A visit to Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

A visit to Amidon Memorial Conservation Area

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Similar to other recreation spots in the area, Amidon Memorial Conservation is home to many large boulders.

As you enter the site, paths are clearly marked and surrounded by forest. The canopy of green above provides a serene feeling and also protects from the beating rays of the sun.

Walking down the Cedar Glade Trail, you will notice wildflowers, mushrooms, insects, birds and possibly other wildlife such as deer, squirrels or chipmunks.

Missouri Department of Conservation Agent Alan Lamb said Missouri is home to a variety of wildlife and it would not be out of the ordinary to see any one of the area's native species.

"Just remember that wildlife belongs in the wild and deserves our respect and distance," Lamb said. "Any animal can become dangerous when it feels threatened or trapped, so please give it space."

The igneous rock formations of the shut-ins along with the related ecosystems have made Amidon a very unique place for bird watching, camping, fishing, hiking, and even hunting.

The shut-ins can be heard well before they are seen as the sound of the flowing waters carry through the forest. 

Once you arrive at the end of the mile-long path you will see the granite shut-ins located on the Castor River. There is plenty to see and plenty to do with the large pink boulders to climb on and water to cool off in.

"Amidon is a 1,630 acre tract of land located on the upper reaches of the Castor River," Lamb said. "The area was donated to the Missouri Department of Conservation by Evelyn and Ellsworth Amidon. The granite shut-ins are a highly popular swimming destination for many visitors."

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area has two trails, Cedar Glade which is 1 mile and Old Mill which is 2.5 miles. The shorter trail is a fairly easy trail with flat terrain leading directly to the shut-ins and the famous pink rocks.

At the end of the Cedar Glade Trail, hikers can either turn back and make their way to the parking lot or continue up the hill through some glades to take a higher look.

The pink granite is the highlight of the area as it creates the beautiful scenery of natural sculptures. 

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the pink rocks tell a story of a volcanic eruption and molten lava which occurred some 1.5 billion years ago. The magma cooled under ground and was later exposed and shaped by the flowing water of the Castor River.

MDC says the pink color of the rocks is from the iron minerals within them. 

While exploring the area, it is obvious certain places had been altered. MDC said it has been using various forest improvement practices in order to improve wildlife habitats and maintain watershed quality. They said any physical disturbance is only temporary and will return to its normal appearance. 

Lamb said the MDC works hard spending many hours each year to maintain the area and asks everyone to do their part by being good stewards of the land. He said if you see trash please pick it up, and if you see illegal activities, report them.

The many opportunities for outdoor recreation at Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, such as primitive camping, can be discovered at nature.mdc.mo.gov or on the area information boards at the site. 

Amidon Memorial Conservation Area is located in Madison County east of Fredericktown on Route J, then south on Route W and east on County Road 208.


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