Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri.
The Mingo Wilderness now contains a total of 7,730 acres and is managed by the Fish & Wildlife Service. All of the Wilderness is in the state of Missouri. In 1976 the Mingo Wilderness became part of the now over 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System.
Eighteen thousand years ago, the Mississippi River flowed through this area on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of natural events, the river shifted east forming a biologically rich swampland comprised of bottomland hardwoods intermixed with cypress and tupelo. The former channel basin attracted Native Americans who utilized the bountiful natural resources. By the late 1800’s, settlers and loggers started draining the swamp while removing large tracts of old-growth forest. In 1944, Congress authorized the purchase of the remnant forest lands to create the 21,592 acre Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Today, Mingo Wilderness is a large fragment of this refuge. The wilderness provides critical food and shelter for bald eagles and migratory waterfowl along the Mississippi Flyway. Giant cypress dominates the wilderness swamp offering nesting platforms for eagles and other birds. Otters and beaver, turkey and amphibians are frequent sightings for visitors. Predator-proof nesting boxes, used commonly by the evasive wood ducks, dot the refuge.
The western one-third of the refuge offers a wilderness setting with diverse habitat and abundant wildlife, an area highlighted with gentle rolling hills of the Ozark Plateau nestled beside Monopoly Marsh with intersecting streams and rich swamplands. Meandering underneath a canvas of cypress and mixed hardwoods, the Stanley Creek and Mingo River flows gently out of the Mingo Wilderness into the remainder of the Refuge--offering many miles of ditches for easy canoe access.
Mingo Wilderness nestles between the gentle rolling hills of the Ozark Plateau and the boothill region of southeast Missouri. Located one mile north of Puxico, Missouri, the Refuge Office is a good place to find information on the wilderness, visitor rules, wildlife viewing opportunities, and other information.
The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m from March through November. During December, January and February the Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Visitor Center is closed on most Federal holiday weekends.