In Natural Missouri: Working with the Land, Napier Shelton offers a tour of notable natural sites in Missouri through the eyes of the people who work with them. Over a period of three years, he roamed all over the state, visiting such different places as Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Pomme de Terre Lake, Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Roaring River State Park, Prairie State Park, Ted Shanks Conservation Area, and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Along the way he interviewed professional resource managers and naturalists, biologists, interpreters, conservation agents, engineers, farmers, hunters, fishermen, writers, and many others in an effort to gain a perspective that only people who work with the land—for business or for pleasure—can have.
Shelton describes a range of land-management philosophies and techniques, from largely hands-off, as in state parks, to largely hands-on, as in farming. He also addresses the questions that surround some of the more controversial practices, such as the use of fire for land management and the introduction of nonnative species.
With his relaxed writing style, Shelton invites the reader along on his journeys to experience the places and people as he did. Natural Missouri captures the essence of Missouri and gives readers a greater appreciation for the natural resources of the state and the people who work so hard to manage and protect them.