Visit our Sponsors and win.
Visit our Sponsors and win.

Show #24/3611
Dogwood Canyon

Summary of Show

Johnny Morris - Conservationist
Johnny Morris has been considered A MODERN DAY TEDDY ROOSEVELT for his conservation efforts and was awarded the Teddy Roosevelt Conservationist award by George W. Bush. The list of accolades goes on and on as Johnny Morris has been recognized by many conservation and environmental stewardship organizations.
For More Information Click here

Johnny's Fishing Background
It was borne from a passion because HE HAS ALWAYS LOVED TO FISH. He was fortunate that his dad also loved to fish. Johnny has many fond memories of fishing with him and his mother's brother, Uncle Buck. He was a character. Johnny grew up fishing the rivers here and when he was about 10 years old they built Table Rock Lake. The rock damn was formed by the Corps of Engineers. That damn took away a lot of good river fishing and they were worried that some of their good fishing holes were gone.
For More Information Click here

Dogwood Canyon
Eric asks Johnny to tell him about Dogwood Canyon. This is the first time he has been here and it is one of the most natural, beautiful sites he has ever seen. Johnny thanks Eric. It is to him as well, it's AN UNSPOILED SLICE OF THE OZARKS NATURE, like it would have been thousands of years ago. This fascinating nature park is a way to get people connected to nature and was inspired by a place close to Eric, Callaway Gardens.
For More Information Click here

The Water In The Canyon Is Pristine
One of the most impressive things about Dogwood Canyon is how the WATER IS PRISTINELY BEAUTIFUL. Eric surmises that there was a lot of effort on Johnny's part to clean up these streams and get them into the condition they are today. How did Johnny do that? Johnny appreciates Eric noticing. The streams are the highlight of the property. This property has something like 34 natural springs that flow through this valley and Dogwood Canyon. Missouri is referred to as the cave state because of the topography and limestone. So a lot of springs filter up through the limestone.
For More Information Click here

What Can We Do Regarding Water Conservation
Many Americans may also have creeks in their back yards or at least are concerned about what may happen with runoff from their roof, that then runs down their side yard, into a ditch or culvert. What PRACTICAL ADVICE does Johnny have for our viewers for doing a better job at conservation? Johnny feels a lot comes down to common sense and using good judgement. Think about what one puts into the creek. If using fertilizers, are you using more than is needed? Are those chemicals good for the water?
For More Information Click here

Spirit Shelter
They call this SPIRIT SHELTER. It was named by a friend, Joe Green. He named it after coming to this very spot one day. They found several pieces of flint where Indians or some prehistoric people had been making arrowheads. A local university, Southwest Missouri, along with the University of Arkansas came and performed an archaeological excavation. Right here they found the oldest human remains ever found in the state of Missouri. They carbon dated back to 6,000 BC, so, a little over 8,000 years ago.
For More Information Click here

The Trails Are Impressive
THE TRAILS, where they're standing now are impressive to Eric. Although there are most likely many old trails but additionally many, many new trails. And it's impressive how thoughtfully those trails have been incorporated, they weave around providing so many surprise views. Like stone work bridges. The trails are oriented in such a way as to provide very specific perspectives.
For More Information Click here

Indigenous Animals
Eric comments that water conservation and land conservation have been very important to John. But additionally bringing back the INDIGENOUS ANIMALS, animals that had been here hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, then disappeared, has been an important task. How is he working on rebuilding those populations? Johnny tells us we are standing on a field of native prairie grass that used to be quite prevalent, but it then went away. They have brought it back. It provides the habitat for the animals.
For More Information Click here

Eric And Johnny Go Fishing
Johnny presents Eric with a fly rod, it is called a Hobbs Creek fly rod. Eric is caught by surprise and is overwhelmed. He thanks Johnny, He is too kind. Johnny tells Eric this fly rod is named after a little stream at Dogwood Canyon. Johnny truly wants Eric to CATCH HIS FIRST FISH in this pool. Their youngest daughter Megan caught her first fish here and his old friend and fishing buddy, Waylon Jennings, came to Dogwood and caught his very first fish right in this pool.
For More Information Click here

Future Plants For Dogwood Canyon
Before Eric leaves he wants Johnny to TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE. There are some projects coming up, projects that are just launching, tell us about those. Johnny is only too happy to talk about that. There is going to be a nature center, a wilderness type center with classrooms for kids to come and be immersed in nature. They can do this as part of the local school program. Really it will be available to all visitors of the Canyon.
For More Information Click here

 

LINKS:

Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops

Johnny Morris
IGFA | Johnny Morris

Dogwood Canyon
Home - Dogwood Canyon

Big Cedar Lodge
Home - Branson Missouri Resorts | Big Cedar | Branson Missouri Vacation Lodging

Upper White River Basin Foundation
White River Basin Partnership Missouri

James River Basin Partnership
www.jamesriverbasin.com

Quality Deer Management Association
Quality Deer Management Association

Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri's Fish, Forests and Wildlife | Missouri Department of Conservation

National Wild Turkey Federation
www.nwtf.org

Picture of Eric's and Johnny's Fish

 

3611. Dogwood Canyon

Complete Write Up

 

Caring for our water and land is extremely important to us all. In this episode GardenSMART meets a master outdoorsman and conservationist that shows us the amazing results that can happen when we approach a site with passion and vision.

Dogwood Canyon is located in the White River Basin in the Missouri Ozarks. The prehistoric canyon is teaming with remnants of a bygone era, as well as the site of the oldest human remains ever discovered in Missouri. Wildlife is plentiful in Dogwood Canyon with deer, elk, bison, wild turkey and bear finding a natural home in this 10,000 acre Ozark paradise.

The first parcels of land were purchased nearly 25 years ago by Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops. It was his passion for conservation that drove him to find this raw track of land, return it to its' original pristine beauty, and make this spectacular wilderness experience available to everyone.

Johnny Morris has been considered A MODERN DAY TEDDY ROOSEVELT for his conservation efforts and was awarded the Teddy Roosevelt Conservationist award by George W. Bush. The list of accolades goes on and on as Johnny Morris has been recognized by many conservation and environmental stewardship organizations. As owner of Bass Pro Shops he has devoted his life to the outdoors and the preservation of the majestic beauty of the Ozarks. Still an avid fisherman and outdoorsman Johnny has remained closely connected to every aspect of the conservation efforts of Dogwood Canyon as well as casting a vision for how each of us can take an active role in improving our environment.

Johnny is perhaps best known as the founder of Bass Pro Shops but one thing people don't know is that Johnny is a very dedicated conservationist and has committed a tremendous amount of his life to educating people on how we can all be better stewards of our water, our land, and of course our animals.

Eric is always interested when he meets an entrepreneur, especially one who has a very long track record of success, in learning more about that individual. In many cases Eric has found their business success was borne out of a passion that they had for whatever they were doing. Eric wants to know more about Johnny and how Bass Pro Shops got started.

Johnny thanks Eric and says he is correct. It was borne from a passion because HE HAS ALWAYS LOVED TO FISH. He was fortunate that his dad also loved to fish. Johnny has many fond memories of fishing with him and his mother's brother, Uncle Buck. He was a character. Johnny grew up fishing the rivers here and when he was about 10 years old they built Table Rock Lake. The rock damn was formed by the Corps of Engineers. That damn took away a lot of good river fishing and they were worried that some of their good fishing holes were gone. But it created so much habitat. Back to fishing - In 1970 Johnny fished in the first national bass tournament held on Table Rock Lake. He was supposed to be going to school In Springfield but instead he was fishing quite a bit and guiding some. So he fished in the tournament and met people and fishermen from all over the country. Many were making baits in their garage or their basement. So upstart companies like Tom Manos, inventor of the jelly worm were just getting started. Johnny approached his dad, who had a liquor store on the way to Table Rock and said - Dad how about putting some fishing tackle in your store and maybe some will stop by and buy something and they will do good. His dad was his hero, he supported Johnny and they named the area in the liquor store Bass Pro Shop because it was descriptive of their passion, their mission. They wanted to be the specialist shop for bass fishermen. A few years later they had enough inventory to come out with a catalog because he felt there were a lot of fishermen around the country, like himself, that were looking for this gear. Timing in any endeavor is very important, so the timing was right and they published and mailed their catalog. They didn't have, you know, a 3 year business plan, even a year plan, they just mailed those catalogs and it hit the fan. But Johnny is very grateful in the journey because he has always had the support of his family and extended family. There are a lot of great people with a lot of passion that make up the company today and they have the pioneering spirit. Always trying things to make it better, to give their customers better service and make things fun for them in the stores and outdoor experiences.

Eric asks Johnny to tell him about Dogwood Canyon. This is the first time he has been here and it is one of the most natural, beautiful sites he has ever seen. Johnny thanks Eric. It is to him as well, it's AN UNSPOILED SLICE OF THE OZARKS NATURE, like it would have been thousands of years ago. This fascinating nature park is a way to get people connected to nature and was inspired by a place close to Eric, Callaway Gardens.

There is so much nature here. People have been connected to water, nature and animals forever. Johnny has been fortunate, later in life, to have had the opportunity to put this land together and try to preserve it. They put together enough land that they can focus on the watershed, make sure everything remains. Water is a precious thing. To keep the water pure and clean and develop little fish pools, that is important. Eric feels Johnny has done a wonderful job of creating a very, very special place for people to come and reconnect with nature. And he wants to see more.

One of the most impressive things about Dogwood Canyon is how the WATER IS PRISTINELY BEAUTIFUL. Eric surmises that there was a lot of effort on Johnny's part to clean up these streams and get them into the condition they are today. How did Johnny do that? Johnny appreciates Eric noticing. The streams are the highlight of the property. This property has something like 34 natural springs that flow through this valley and Dogwood Canyon. Missouri is referred to as the cave state because of the topography and limestone. So a lot of springs filter up through the limestone. 30 years ago, or so, they knew there were good fundamentals here. They knew it would sustain fish life but the canyon had settled into disrepair. A lot of it had silted in, so the first thing they did was reach out to the Missouri Department of Conservation, and other experts like expert fly fisherman, and friend, Dave Whitlock. They focused on creating a healthy habitat, a vibrant habitat for the fish. If one has that, the stream will be healthy overall. Importantly, they acquired additional lands that were part of the watershed. They placed this land in a conservation easement, a kind of not for profit foundation so that it can never be disturbed. That was an important goal. Johnny felt he had been blessed and was able to set this aside as a place where people can come for generations to see what we see today. It will be very natural. They cleaned out some of the pools of silt. It was important to get the correct depth. That will help keep the water cool. They created a series of waterfalls. They oxygenate the water and keep the fish happy and they planted some aquatic vegetation. They found that as they started cleaning up the stream, paying attention to the natural growing watercress that natural growing watercress started to re-emerge. By having the proper depth in places, the insect life could thrive. It all gets interconnected. One of the best ways to discover the health of a watershed or stream is to observe the insect life and the plant life that starts re-emerging. In the case of an unhealthy stream or river one doesn't see the presence of many of those insects and plants. Eric is guessing it was heart warming to see those things coming back to life. Johnny says - Absolutely and it was surprising how quickly that happened.

In Eric's side yard he has a stream that runs by. Many Americans may also have creeks in their back yards or at least are concerned about what may happen with runoff from their roof, that then runs down their side yard, into a ditch or culvert. What PRACTICAL ADVICE does Johnny have for our viewers for doing a better job at conservation? Johnny feels a lot comes down to common sense and using good judgement. Think about what one puts into the creek. If using fertilizers, are you using more than is needed? Are those chemicals good for the water? Just good common sense and also reaching out to others. In Missouri they have the Missouri Department of Conservation, they are a great partner for landowners of any size. They will come and help and he thinks that's true in most states, whether called the Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Conservation. One can most likely find that information online relatively easily. In this project Johnny used other groups as well. One is called the White River Basin Partnership, it's a grassroots effort of people coming together that are concerned about water quality. They have guidelines and things all landowners can be mindful of. Just reach out and use common sense. Water is one of the most precious commodities we have. A lot of information is available but always remember it is a community effort. It's important that everyone become concerned about what is going on with our watersheds. And, not only what we put in, but as well, what we take out and for what purpose. We can minimize the use of water with a little common sense and caring. All of those things add up on the conservation front. Johnny does believe that people today are more concerned and aware about the environment than ever before in the history of the country. He believes that and feels it is a bright spot for the future of things like hunting and fishing and nature.

The guys move on. This area is one of the more beautiful and unusual sites at Dogwood Canyon. There is also a lot of history associated with this place. They call this SPIRIT SHELTER. It was named by a friend, Joe Green. He named it after coming to this very spot one day. They found several pieces of flint where Indians or some prehistoric people had been making arrowheads. A local university, Southwest Missouri, along with the University of Arkansas came and performed an archaeological excavation. Right here they found the oldest human remains ever found in the state of Missouri. They carbon dated back to 6,000 BC, so, a little over 8,000 years ago. As they stand here today dressed in clothes one can't help but think back to what it must have been like back then. What was it like with people living in this fertile valley? They had everything for support, shelter, fish, wildlife. What were things like? Were the people living with spear points and deer or elk skins for clothing? It's certainly possible because long ago elk, buffalo and wild turkey were abundant in this canyon. But there was a long period of time when these animals went away. They're coming back now because of good conservation. Now one can come to spirit shelter and one can't help but feel connected to the earth, to nature. They have introduced free ranging buffalo and elk back into the state of Missouri. A lot of good things are happening. Eric notices the vestiges of that life in many parts of the site.

THE TRAILS, where they're standing now are impressive to Eric. Although there are most likely many old trails but additionally many, many new trails. And it's impressive how thoughtfully those trails have been incorporated, they weave around providing so many surprise views. Like stone work bridges. The trails are oriented in such a way as to provide very specific perspectives. They are very important to this place. Eric is interested in Johnny's thought process in laying out these trails. Johnny confesses, that was a fun time in life. The kids were young, they would come with him - he is sort of a daydreamer - and they would spend hundreds of hours trying to layout pathways that would connect people to nature and the beautiful corridors in this area. Little surprises here and there that nature provides were discovered over many hours of having fun themselves. It was a treat to involve the Belvens family, Dan is an amish guy, he and his whole family built the wood bridges. They're stone masons, they made all the bridges and took so much pride in doing so. They used hand tools, no modern day equipment. The process was enjoyable. Eric thinks that any site, no matter the size, because most people aren't working with something this size, even if a small space there is something to be said for taking the time to walk the property, getting to know the property carefully and thoughtfully, think through the ways one can add layers to that area. Work with the topography and the nature that exists there. Do this instead of grabbing a shovel and starting to just cut in trails. Being able to daydream. What is there today, what can we make to share with others whether in our backyard or at Dogwood Canyon can be fun. Daydreaming and working with nature a little, can be very rewarding.

The guys go to another area. Eric comments that water conservation and land conservation have been very important to John. But additionally bringing back the INDIGENOUS ANIMALS, animals that had been here hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, then disappeared, has been an important task. How is he working on rebuilding those populations? Johnny tells us we are standing on a field of native prairie grass that used to be quite prevalent, but it then went away. They have brought it back. It provides the habitat for the animals. Now they have buffalo, a pretty good sized herd of elk and they have worked with QDMA, Quality Deer Management Association, and have a trophy whitetail area for free ranging whitetail and they have wild turkey. People come through and they have a very good chance of seeing all kinds of critters. It's neat to know that they used to be here but through some bad harvesting or other practices they went away. Some of that may have been nature and disease, things happen, but it is exciting to have these animals back here. It is exciting to know that thousands of years ago these animals were here but they're back for people to see and enjoy.

Eric points out that animals like buffalo, deer and elk provide the most effective way of actually rebuilding soil and land. It is the symbiotic relationship between grass farming and these animals that makes it possible. These animals eat the grass, then add the fertilizer back and then trample it into the soil. Nothing rebuilds damaged soil the way that animals do and it is wonderful to see. And it's an important element of what they're doing here.

And, they utilize selective burning every spring. The burning is great for the grass and underbrush as well as the wildlife. The National Wild Turkey Federation is big on this, in many ways they're pioneers in this area. It provides habitat for the turkeys as well as so many other critters. It's a lot of fun to work on. It's a holistic approach.

THE CONSERVATORY IN THIS GARDEN IS THE CENTERPIECE. They were not common in the 18th century. It was quite unique and showed the level of society that Washington had risen to. It's second only, as far as structure, to the mansion itself. And, it's definitely the focal point for someone as they would have entered this garden. One recurring theme and highlight for estate visitors when writing in their diaries was the reference to the sub-tropical plants in this greenhouse. Eric notices Pomegranates, a lot of citrus and Hibiscus that are now coming into bloom. It was quite a luxury in Washington's time to have these tropical plants out on this veranda and that was made possible by having the conservatory which allowed Washington to bring them indoors during the winter to protect them. The greenhouse meant survival for these plants. They were outside until the end of September, then taken back in, then brought back out in early May. Thus they were outside in all their glory during the growing season. For most of us we have the possibility of using a sunroom or another area of the house with lots of light to achieve the same effect.

Johnny gets serious with Eric. Everyone is happy that Eric and GardenSMART are here and at Big Cedar Lodge but he has heard that Eric has never caught a fish on a fly rod. Johnny presents Eric with a fly rod, it is called a Hobbs Creek fly rod. Eric is caught by surprise and is overwhelmed. He thanks Johnny, He is too kind. Johnny tells Eric this fly rod is named after a little stream at Dogwood Canyon. Johnny truly wants Eric to CATCH HIS FIRST FISH in this pool. Their youngest daughter Megan caught her first fish here and his old friend and fishing buddy, Waylon Jennings, came to Dogwood and caught his very first fish right in this pool. Johnny wants Eric to put it to good use - "Good luck, let's go catch a fish." Johnny gives Eric a fly fishing lesson. How special, a lesson from the master. You come back fairly fast with your cast, then stop forward just a little, just little strips. Put your forefinger up and run the line through. Johnny thinks Eric is a natural. After fishing for awhile, they were close to a fish but Johnny says that fish just refused to bite at the last little bit. Very good start. Tip low. Another good cast, easy, easy, easy now, let him run when he needs to. That's a big fish, a really big fish, let him go when he needs to go, just real easy. Got him, in the net, the hook falls out. What a beautiful rainbow trout. Congratulations, that is a beautiful fish. Don't forget the rod you caught him on and the shop it came from. It takes good equipment to catch a fish like this. It's a happy day for Johnny and Eric. We're not sure who was more excited Eric or Johnny. But it was a good time.

But the show must go on. Before Eric leaves he wants Johnny to TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE. There are some projects coming up, projects that are just launching, tell us about those. Johnny is only too happy to talk about that. There is going to be a nature center, a wilderness type center with classrooms for kids to come and be immersed in nature. They can do this as part of the local school program. Really it will be available to all visitors of the Canyon. That has been their passion for this place. He hopes that people over the years will come, enjoy the place, ride bicycles, go hiking, take the tram tours to see the wildlife and go fishing. Just like Eric today. They will have displays for people, educational opportunities to learn about conservation, about the archeology, the history of the canyon itself, the different plants, wildlife. There will be little aquariums for the minnows from the creeks and the trout. They are working on a trout hatchery. They do reproduce naturally but with all the fishing they need to supplement it somewhat. They want kids to start planting seeds. The US Fish and Wildlife service is tracking trends and notice wildlife viewing is exploding in popularity. There is so much people can do to attract even birds and butterflies, even deer into their backyard. The nature center will highlight all these areas.

Eric thanks Johnny. He can't express how special this place is and how much he has enjoyed being here. Outside the sheer natural beauty there is so much people can learn when it comes to conservation. Even though this is on such a grand scale, there are so many applications of important things we can do at home, ways of attracting wildlife into our back yard, moving away from hyper-manicured yards into a landscape or garden that involves food plots for birds and animals and that involve creating a habitat. Beautiful and educational. Thanks Johnny, this has truly been special. We've enjoyed every minute. Thank you.

LINKS:

Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops

Johnny Morris
IGFA | Johnny Morris

Dogwood Canyon
Home - Dogwood Canyon

Big Cedar Lodge
Home - Branson Missouri Resorts | Big Cedar | Branson Missouri Vacation Lodging

Upper White River Basin Foundation
White River Basin Partnership Missouri

James River Basin Partnership
www.jamesriverbasin.com

Quality Deer Management Association
Quality Deer Management Association

Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri's Fish, Forests and Wildlife | Missouri Department of Conservation

National Wild Turkey Federation
www.nwtf.org

Picture of Eric's and Johnny's Fish

 

   
   
 
   
   
   
   
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.