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Bob writes below a little about the Jackass Bend area and how it was
considered as a replacement area for the Trimble Wildlife Management Area.
A little bit of more recent (and earlier) history is in order, as are a
couple of questions I'd like answered. 

After the '93 Flood, the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was
formed along the Missouri River in scattered areas.  Land at Jackass Bend
began to be acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the refuge in
1996, and the Jackass Bend Unit of the Big Muddy refuge currently has 725
acres (with another acquisition in process).

I know that Christmas Bird Counts were conducted for that area from 1984/85
to 1989/90. I would love to talk to anyone who participated in those
counts--especially count coordinators, bur really anyone who knows anything
about the counts.  Please e-mail or phone me, as I have some questions about
the count area, what areas were accessed, etc.  I have looked at the
historical CBC data, but I don't know how relevant that is to the area that
is now part of the refuge.  Someday, it might be interesting to try to
revive these counts, even if it is only for the refuge areas.

Likewise, I'd like to talk to anyone who was active in the push to have that
area acquired to replace the Trimble area.  It is information that I would
like to compile as part of the history of that river bend for the Big Muddy
refuge.

Finally, the name "Jackass Bend" is a bit of a puzzle for some and it never
fails to elicit giggles from school kids when I do programs about the
refuge.  If you were wondering about the origins, I heard the official
version a couple of weeks ago from a person whose family has owned land
there since the 1880's.  It seems that a group of furriers (trappers who
collected pelts and sold them) were going upstream in a
boat/ferry--basically an open platform with their supplies, animals, etc. on
it. They had a team of mules on board, and the team was all harnessed
together. One of the mules was startled (it is theorized maybe the boat hit
a snag and startled the mule) and the mule jumped or fell overboard.
Because they were all harnessed together, the entire team of mules was
pulled overboard and drowned.  It would have been a major financial crisis
for the furriers, and the equivalent today of totaling your 4x4 monster
truck in ice with no insurance.  

The river at that time took a long sweeping bend more to the north.  That
bend was cut off by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1920's in their
channelization work.  The old river channel still exists and usually holds
some water in all but the driest times and makes a great wetland, heavily
used by waterfowl and wading birds, which is why it was considered as a
replacement for Trimble.  Unfortunately, access to the entire area is only
walk-in at this point (the refuge is working with the railroad to design a
public crossing off of Highway 210 with a lane into to a parking lot at the
north edge of the unit), or else via the river.  Once a public railroad
access is completed, the old river channel will be more accessible for
birding but it will still entail considerable walking.  A description of the
area and a link to maps is available at:
http://www.fws.gov/midwest/bigmuddy/jackass_bend.html.

Anyway, if you know more of the history of the area or the Christmas Bird
Counts for Jackass Bend, please contact me.

Troy Gordon
Friends of Big Muddy
Columbia, MO
[log in to unmask]
573-424-9051


----------Original Message----------
Subject: Burroughs Audubon
From: Robert Fisher <bobgfisher AT COMCAST.NET>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2007 01:15:26 -0600

. . . 
2. We worked for the relocation of the Trimble Wildlife Management Area 
(about to be inundated when Smithville Lake filled up) to a larger 
mitigation CA near Missouri City to be called the "Jackass Bend Wildlife 
Management Area."  We lobbied Congressmen and Senators (I remember meeting 
with three Congressmen, a Colonel of the Corps of Engineers and Jim 
Symington, who was running for his father's Senate seat) and got the funding

for Jackass Bend through both houses of Congress as part of an Omnibus 
Appropriations Bill. Unfortunately, President Carter vetoed it in what now 
appears to have been a naive attempt to limit pork barrel spending, and 
Jackass Bend fell through.
. . . 

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
bobgfisher AT comcast.net 

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