Sand Pond Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Naylor, take Highway 142 south 1 mile, then Route W south 4 miles.

About This Area

Sand Pond Conservation Area is located in southeastern Ripley County, 4.5 miles south of Naylor on Route W. The area contains 302 acres. The Nature Conservancy owns an additional 500 acres in Missouri and 160 acres in Arkansas that are adjacent to the area.

Sand Pond Conservation Area was purchased primarily to protect the unique dune-swale ecosystem found here, but the area also offers good opportunities for hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing, and other recreational opportunities. The sandy soils that characterize the area were deposited here by the waters of melting glaciers during the Late Wisconsin Stage. Then, about 18,000 to 22,000 years ago, winds swept the land and formed these sands into dunes and swales, or ponds. The ponds and their banks support many rare and endangered species, including corkwood, the western mud snake and a federally endangered shrub called pondberry.

Native Americans occupied the dunes between 5,000 B.C. and 1350 A.D. In the early 1900s, European settlers cleared the dunes for farming.

We have planted trees in these fields to help restore the dunes to their natural condition. Over time, the dunes will begin to support more of the diverse assemblage of native plants and animals that they once did.

A 68-acre portion of Sand Pond Conservation Area and the TNC Sand Ponds Preserve is designated as a Missouri Natural Area. Natural Areas are biological communities or geologic sites that are protected and managed to perpetuate the natural character, diversity, and ecological processes of Missouri's native landscapes.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Good area to view forest interior and bottomland species. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Walk-in/Float-in/Backpack  Seasonal closures may apply. 
Hunting-Deer Fair population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair population. Swamp rabbits are common on this area. 
Hunting-Squirrel Fair population.  
Hunting-Turkey Fair population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Parking Lot    

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Designated Natural Area Sand Ponds Natural Area 68.00 acres The Natural Area is 68 acres in size. 59 acres are on Sand Pond CA and 7 acres are on the Altvater Addition. See natural areas.  
Named Wetland Sand Ponds 22.00 acres The low-lying areas among sand dune and swale topography support several ponds. Very few locations remain in Missouri where these types of natural communities are intact. Uncommon species can be found in this area including the corkwood, water canna, and the federally endangered pondberry.  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Wetland 32.00  
Forest and Woodland 270.00  
Total Area Acres:202.20 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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