encompasses nearly 30 counties in the state of Missouri and is divided into six ranger districts: Ava-Cassville-Willow Springs, Eleven Point, Houston-Rolla, Cedar Creek, Poplar Bluff, Potosi-Fredericktown and the Salem.  Overall, the Mark Twain National Forest comprises nearly 11% of the total forest land throughout the entire state.

History of Mark Twain National Forest

The history of the Mark Twain National Forest dates back to as far as September 11, 1939 when both the Clark National Forest and Mark Twain National Forests were created.  At this time and for many years following, the two forests remained separated from one another.  In 1973, however, changes were made to the two separate forests as they were brought under the same headquarters in Rolla, Missouri.  Three years later in February of 1976, nearly forty years since the two forests had been created, Clark National Forest and the Mark Twain National Forest were combined into one, being solely recognized as the Mark Twain National Forest.  The Mark Twain National Forest is the only national forest in the entire state of Missouri. Some of the forest is also spread out amongst northern Arkansas although a majority of it is in the southern part of Missouri, particularly in the Ozark Highlands.

Counties and Wilderness Areas of Mark Twain National Forest

The Mark Twain National Forest encompasses seven wilderness areas within its borders: the Bell Mountain Wilderness area, the Devil’s Backbone Wilderness area, the Hercules-Glades Wilderness area, the Irish Wilderness area, the Paddy Creek Wilderness area, the Piney Creek Wilderness area and the Rockpile Mountain Wilderness area.

When it comes to counties, the Mark Twain National Forest is spread out over more counties than any other recognized national forest. In total, it is spread out over 29 counties in Missouri.  Of these counties is Oregon County, which takes up 104,721 acres, Ripley County, which takes up 97,437 acres, Iron County, which takes up 96,047 acres, Carter County, which takes up 90,641 acres, Reynolds County, which takes up 89,933 counties, Wayne County, which takes up 88,372 actress, Shannon County, which takes up 83,934 acres, Washington County, which takes up 82,133 acres, Dent County, which takes up 73,011 acres, Taney County, which takes up 65,953 acres, Phelps County, which takes up 65, 379 acres, Barry County, which takes up 55,187 acres, Christian County, which takes up 52,260 acres, Madison County, which takes up 51,170 acres, Howell County, which takes up 50,504 acres, Crawford County, which takes up 50,048, Texas County, which takes up 49,581 acres, Butler County, which takes up 48,494 acres, Douglas County which takes up 41,030 acres, Pulaski County, which takes up 39,177 acres and Ozark County, which takes up 38,672 acres of the Mark Twain National Forest.

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By Alexandra R. Fasulo – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC