Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area, Perry County, 273 acres.

Description

Ball Mill Resurgence Natural Area is a small forested area near Perryville. The site has a 2-3 car parking area where a trail leads visitors around several of the smaller karst windows along the top of the hillside before heading down to the base of the bluff. This resurgence acts as a traditional conduit for water moving from the surface to underground reservoirs (serving as a sinkhole). During periods of heavy rainfall, accumulating water passes through until it fills the underground conduits and pressure forces the waters back up and out at the surface (acting like a spring).

As it flows across the Perry County karst plain to empty into the Mississippi River the Blue Spring Branch stream and its associated karst resources (several springs and other resurgences) provide key habitat for the grotto sculpin which occurs only in and around six cave systems in Perry County.

The Foundation owns other lands adjacent to Ball Mill Resurgence and along Blue Spring Branch where restoration management is converting agricultural fields to native grasses and forbs on a gently rolling landscape of mixed savanna and grass land.

Just a half-mile downstream from Ball Mill Resurgence, and a short distance north along Perry County Route 916, is the Blue Spring Branch Conservation Area, Riney Tract. Here ridgetops extend across Blue Spring Branch with several cave openings, numerous karst windows, a spring, and another small resurgence. From the small parking area visitors cross the county road to the high point which offers outstanding views north through the breaks to the Mississippi River bottoms and across to the Illinois bluffs.

Recognition

The area was dedicated as a Missouri Natural Area on August 20, 1979. It is owned by the L-A-D Foundation and leased to the Missouri Department of Conservation for management.

Directions

South from Saint Louis on Interstate 55 to Highway 51, turn east (left) and take Highway 51 into Perryville to Highway 61, turn north (left) on Highway 61 and go about 1/2-mile to Route V and turn east (right), go 2.8 miles to where the road forks. Take the right fork (Perry County Route 916). It is about a mile to the Ball Mill Resurgence parking area on the left or west side of the county road. Just a short distance further down the road is the Riney Tract.

For more information click http://www.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/ball-mill-resurgence.