Parks | St. Louis Public Radio

Parks

Carolyn Mueller and John Brown
Mary Edwards | St. Louis Public Radio

Did you know that Missouri was once a mecca for health conscious people, that there is a town in the state named Tightwad or there is still a law on the books that cattle can’t graze on airport runways? These and a plethora of other facts and histories can be found in the new book “Missouri Almanac 2018-2019.” Carolyn Mueller and John Brown, two of the book’s five authors, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to share highlights and the genesis of the book.

Matt Ridings | Flickr

 

Tower Grove Park in south St. Louis will see some renovations and improvements over the next few years. Park officials are unveiling a 20-year master plan on Wednesday.

The park’s new master plan includes expanding and enhancing some of the more popular areas of the park, including the farmer’s market.

The park’s executive director, Bill Reininger, said more than 200 people attended an open house in January and over 1,200 people have made suggestions for the park’s renovations through an online survey.

A view of Elephant Rocks State Park during the fall.
Missouri Division of Tourism | Flickr

It is said Missouri is home to one of the best state park systems in the country. How did it get to be this way? And what hurdles does it face going forward?

“We’ve been in the top four the past few years now, and we’re also considered the number one trail state,” said Steve Nagle, the board president of the Missouri Parks Association, an advocacy group that supports the state parks system. “We’re really proud of that legacy.”

Camping tent
Arup Malakar |Flickr|http://bit.ly/208olRZ

When climber Scott Briscoe was in high school, he got involved with the genre of physical activity known as “adventure sports.” You know:  hiking, skiing, backpacking, kayaking, rock climbing, and the like. He loved these kinds of sports, but there was something missing from the experience — people who looked like him.

Three artists to receive $3,000 for Forest Park residency

Feb 19, 2016
Image from Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park's Future
Provided by Michael Eastman and Forest Park Forever

Forest Park Forever is celebrating its 30th anniversary by giving three artists $3,000 each.

The money is a stipend for three, three-week-long residencies in the park from May to September. Stephen Schenkenberg, the organization’s strategic communications director, says the project’s intended to answer the question:

“How can we celebrate in a way that the community ultimately gets something new, someone’s new interpretation or expression of what the park means?”

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation is being considered in the Missouri House that would block the Nixon administration from creating a new state park in the southern part of the state.

Two bills heard Monday by a House committee would force the Department of Natural Resources to sell any land set aside for the new park that was purchased using funds from lead mining settlements.

Organizer Leon Braxton at the site of the Transgender Memorial Park.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A sliver of land in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood is getting a makeover to become what may the country’s first Transgender Memorial Park.

It’s a cooperative effort between the city and community members. Leon Braxton got the idea when he heard about the city’s “Plant4Peace” project, a program that gives out free trees for local gathering spaces.

“I thought about this would be a great opportunity for something in the LGBT community,” Braxton said.

Laumeier expansion complete after decade of planning

Jul 1, 2015

This week marks the end of construction on Laumeier Sculpture Park’s fine arts center. According to park Executive Director Marilu Knode, the entire building was designed to bridge the gap between future indoor exhibits and its already established outdoor collection.

“You know we’re an outdoor park, we don’t need a fancy building we need something that’s like a barn!” she said.

Beating the heat
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Outdoor pools have become a politically charged subject in the wake of a white police officer’s treatment of black teens in McKinney, Texas. This weekend, the city of St. Louis' largest outdoor public pool reopened after being closed for over a year.  In a year marked by racial tension throughout the city, many people in attendance at the Marquette Park pool characterized the event as a step in the right direction.

Katelyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

As the weather gets warmer this month, St. Louis gains two more places to enjoy springtime outdoors. St. Charles County is cutting the ribbon of a new park on Monday, while St. Louis County debuted a new park last week.

Youth In Old North Organize To Fix Parks

Jan 14, 2015
Old North
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Torn up nets, fading court lines, unkempt baseball fields, smashed slides, broken pavement, crumbling swing sets and a clogged sprinkler filled with trash and dead animals … these are just some of the problems facing a pair of parks in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis. Problems area children are campaigning to fix. 

The Youth Council of Old North held a meeting Tuesday evening to campaign for the city to fix Strodtman and Jackson parks. The council, which is made up of young men from the neighborhood, was established this fall.

Linda Lockhart | St. Louis Public Radio

The Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park, Missouri’s original, natural water park, is ready for action. That’s what Steph Deidrick, a division information officer for the Missouri State Parks, wants people to know.

It’s been four years since Johnson’s Shut-ins reopened the park and campgrounds after the area was hit by a devastating flood, caused when AmerernUE’s Taum Sauk reservoir gave way.  The reservoir breach occurred on Dec. 14, 2005, sending approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water down the Proffit Mountain, flooding the park below.

Morning headlines: Monday, Sept. 3, 2012

Sep 3, 2012
(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Isaac dumps rain, but Mo. drought persists

The National Weather Service says large parts of rural Missouri and Illinois had between three-to-five inches of rainfall this weekend.

In St. Louis, Oakville received three and a half inches of rain, the most in the metropolitan area.  But National Weather Service Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said it will take much more rain to snap this summer's historic drought.

Retirements leave gap at Ill. state parks

Aug 25, 2012
Wallula Junction / Flickr

Since late last year, almost a quarter of Illinois state park superintendents have retired, taking with them in many cases 30 or more years of experience that will be hard to replace.
 
The loss of that institutional knowledge is one more cost of the state's deep financial crisis. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is among state agencies hit hard by years of budget cuts.
 

(via Flickr/Trailnet)

The St. Louis County Parks Department presented its business plan to the County Council last night, and for now, no park closures are being discussed. 

Officials with the parks department said they’re doing their best to cut unnecessary expenses and uncover new revenue streams, but currently the department has a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2013.

The budget outlook could get much worse in 2014, and Parks Department Director Tom Ott said they would need to make drastic cuts without adequate funding.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

People who go camping at state parks in Missouri can now add laptops and iPads to their lists of camping gear and supplies.

Prior to this year, only Bennett Spring State Park had WiFi service, which was used mainly for live trout cameras during trout season.  Renee Bungart with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says WiFi service has now been expanded to eleven state park campgrounds.

Morning headlines - Monday, June 4, 2012

Jun 4, 2012
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ill. DNR director cannot rule out park closures

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

The director of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources says his department will do all it can to keep the state's parks open after the failure of a $2 increase in license plate fees that would have provided a funding stream the the DNR.

But Marc Miller says he can't rule anything out, because the department has seen its budget slashed by 50 percent over the last decade.

Morning headlines - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012
(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

County parks audit finds spending on vehicles during budget crisis

An internal audit of the St. Louis County Parks Department has found the department spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new vehicles, even as county executive Charlie Dooley was threatening to close parks and lay off employees.

(via Flickr/rjones0856)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has given the agency that oversees Missouri's state parks low marks for its documentation and oversight procedures.

The Division of State Parks, within the Department of Natural Resources, oversees the state's 85 parks and historical sites. The sites bring in about $9 million annually, with about $1.7 million coming from 16 companies that provide food, lodging and other concessions at some of the parks. The division also administers the state parks sales tax, which totals about $38 million a year.

Morning headlines: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mar 7, 2012
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Child abusers could face tougher penalties under Mo. legislation

People who injure or kill a baby by shaking the child could face tougher penalties under legislation moving through the Missouri House. The House has endorsed a measure expanding Missouri's child abuse law to specifically cover causing a baby's death or injury by shaking.

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