These rope swings at the Dark Cypress Access Area boat ramp near Greenbrier aren’t going to see a lot of use until next summer.
The Missouri Department of Conservation says the Greenbrier Unit of Duck Creek Conservation Area is in southeastern Bollinger county.
The Conservation Department purchased this 460-acre lowland swamp to preserve a small portion of the 2.4 million acres of hardwood bottomland swamps that once covered the southeastern part of the state.
Situated between Crowleys Ridge and the Ozark Plateau, the swamp formed after the Mississippi River abandoned its channel through the region and shifted east toward Cape Girardeau. Runoff from the Ozark hills, heavy rainfall and overflow flooding from the Castor River floods the surrounding swamp.
Dark Cypress Tales
I grew up hearing tales of the Dark Cypress. It was an area where hunters would go in and never come out. While we were down there, Mother told me that my grandfather had been shot accidentally while hunting in the Dark Cypress and the bullet remained in his neck until he died decades later.
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One summer, my husband and I took our three daughters to this spot and an enterprising very young kid was selling his handmade tickets for
10 cents a swing. While we didn’t think it part of the system, it seemed worth it so we paid up and he probably made a couple of bucks off of us.
And we had a whole lot of fun.
My Dad and I spent many a happy day catching bass in the Castor River at Greenbriar in the ‘late 50s & early 60s, putting in our canoe downriver of the old bridge, reached via a rough dirt road. One night a downpour got us stuck exiting the next day, and we had to find a farmer willing to pull us out with his tractor. Elementary school principle Charlie Clippard grew up in and retired back to Greenbriar. He once told me that, during the depression, his Mom would pressure cook and can carp from the river … fishcakes were “poor man’s salmon” as he called it, and right tasty during those hard times.
Dad and my grandfather would take me fishing at a place they called the “Grinnell Hole,” which I think was a cutoff oxbow somewhere around Greenbriar. I never liked it much because all we ever caught were gar and grinnell, and it was full of snakes. It was also dark and swampy, probably because it was in or bordering the Dark Cypress.