Conservation officials at Smithville Lake are again collecting Christmas trees that will be used for wildlife habitat and to benefit anglers.
Natural Christmas trees can be dropped off in Little Platte Park, located on the west side of the lake and accessible by following U.S. Highway 169 north to Northeast 180th Road, until the end of January. Trees dropped off for recycling must be free of tinsel, ornaments and tree bags. Signs will direct visitors to the drop-off site, which will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Jan. 31.
In the spring, the old trees are distributed to serve as mulch or habitats for fish and other small wildlife. Trees placed near the shore of the lake provide hiding places for young sport fish and it increases insect production, which is a key food source for young fish.
The Missouri Department of Conservation collects the GPS coordinates of where trees are located and installs the data on the free Find MO Fish app so anglers can locate the trees where fish congregate. This can aid angler success.
For more information about the Christmas tree drop-off site or the placement of Christmas trees for habitat, contact Smithville Lake at 407-3400.
In addition to a drop site at Smithville Lake, Liberty Parks & Recreation offers a free Christmas tree recycling program.
Once all ornaments, tinsel, ribbon and other decorations are removed, a natural tree can be taken to Bennett Park, 1100 N. Clayview Drive, through Jan. 30, for recycling. Signs are posted directing visitors to the drop-off area.
Trees dropped at the site are made into mulch for nearby nature trails.