Much of the area was purchased in the 1950's through the efforts of James B. Jenkins, a local resident farmer. The area was purchased to increase public fishing and hunting opportunities in the Northeast Region.
About 5,000 acres of Deer Ridge Conservation Area is forested. Nearly 20 miles of multiple use trails can take you to the many unique features that can be experienced on Deer Ridge Conservation Area. The easy to walk purple trail will take you through a woodland that has an abundance of 150 year old post oaks where woodland forbs such as Culver's root and pale purple coneflowers are being established. If you're into long adventurous trails to hike, bike or ease along on horseback the many multi-use trails may be what you're looking for. Horse campground is the place horseback riders will want to camp. Horse camp offers places to tie up horses, restrooms and space for parking your trailer. From Horse campground is quick access to several of the favorite trails.
The abundance of wildlife and ground flora diversity is growing on Deer Ridge Conservation Area due to active land management systems. During the early spring, catch the many service berries laced throughout the upland oak/hickory forest hills by its white flowers along red, orange, and yellow trail. Enjoy bottomland forest and wetlands filled with the musical sounds of many aquatic wildlife species along green and blue trails.
Management of this forest includes tree improvement and tree harvest to create forest openings for wildlife, to promote the health of the forest, and ensure a diversity of tree sizes and age classes. Visitors to the area will also see signs of open field cropping, grass management, and wetland management.
Deer Ridge Conservation Area is rich with human history. Artifacts found along the ridges that overlook the North Fabius river indicate the area was used by at least five different Native American tribes.
A 48-acre lake, constructed in 1960, provides bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie for anglers. The lake is managed to provide quality fishing.
The area also offers opportunities for target shooting at the James B. Jenkins Shooting Range. The unstaffed range has a three-station rifle range, regulation trap range, and archery range.
Through cooperation with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, six wetland pools have been constructed that provide approximately 225 acres of wetland habitat at full pool. There are also many oxbow marsh areas along the North Fabius river bottoms that also provide excellent habitat for waterfowl such as wood ducks and many types of amphibious wildlife.