The area is named for a famous Missouri statesman and Civil War general, Nathanial Watkins, who lived here and is buried in a small cemetery in the forest.
General Watkins Conservation Area contains a forest type more closely resembling Appalachian than Missouri forests. Sweetgum, American beech, cucumber tree and tulip poplar are found here, along with tree species more common to Missouri, like white and red oak, maple, hickory and walnut. This mesic beech-oak forest type has spicebush, dogwood and paw paw growing in the shrub layer. The ground layer is dominated by Virginia creeper and poison ivy and also includes Christmas fern, broad beech fern and the state-rare beech drops and Virginia pennywort. Beech drops are brown-purple and grow only in beech forests; they are parasitic on beech roots. The pale green pennywort has pale lilac flowers in early spring but is difficult to find being only a few inches tall. Natural erosion has worn steep-sided canyons up to 50 feet deep through the area's loess soils. People walking near these canyons should be cautious.
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Bird Watching Posted in Audubon Society of MO website.
Camping - Individual Campsites Camping area has five defined campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, BBQ grills and gravel pads.
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack Seasonal closures may apply.
Fishing - Bass Good population.
Fishing - Catfish Good population.
Fishing - Crappie Fair population.
Fishing - Sunfish Good population. Area ponds are being managed for large sunfish. Special sunfish regulations apply.
Hiking Two trails (Cemetery Ridge Trail and Schlosser Loop Trail).
Hunting-Deer Good population. Annual Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.
Hunting-Quail Fair population. Quail hunting allowed under statewide regulations
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population.
Hunting-Squirrel Fair population.
Open for public use from 4 a.m. To 10 p.m.; hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, dog training, launching and landing boats is allowed 24 hours a day on areas where these activities are permitted.
There are no fees for using Missouri conservation areas. These areas are funded by the 1/8th of 1% Conservation State Sales Tax.
Boat Ramp - Lake - Concrete
Camping Area - Individual Campsites
Primitive camping area with five defined campsites, picnic tables and fire rings.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets and hunting dogs are permitted but must be on a leash or confined at all time. Hunting dogs may be used off the leash and unconfined for hunting and training for the purposes of chasing, locating, tracking or retrieving game. A valid small game hunting permit is required to train dogs in pursuit of wildlife.