Points of Interest:
- See the rare cousin to spicebush, pondberry.
- Look and listen for green tree frogs.
- See a landscape formed from ancient sand dunes.
Natural Features Description: Here wind-deposited sands form a region of dune and swale topography that was created over 10,000 years ago. Today these dunes and swales are wooded with tree and shrub species more common in Arkansas and Mississippi than in Missouri. In the winter and spring the swales typically hold water. In these wet depressions a variety of southeastern tree species grow: swamp red maple, bald cypress, overcup oak, willow oak and snowbell. In these seasonally inundated wetlands occurs the endangered pondberry shrub. Pondberry is in the same genus as the more common spicebush and the two species have many similarities. The species occurs in six southern states with Missouri being the northern-most location. The pondberry is dependent on the wetlands and a hydrological study of this area has shown that the sand pond wetlands are a perched wetland not tied tightly into the regional aquifer and more dependent on surface inflow and precipitation. In the spring the chorus of frogs and toads fills the air of the swale wetlands.
This natural area is within Sand Pond Conservation Area. From Naylor head south for about 4.5 miles on Highway W. Turn left (east) on to the gravel road and drive to the second parking lot, about ¾ mile east of Highway W. The natural area is north of the parking lot. Hunting is permitted. A map and compass are recommended to explore this area.