While Missouri isn’t known for its desert scenery, the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, located in central Missouri along the Missouri River, has become an unexpected competitor.
The Missouri Department of Conservation claims that this particular area, which was declared a desert by the U.S. Geological Survey, is the state’s most dangerous desert. Here’s a hint as to why it has been given this distinction:
Erosion and Flooding
The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is a dangerous place for tourists and wildlife alike because of the Missouri River’s erratic and frequent flooding.
In addition to causing significant erosion, this inundation makes the ground unstable and prone to landslides. Erosion has caused the refuge to lose more than 40% of its original land area since 1994.
Encounters with Wildlife
The Big Muddy National Fish and creatures Refuge harbors a wide variety of creatures that could pose a threat to people.
Protected by federal law, the refuge is home to the biggest population of bald eagles in Missouri, which can become aggressive if disturbed. The refuge is also home to black bears, bobcats, cougars, and coyotes, all of which could be dangerous if they get agitated or hungry. Ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy are also abundant in the area and have the potential to spread illness and trigger allergic reactions.
Restricted Facilities and Services
The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is an isolated, untamed area with few tourist services and amenities. There are noticeably few restrooms, trash cans, potable water, and paved roads.
It is highly recommended that guests pack light and carry their own supplies, such as food, water, first aid kits, maps, and cell phones. Visitors are responsible for their own safety and must abide by refuge regulations, which include following designated trails, showing care for species, and leaving no trace.
The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge still offers a unique and priceless natural habitat, but it also presents difficulties and risks that need careful investigation.