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Missouri State Parks

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When was the last time you visited a Missouri State Park? Did you know Missouri frequently ranks in the top 4 state park systems nationwide?

Missouri has 85 state parks and historic sites and the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry totaling over 200,000 acres and 840 miles of trails. Missouri state parks also maintain 3,700 camp sites, 194 cabins, almost 2,000 picnic sites and hosts over 17 million visitors every year.

In northern Platte County, Weston Bend State Park is a target location for many birders, especially during migration. It is a great area to catch warblers moving through in the spring and fall. Another great bird often seen there is the Pileated Woodpecker. The park has 8 hiking trails and a 3 mile paved trail for hiking/biking. It offers spectacular overviews of the Missouri River and also hosts a camping area.

In recent times, with the downturn in the economy and the removal of all state park funding from the general fund, the 1/10 of one percent tax passed in 1984, cannot stretch far enough. The parks estimate needing $200 million in infrastructure and capital improvements. Many conservation groups across Missouri are appealing to Missouri lawmakers to make solving this problem a priority. You may see more on the issue as various groups across our state try to persuade lawmakers to issue bonds for a state building fund and allocate 10% of the revenues to state parks.

By Mark McKellar

Summer 2011