I have had a number of readers ask me about my underprivileged kids ranch… Panther Creek. Recently a church from Owensville reserved the place for a weekend in June and will bring more than 20 kids. Panther Creek amounts to a 60-acre outdoor education center with a lodge and 2 cabins, absolutely free to any group wanting to use it.
Everything is there a group might need. All that needs to be brought to the place is food and clothing. I’ve worked on it for four years now and we have trap-shooting, kayaking and canoeing, a swimming hole, a gravel bar bonfire site, a historic bridge made in 1882, a softball-soccer field, pool table (which kids seem to be drawn to like a magnet) and a couple of miles of trails and photography platforms. Our food plots ensure a lot of wildlife to be seen. We also have conservation projects kids can help us with while they are there.
If you want to help with a charitable donation, I would welcome it. The cost of operating the project is about 6 or 7 thousand per year. But I want no one thinking we are making one penny out of our place. If you want to send a small check, you should make it out to our debtors, perhaps the St. Clair County Collector, Sac Osage Electric Company, the Hickory County Insurance Company or Doke Propane. Those are our biggest costs. I don’t want anyone making a check out to me. If you have questions about the place, would like to visit and perhaps spend a night there, just call me at 417/777-5227. We have never had newspaper or television publicity. I am a conservative writer who they do not like much. But this column and my magazine have been getting the word out well. Still, we have a lot of open dates each year.
As most of you know, the director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Mrs. Sara Pauley, spent several hours with me a couple of weeks ago at our Panther Creek Retreat. We talked about many of the things I write that the MDC does not want known, and we talked about some conservation projects to benefit ordinary Missouri outdoorsmen, which we could work together on.
I blindsided Mrs. Pauley with a request to have MDC help with our outdoor education center there on Panther Creek. There is so much the MDC could do that would help hundreds of underprivileged children learn so much about the outdoors at our place.
I told her I knew about the millions of dollars her agency has given to Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops… Why not give us some help, too? I don’t think Mrs. Pauley knows that the MDC pays the annual property tax for a number of influential people, seemingly all lawyers and judges. A western Missouri judge was given $235,000 to invest into a PRIVATE waterfowl hunting marsh where MDC officials went to hunt ducks with some of Kansas City’s prominent athletes. Each year the conservation department pays that family’s property taxes -nearly $1,000 to be paid “in perpetuity”. That means forever.
So I proposed that the MDC pay the Panther Creek property taxes… less than 500 dollars. And in turn I would give the equal amount each year to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Mrs. Pauley smiled, but never answered. When I brought it up again, she turned away and acted as if she didn’t hear me. Can you imagine why they would not do something so minimal in cost, and be so eager to give lawyers, judges and the richest man in Missouri, millions of dollars?
I doubt that Mrs. Pauley can do much, but somebody in the MDC could make that happen easily. No matter, I will give some of what I have to St. Jude’s anyway.
I urge you to read more about the conservation projects I hope to get the MDC to help me with, in my Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Magazines summer issue being printed next week. If you want to get a copy, call that office number given above.
Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.