General Watkins Conservation Area contains a forest type more closely resembling Appalachian than Missouri forests. Sweet gum, American beech, cucumber trees and tulip poplars are found here, along common Missouri species like white and red oak, maple, hickory and walnut.
This moist beech-oak forest has spicebush, dogwood and paw paw growing in the shrub layer. The ground layer, which is dominated by Virginia creeper and poison ivy, includes Christmas fern, broad beech fern, beech drops and Virginia pennywort.
The area offers camping, fishing, hiking and hunting. Natural erosion has created steep-sided canyons up to 50 feet deep. People walking near these canyons should be cautious.
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. The 1,108 acres are 14 miles north of Sikeston.