Missouri State Parks | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri State Parks

The new 144-mile segment of the Rock Island Trail would span from Windsor, Missouri, in the western part of the state to Beaufort in Franklin County.
MoBikeFed | Flickr

Utility company Ameren has come to an agreement with Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources to donate an old rail line for use as a recreational trail. 

The former Rock Island and Pacific Rail corridor owned by Ameren stretches 144 miles from Beaufort to Windsor and would complete a trail that would connect Kansas City to St. Louis. 

The new 144-mile segment of the Rock Island Trail would span from Windsor, Missouri, in the western part of the state to Beaufort in Franklin County.
MoBikeFed | Flickr

A study by the University of Missouri Extension calls for the state to accept a donation of land and eventually complete the Rock Island Trail.

The 144 miles of former railroad line would span from Windsor, Missouri,  in the western part of the state to Beaufort in Franklin County, adding to the current hiking and biking trail. The trail would connect Kansas City and St. Louis.

Big Spring State Park
Missouri Division of Tourism | Flickr

Missouri’s recent state park windfall, which came at the end of former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure, is in jeopardy.

Four of the parks, scattered across the Ozarks, were shuttered or never opened. Republican legislators said there just isn’t the money to maintain the parks and some have suggested selling the land to private developers.

But all of those parks are near active mining operations, raising fears among environmentalists that now-protected land will become a for-profit enterprise.

No new Missouri state parks under bill passed by House; now in Senate's hands

Apr 18, 2017
Echo Bluff State Park
Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The Missouri House approved a measure last week that would block the creation of state parks until maintenance on the nearly 100 existing parks is completed.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Jay Nixon received a nice parting gift from the Department of Natural Resources a few days before stepping down as governor: a new state park that bears his name.

But Jay Nixon State Park may soon have a new name if Republican lawmakers have their way.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

The first of six ballot measures before Missouri voters this November has not generated any controversy – so far. Constitutional Amendment 1 would renew the state's parks and soils tax for another 10 years. 

Echo Bluff State Park
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Echo Bluff State Park is officially open.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut the ribbon Saturday on Missouri's newest park, which is being promoted as a hub from which visitors can explore the state's Ozark region.

On the Eleven Point
Charlie Llewellin | Flickr

In the wilderness of southern Missouri, 44 miles of the Eleven Point River is part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Part of the river is nestled between the Mark Twain National Forest and a historically rich parcel called the Irish Wilderness. As the river descends to the Missouri-Arkansas border, cattle grazing intermingles with the edge of the forest.

Now, Missouri is considering developing the southern part of the river into a state park. But the park has become controversial -- both for its very existence and for the money used to buy it.

(via Flickr/John Picken)

If you were planning on going swimming at three specific Missouri state beaches sometime soon, you may want to make other plans.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says "bacteria levels higher than those recommended for waters used for swimming" are the reason behind the temporary closing of beaches at:

  • Grand Glaize Beach, also known as Public Beach #2, at Lake of the Ozarks State Park
  • Public beaches at Mark Twain State Park
  • Public beaches at Harry S Truman State Park

Enjoying the fall on foot

Oct 28, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2010 - For me, one of the best ways to enjoy the best of fall -- colorful leaves, crisp air, golden light -- is on foot. At that slower pace, you're less likely to miss that walking stick hiding on the side of the path or the sunlight dancing on the waters of a stream or the perfect red maple leaf floating to the ground.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 19, 2009 - Just a few weeks after Gov. Jay Nixon called for new efforts to increase attendance at Missouri state parks, his administration announced Monday that 120 out of 700 park positions would be eliminated because of a budget crunch.

The precise dollar amount and types of positions to be cut were not immediately available. The final figures will depend in part on personnel rules that will determine whether some employees whose jobs might be cut can in turn bump those with less seniority.