Places to Go

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From Missouri Conservationist: July 2018

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

Natural events — ancient and modern — leave their marks on this Ozark favorite.

by Larry Archer

Nature, both in the form of geologic oddities carved over a  billion years and in severe weather lasting less than five hours, hasnoticeably marked Amidon Memorial Conservation Area (CA) in southeast Missouri.

The first, the Castor River Shutins, is Missouri’s only pink granite shut-ins. This gorge of granite rocks anchors the Castor River Shut-ins Natural Area, which makes up 209 acres of Amidon Memorial CA’s 1,632 mostly forested acres. Away  from the shut-ins, visitors can find evidence of what nature can do inhours rather than eons, according to Resource Forester Becky Fletcher, area manager.

“The giant storm in 2009, they called the super derecho, blew down about 70 percent of the trees out there, so there’s a lot of new growth,” Fletcher said. “You can still see the damage that was done by the storm, especially away from the shut-ins.”

As the area heals from the damage caused by the storm’s 90-mph winds, wildlife has taken advantage of the new undergrowth, and for hikers, there’s a limited-time upside as well, she said.

“It’s a little more open on the ridgetops, so you can see a lot farther, but as the trees grow up, that’ll change,” Fletcher said.

What to look for when you visit Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

  • 1,632 acres straddle Bollinger and Madison counties.
  • From Fredericktown, take Route J east, then Route W south, and then County Road 208 east.

What to do when you visit


Included in the National Audubon Society’s Upper Castor/Whitewater Watershed Important Bird Area. The eBird list of birds recorded at Amidon Memorial CA is available at


Individual campsites. No amenities. Seasonal closures may apply.


Black bass, sunfish, white bass.


Cedar Glade Trail, a 1-mile loop, leads to the shut-ins, and several area access trails cross the forested areas.


Deer and turkey - Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also dove, rabbit, and squirrel.


Special use permit required.

What to Look for When You Visit

  • Pipevine swallowtail
  • Prairie lizard Raccoon
  • Eastern chipmunk

“Wild azaleas grow out there. They only grow in three or four counties in Missouri, and usually about late April, early May, they’re blooming. They’re one of those acid-loving species, and the granite soils are acidic.”

—Amidon Memorial CA Manager Becky Fletcher

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen

Staff Writer - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler