Looking Back to Go Forward The Post http://www.neoshodailynews.com/archive/x121727407/g2762766d2fac080a82fa44747f1758ec819298125f9781.jpg http://www.neoshodailynews.com/archive/x121727407/g08208203a37ab4251c134d77e9211ba23139148ec4361c.jpg http://www.neoshodailynews.com/archive/x121727407/g0e0184e1e87343e5a4edc59e91db572797e01e006d5e95.jpg Kay Hively Frank Loncarich" title="9_24 Frank Loncarich" align="left" />
Frank Loncarich is looking over his shoulder.
Loncarich, a lands management specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, is researching through old survey records, personal papers and official documents, trying to learn what the landscape of Newton County looked like at the time of white settlement.
Interest in and a knowledge of land has been a big part of Loncarich's life.
father, a land surveyor, is currently the county surveyor.
After receiving his college degree and going to work for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Loncarich took on the job of managing public lands in Newton County, as well as in other nearby counties.
In Newton County, he
is responsible for managing the Diamond Grove Prairie and the Capps Creek Conservation Area in the Jollification community.
Within the last two or three years, Loncarich
began to take a serious look at land in the county from an historical viewpoint.
"I knew there were abundant resources and wildlife here at that time," he
"They give some description, but only a minimum," Loncarich
said, "but it's a start and by looking at adjoining townships lines and noting where the witness trees were marked, you get an idea about whether timber was widespread at that point or if there were only scattered trees."
And, of course, if there no witness tree was marked, it was likely that area was solitary prairie.
But the official records are almost technical and Loncarich
is eager to find more personal references to the land.
hopes, will come in what early settlers told about the land they homesteaded.
is eager to "hear" what the early settlers had to say.
Now that he
has begun the research, Loncarich
work might be worthy of publishing for others to use in the future and it might be of interest to the general population.
"In my own time, I hope to dig more into this," he
"It would be nice to publish it.
Even from a study of the surveys, I can at least make some inferences about what the land was like in certain spots.
And quotes from settlers would make the picture even better."
Noting that a similar project had been done in Dade County and in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, Loncarich
thinks it can be done here.
But, whether his
study is ever published, he
believes the lessons he
will learn will help him manage our public lands to maximize their potential and to help the wildlife on those lands.
"We have already learned that if we return to old ways and native plants, wildlife does better," Loncarich
"As we have worked to restore the prairies and the open timber in the county, we have seen a big comeback in the quail population.
We know this works so now we just need to find out what the landscape looked like back then and work toward that."
So, as Loncarich
works on his
research project, he
will be looking back with his
eye on the future.
Anyone with old letters, diaries or other historical documents relating to the geology, topography, or other landscape features of early-day Newton County may contact Loncarich