|Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops, is responsible for this beautiful nature preserve. It encompasses 11,000 acres - 2,200 of which are open to the public. I took a 2 hour tram tour because it went places that hikers, bikers, segway or horseback riders could not go - namely where the animals are.
Morris bought part of the property in 1990 and it took five years to develop into a place people could visit. Lots of weddings take place at the chapel and other scenic spots. There is an Orvis fly fishing school, a bow and arrow range, and coming soon , a working grist mill. Construction of a new activities building, restaurant and the mill will be completed in 2015.
The tram guide was funny and very cooperative about letting us stop for photos. He brought food along for the animals and it was amazing how close they got to the tram. The elk and bison are shedding their winter coats and don't look very pretty right now. The longhorns were enormous! Supposed to have wild turkeys on the property but I didn't see one.
There are many waterfalls, meandering streams, and lots of woods with 200-300 years old sycamore trees. In 1998, Mr. Morris put the ownership of this land into a foundation so it can never ever be developed. Thank goodness for people like him who buy up and preserve beautiful places like this for all of us to enjoy.