he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Platte Land Trust are partnering to offer public access to the Charlotte Sawyers Nature Area west of Parkville. The Land Trust is opening the Sawyers property to visitors under MDC’s voluntary Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program, also known as MRAP. Under the program, private landowners open property for specified uses in exchange for financial incentives.
The Charlotte Sawyers Nature Area is located at 6075 Union Chapel Road.
MRAP funding is supported by a USDA Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program grant.
The 20-acre Sawyers property is open for wildlife viewing and walks to see native plants changing through the seasons. The property is named for Charlotte Sawyers, who donated her wooded, hillside farm for the public to enjoy nature.
Platte Land Trust volunteers have worked to improve wildlife habitat, restore native species, reduce invasive species, and develop hiking paths. MDC has assisted with management plans. The acreage provides a close-to-home place for a nature hike in the Kansas City metro area, especially in Platte County.
MRAP will help Platte Land Trust meet strategic plans that call for more public use of the Sawyers property, said president Carla Dods. Financial incentives received from MRAP will help pay for more habitat improvements.
“Primarily this is to get it open to the public and to get more people out in nature,” Dods said.
The MRAP program also provides fishing and hunting access to private land throughout Missouri. Visitors should check regulations for a MRAP area and view bulletin board information at parking lots. What activities are allowed on specific properties varies. But the bottom line for the public is more access to natural areas that offer outdoor recreation.
Missouri’s Recreational Use Immunity Law offers protection to landowners from any legal liability for providing free access to the public. MRAP lands are open to foot traffic only and area users self-register at designated property entry points. Landowners participating in the program can receive financial help in making wildlife habitat improvements.
Landowners interested in MRAP can visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZHZ.