Location: Dallas County, Missouri
Average Flow: 103 million gallons per day (165 cubic feet per second)
Recharge Area: Bennett Spring has been successfully dye traced from the south, southwest and southeast of the spring. Extensive studies of the spring recharge by James Vandike yielded a recharge area of about 265 square miles.
Interesting Information: The spring basin is 50 feet in diameter. Divers have entered to 80 foot of depth and 130 foot length, where a gravel spray of great velocity usually prevents further penetration. Gravel boils in the spring churn the chert, resulting in highly polished naturally tumbled stones. Basin diving by permit only is permitted in the winter.
Brief History: The spring's origin was attributed by the Osage Indians to an earthquake caused by the Creator's displeasure with the tribe. First white settlers were the James Brice family in 1837, joined shortly thereafter by that of Peter Bennett. Originally milling rivals, the families later intermarried. Around 1900, the Brice Inn was established and soon catered to tourists. Releases of "mountain trout" occurred in these early days. The town of Brice was purchased with the spring and other land from Bennett heirs in 1924 and 1925. A fish hatchery predated the state park. The Civilian Conservation Corps made improvements in the 1930s, and newly formed Dept. of Conservation took over fish culture in 1936. More land has been acquired, but the spring remains the key to the state park's identity as a trout fisherman's mecca.
Ownership and Access: Bennett Spring is a DNR Missouri state park, with spring water utilized by a trout hatchery and fishing facility controlled by the Missouri Department of Conservation. No charge to view the spring, however camping and fishing fees apply.
last updated on May 17, 2006.
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