heart pumping. I also noticed many herons feeding and squawking at each other, along with wood ducks and mallards flying overhead. It was a beautiful morning to observe those sights as the sun rose over Rose Pond.
I discovered that trapping was allowed with special permission only. I contacted Darlene Swearingen, the area's wildlife biologist. She said the area was having problems with beaver plugging the culverts and ditches. She was glad that I was interested in helping with the beaver problem. As a result, I had a productive trapping season. Not only did I have the privilege of enjoying many hours of a sport that I love, but I got to discover Rose Pond Conservation Area in Clark County.
Poosey Conservation Area
Marked by a cantilever sign on Highway A, one mile east of the junction of highways A and U in Livingston County.
One of my favorite activities is cross country skiing at Poosey Conservation Area. The miles of interior roads and horse trails through this area are great for combining skiing with two of my other interests - birding and wildlife watching.
Many raptors use this area, especially in winter. Some of the birds of prey seen here the last few years include prairie falcon, northern goshawk, Harlan's and rough-legged hawks, golden and bald eagles, and short-eared owls.
Ice skating also is fun on the area's many ponds when conditions are right.
At Poosey, I have taken many primitive camping trips with my kids, where I was able to watch them grow and learn about the outdoors.
Deer Ridge Conservation Area
Five and one-half miles north of Lewis-town on Highway H, and two miles west on Highway Y in Lewis County.
Share the bounty of Deer Ridge Conservation Area. Identifying flowers and trees, watching a hawk soar, following deer tracks in the snow to a resting buck, slipping and sliding on a frozen pond, listening to birds at dawn in early spring are just a few of the things my family enjoys while hiking through this area. We picnic, camp, get in our canoe and paddle, fish and observe from the water, but it is on foot that we have come to know and appreciate nature at Deer Ridge.
Rain or shine, we hike the horse trails, the not-so-obvious trails, or go cross country for three or four hours at a time with day pack, water, food and pack stove. We are at Deer Ridge almost every day we are not working and sometimes after work.
We know where to find the downed trees that are good for sitting, where the false rue anemone blanket the spring floor, where the jack-in-the pulpits open, where the yellow of the bellworts are unbelievable and where the cedar groves are like a fairyland.
Deer Ridge is known best to hunters, and rightly so, and to anglers and horseback riders. Its trails and ridges are a paradise to anyone on foot. We seldom leave without a wonder to ponder.
Pickle Springs Natural Area
East of Farmington on Highway 32, east on Highway AA, then north on Dorlac Road in Ste. Genevieve County.
About five years ago, my husband, Bob, and I discovered Pickle Springs Natural Area while driving in the Farmington area. The hiking trail is two miles long, with short stretches of steep grades that are considered moderately difficult.
Our grandsons, Ryan and Brad, think Pickle Springs is fun to hike. They like the wooden signs that give names to different areas, such as The Double Arch, Terrapin Rock and Owl's Den Bluff. It's fun for them to see where all these special areas are on the map. They also like the creek and natural spring that we see while hiking the trail.
We all like the area's quiet, natural beauty - the cool, moist canyons, the unique rock formations and the great views from the sandstone bluffs. The ferns are beautiful and seem to thrive in the moist, rock crevices. In the springtime you can see wild azaleas and flowering dogwood.
We think Pickle Springs is a special hiking area. Of all the trails we have hiked, it remains our favorite.
Discover your own favorite conservation areas in Missouri's Conservation Atlas, a 264-page guide to exploring Missouri Department of Conservation lands.
The Atlas' maps highlight more than 900,000 acres of land, thousands of miles of streams and rivers and 610 lakes.
A detailed index shows what facilities you'll find at each area, which species of fish and wildlife live there, and which activities you may participate in while at each area.
To order your Atlas, send $15 plus $5 shipping and handling (Missouri residents should include 93 cents for the 6.225% sales tax) to: Missouri Department of Conservation, Fiscal Division, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City 65102-0180.