New Years Resolution for Missouri Outdoor Adventures

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If you want to accomplish your goals, write them down. Experts often repeat this sage advice in self-help seminars and articles. I’ve learned to believe it, and have long been an advocate of pushing one’s self to experience new adventures and to repeat those enjoyed in the past.

Missouri is an incredibly diverse outdoor recreation state. Our fishing and hunting opportunities are the best in the Midwest, and our parks and trails are second to none. The hardest part of enjoying the outdoors in Missouri is deciding which incredible opportunity you want to enjoy each time you venture outside. For 2016, I resolve to experience these Missouri outdoor opportunities.

Ride a Bike on the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail State Park, which at 240-miles is the longest developed rails-to-trails project in the nation, is a nationally recognized destination. Thousands of tourists from across the country come to Missouri to ride or hike the trail each year. The Katy Trail runs within 10 miles of my home, and I have never rode it. That’s going to change this year.

I’d like to commit to riding the entire trail from start to finish, but that may be a little aggressive for a guy who hasn’t rode more than a couple of miles on a bike since college. But I know I can make it from Rocheport to Jefferson City, so I will commit to that stretch and hope to complete more.

Perch Fishing Forest Lake

I grew up fishing on Lake Michigan. When I was a kid, my grandpa perch fished all summer long. I joined him as often as I could. Sweet, succulent yellow perch are my favorite fish to eat, so this year I’m going to try and catch a mess of them from Forest Lake, which is in Thousand Hills State Park near Kirksville. I’ve been told Forest lake has a healthy population of good-sized yellow perch. If this is true, I can hardly wait for a campsite fish fry followed by a relaxing campfire under a starlit sky.

Fish for Pomme de Terre Musky

Musky fishing is a lot like hunting. In fact, musky have been called the fish of 10,000 casts. You can’t expect to catch one on every trip, but with a little exploration and some patience, musky can be caught in a number of Missouri waters. But nowhere are your chances of catching one greater than they are at Pomme de Terre. The 8,000 acre Lake Pomme de Terre is a beautiful Ozark Reservoir that the MDC has been stocking muskies in since 1966. It’s located 50 miles north of Springfield.

Float the Entire Jacks Fork River

The Jacks Fork River is one of the most scenic waters in the state. Originating in Texas County, the Jacks Fork flows 46 miles before arriving at its confluence with the Current River. The water of the Jacks Fork is exceptionally clear and along its course the leaves in the fall are some of the most gorgeous in the Midwest. I’ve canoed different stretches the Jacks Fork a number of times, but I have never floated its entire length. I hope to load the front and rear seats of my raft with a couple of friends and spend a few lazy fall days floating, camping and fishing for smallmouth along the Jacks Fork.

Backpack on the Ozark Trail

In my opinion, there isn’t a better way to eliminate stress than going for a long walk in the woods. The serenity of being in the forest for an extended amount of time allows one to let go of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on nothing more than putting one foot in front of another.

The Ozark Trail is one of the premier backpacking trails in the country. With over 390 miles of trails, most of which are linked together, you can spend a lot of time hiking without covering the same stretch twice. This year, I am going to pick out a 30-mile stretch and knock it over two days and one night. Someday, I hope to say I’ve hiked the entire Ozark Trail.

These are my Missouri outdoor adventure resolutions for 2016. I also hope to visit Costa Rica and hunt in multiple New England states. Whatever your outdoor resolutions are for the New Year, be sure to write them down. Doing should lead to spending more time outdoors this year.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler


While you’re at it, challenge yourself to completing 100 Missouri Miles.


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