by Jim McCarty
are all the rage in backyard landscaping. Visitors to Millstream Gardens
near Fredericktown can get some splendid ideas at the Department of
Conservation natural area — provided they come at the right time.
During late winter and early spring the 1.2 miles of the St. Francis
River that passes through the area is a raging torrent. So wild is the
water that this section is the course for the state’s whitewater
The whitewater is short-lived. When the spring rains stop the St. Francis
becomes a placid brook and the granite boulders that form its course
are the backdrop for the natural water garden that gives the area its
name. Tiny waterfalls create soothing music that is often the only sound
at this time of year.
The Department of Conservation has added many features to the area that
make it worth visiting any time of the year. Its 614 acres can be used
for hunting, fishing and hiking on a 2.5 mile trail that offers a panoramic
look at the Tiemann Shut-ins area featured on our cover and passes the
unusual pretzel-shaped pine tree at left.
Bowhunters can hone their skills on a 14-point, walk-through archery
target range that includes a range for shooting broadheads.
Millstream Gardens, located just off Highway 72 in between Fredericktown
and Arcadia, is open daily from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information
you can contact the department at (573) 290-5730.