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Missouri State Parks Promoting ‘Learn2 Camp’

April 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on Missouri State Parks Promoting ‘Learn2 Camp’ 

For the second year, Missouri State Parks is teaming up with The North Face’s Explore Your Parks Program to teach families how to have an enjoyable and safe camping experience with its Learn2 Camp program.

The program provides expert answers and guidance to families who want to go camping but are uncertain how and what equipment is needed, KFVS-TV, Cape Girardeau County, reported.

This summer, 40 families will have the opportunity to participate in the program, which will be held at five different state parks during June. Workshops will be held at the following locations:

  • June 1 – Robertsville State Park, Robertsville.
  • June 8 – Trail of Tears State Park, Jackson.
  • June 15 – Montauk State Park, Salem.
  • June 22 – Arrow Rock State Historic Site, Arrow Rock.
  • June 29 – Weston Bend State Park, Weston.

“During our first year, families across Missouri learned about camping and had a great experience getting more comfortable in nature,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “We are excited to bring this program back for a second year so that even more people can learn the joys of camping in the great outdoors.”

In the Learn2 Camp program, Missouri State Parks will supply the camping equipment, instructors to teach basic camping skills, a campsite in a state park campground, recipes and a list of things campers should bring. Each family should bring food for meals, bedding, personal items such as soap, etc., and a willingness to learn and discover the outdoors.

To become one of the lucky families, the family needs to tell why it wants to learn to camp in 500 words or less. Also, select your first and second choices for the Learn2 Camp program locations and dates. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday, May 13, and the winners will be notified by Wednesday, May 15.

A family group is considered up to six people, with at least one person 18 years of age or older. Please include adequate adult supervision for children to ensure the program can be educational and enjoyable for everyone.

A $10 registration fee will apply to selected families. A camping coupon good for one free night stay in any Missouri State Parks campground will be awarded upon completion of the program.

To apply to be a Learn2 Camp program family or for more information on the program, go to www.mostateparks.com/learn2camp. For information about state parks and historic sites, visit www.mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

 

Missouri Parks Facing $400M Work Backlogs

April 24, 2013 by · Comments Off on Missouri Parks Facing $400M Work Backlogs 

Environment Missouri, a state environmental advocacy group, kicked off its campaign Tuesday (April 23) by calling on state legislators to take action on what they say are $400 million worth of back-logged repairs to state parks, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

The organization says that state parks are crucial to the economy, bringing an average of 18 million visitors a year, and providing over 14,000 jobs.

Parks are currently funded by half of a one-tenth-of-1-cent sales tax, a tax voters have continued to renew over the years. But Environment Missouri thinks that it’s not enough.

The list of back-logged repairs keeps growing longer, with repairs to numerous buildings-some of which have stood untouched since the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Great Depression.

Stuart Keating, a state advocate for Environment Missouri, says that if Misosuri doesn’t do anything soon, it compromises its standing as one the great state park systems in the country.

One popular attraction, which many people might not know is part of the state parks system, is the Katy Trail. According to Keating, due to its expansiveness, it is particularly vulnerable.

“The Katy Trail by its very nature has a very large amount of infrastructure; it’s a big road,” Keating says. “The trail has about $48 million of repairs that need to be done.”

Environment Missouri is optimistic about the bipartisan support the issue has seen, as well as the support of Gov. Jay Nixon.

The state legislature will be considering a bond measure in the coming weeks which would set aside at least $40 million to state parks. If the General Assembly passes the bond measure it will go before voters in November.

Latest Briefs from RV Parks/Campgrounds

April 18, 2013 by · Comments Off on Latest Briefs from RV Parks/Campgrounds 

Shane Ott

MONTANA

From the Billings Standard:

Two weeks ago in China, a country with almost no commercial campgrounds and limited cross-country highways, Shane Ott of Billings opened a third Airstream RV dealership, according to the Billings (Mont.) Standard.

The Beijing dealer, Xing Liu, sold two RVs on opening weekend.

“I think, maybe in some cases, these ultra-wealthy people are parking the RV on their property just to make their equally wealthy neighbors jealous,” Ott said.

In recent years, China has been on a tear to build modern infrastructure from subways to railroads to highways, according to the newspaper.

“They may not have many miles of highways, but the ones they have are brand new,” he said.

Click here to read the entire story.

NEW YORK

From the Glens Falls Post Star:

The Adirondack Samaritan Counseling Center in Hudson Falls will honor the Lake George RV Park on Route 149 in Lake George for its ethical practices during an awards banquet on April 27.

The RV park, owned by Dave King, will be honored in the large business division.

The winners were selected for their commitment to core ethical values such as integrity, fairness, honesty, community involvement and public service.

The awards are the result of a yearlong process. The counseling center, which provides mental health services across the region, seeks to recognize ethical local businesses because there is a connection between a positive, supportive workplace and mental health.

Nominations are sought in the spring and summer, and a SUNY Adirondack business ethics class conducts interviews and ranks the nominees in the fall.

NORTH DAKOTA

From The Forum, Fargo-Moorhead:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, will delay opening its camping facilities at Lake Ashtabula near Valley City, N.D., until May 10, weather permitting.

The decision is due to the snowpack lingering into late April and no significant melting forecast for the next 10 days.

Campgrounds impacted include East Ashtabula Crossing, West Ashtabula Crossing, Eggert’s Landing and Mel Rieman Recreation Area.

MISSOURI

From KSDK-TV, St. Louis:

Missouri has been named “Best Trails State” in the nation by a nonprofit organization working to enhance and protect the country’s hiking, biking and riding trails.

The group, American Trails, made the announcement Wednesday (April 17) at the International Trails Symposium in Arizona. The “Best Trails State” award is handed out every two years to the state that does the most to improve and promote its trails system.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the state park system features almost a thousand miles of managed trails and more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior.

More than 18 million people visited Missouri state parks in 2012, marking the fourth straight year of increased attendance, reversing a 10-year decline.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s office said a 2012 economic study for the Missouri park system reported total annual expenditure of state park visitors in 2011 was approximately $778 million.

 

AUDIO: Review of Missouri State Parks

March 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on AUDIO: Review of Missouri State Parks 

Editor’s Note: Bill Bryan, director of Missouri state parks, spoke with The MissouriNet about the 2012 camping season and looks ahead to this coming season. A brief summary appears below. To listen to the entire interview, click here.

Missouri’s state parks are being prepared for a new tourist season after having one of their greatest years ever. Last summer’s oppressive heat and week after week of drought might not seem like ideal weather for a camping trip or a visit to a state historic site. But the parks division says the number of people visiting those parks and sites was the second largest on record.

Director Bill Bryan says the heat did take a toll, though. He says visitors were breaking attendance records until things dried up.

He says the total reached 18 million, only about 200,000 less than the record set more than a decade ago. The parks division says an economic study shows the state parks and historic sites division supported more than 14,500 jobs and had a billion dollar economic impact on the state.

 

 

 

Missouri Gov. Touts State Park Visitations

March 11, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Red pins from this Google Map show the location of state parks in Missouri. The governor recently reported increased state park visitation for the fourth consecutive year.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced March 8 that attendance at Missouri’s State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri’s economic recovery.

More that 18 million guests visited Missouri’s State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline in parks attendance, KY3-TV, Springfield, Mo., reported.

“Whether you want to explore the great outdoors, or learn more about our rich history – Missouri State Parks have something for everyone,” Nixon said. “I encourage all Missouri families to come experience the beauty of the Show-Me State this year by visiting our state parks.”

Increased attendance at Missouri State Parks also strengthens the state’s economy. An economic impact study for the Missouri state park system released in 2012 reported that the total annual expenditure of state parks visitors in 2011 was approximately $778 million. The overall economic impact of these expenditures is estimated at $1.02 billion in sales, $307 million in payroll and related income, and $123 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Also, visitors’ expenditures support 14,535 jobs in Missouri.

 

Mo. Campground Cited in Clean Water Study

February 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on Mo. Campground Cited in Clean Water Study 

Red pin marks the location of Cuivre River State Park in eastern Missouri where frequent reports of water contamination in a campground there are cited in a recent report.

A national environmental group is calling for a federal review of drinking-water quality at Missouri’s state parks, citing a failure to perform federally mandated testing, as well as repeated instances of contamination with coliform bacteria, including E. coli.

According to a complaint Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed Wednesday (Feb. 13) with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Office, while the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has uncovered more than a dozen drinking-water violations in state-park water systems since 2010, the agency has failed to take action to correct the problems, the Riverfront Times, St. Louis, reported.

The DNR is responsible for overseeing Missouri’s nearly 2,800-plus public water systems, 44 of which are located inside state parks.

“The state appears to enforce drinking-water rules much more rigorously against systems other than its own facilities,” says PEER staff counsel Kathryn Douglass, who filed the complaint.

The PEER paper zeroes in on Cuivre River State Park in Troy, about an hour northwest of St. Louis in Lincoln County. The DNR’s website refers to the park’s Camp Derricotte as “a nature lover’s paradise” and features a video of visitors swimming in its waters, but the park logged violations for E. coli in July, August and September 2011, and again in April and May of last year.

In June 2012 Derricotte hosted a three-day overnight camp for 4-H kids.

According to PEER, Derricotte racked up six violations of the EPA’s “Maximum Contaminant Level” standard over the seven months it was open in 2012 and is among the worst of the state’s public water systems at complying with federally mandated regulations. Yet the DNR largely ignored problems at Camp Derricotte, the complaint alleges:

“There is no record of formal warning letters and the only hint of enforcement on record is a computer generated mailing. The Camp Derricotte system has not been required to enter into a binding agreement as all other public water systems with similar records of non-compliance must do.”

There haven’t yet been any illnesses reported from Cuivre River, a phenomenon PEER’s Douglass chalks up to luck. “Good luck,” she clarifies, adding, “How long can you walk this line, saying you’re resolving your issues and you’re not? Every month they were open, they failed the tests.”

PEER filed its complaint in tandem with Patricia Ritchie, a former state employee who worked as the DNR’s public notice coordinator for Safe Drinking Water Act compliance for nearly 20 years. Ritchie voiced her dissatisfaction about the quality of drinking water at state parks back as far back as 2002. In 2004 a state auditor’s report confirmed her allegations. She was fired last year and will bring her case in front of an administrative hearing commission this month under Missouri’s Whistleblower’s Protection Act.

 

 

 

 

MOARC Building on State Park Relationship

December 27, 2012 by · Comments Off on MOARC Building on State Park Relationship 

Editor’s Note: Anita Brooks, chairwoman of the Missouri Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (MOARC) Missouri State Parks Committee, shared some year-end thoughts in the latest issue of the MOARC News about the relationship between public and private parks in the Show Me State. As she points out, cooperation is growing between the two sides. Excerpts of her column follow.

Our last convention was stirred by a notable situation. Missouri State Parks requested admittance to our association. A rousing discussion ensued, prompting a direct response from Paul Bambei, president of ARVC, and your MOARC board members. In May, we met with Missouri State Parks leaders, and respectfully clarified our position that they could not join our association. However, we reaped a side benefit. They are willing to share information relevant to our industry.

Their actions may affect you.

  • More state parks are 100% reservable. In the past, when they reached maximum capacity, consumers were told nothing was left. Now, they will send customers to the closest park listed on the Missouri Division of Tourism website. (Make sure your information is up to date.)
  • The Missouri State Parks and Missouri Division of Tourism are partnering too encourage doctors to issue prescriptions for outdoor activities.
  • Missouri is gaining support from corporate sponsors. Most recently, North Face has given monies for the Learn2Camp program. June is earmarked for this push.
  • Areas like Illinois are closing some of their state parks. Missouri’s goal is to target their former customers and reach 20 million new tourists by 2020. Travelers follow main highways, making some of our member parks and naturla draw.
  • The state has agreed to provide national figures for federal campgrounds through the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal park Services. Statistical data helps monitor market trends.
  • Missouri is developing a website to promote trails of all kinds. This includes hiing, biking, government and private trails.
  • They are moving to differential pricing. Peak periods like weekends will be higher than average slower periods, price rates for 2013 and/or 2014 are anticipated.
  • Currently, state parks make 75% of their income from sales tax and 25% from services. They are focusing on changing those ratios to a higher percentage of income from services.
  • When customers ask what they can do in your area, sell them on their place by promoting historical information. You might be surprised at what’s within a 50-mile radius of your property.
  • Missouri State Parks will now allow us to put MOARC Guides and private park brochures in their state park centers.

We are gleaning great value from meeting with the Division of Missouri State Parks. Important information that can benefit our individual park members.

Let’s work together to promote more folks in the great outdoors.

 

 

Report: Missouri State Park Visitations Up 17%

September 5, 2012 by · Comments Off on Report: Missouri State Park Visitations Up 17% 

It’s getting harder to find a parking spot at Missouri state parks.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, visits to state parks increased 17 percent in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2011, the Missourian, Columbia, reported.

The number of visitors at Missouri state parks has been increasing over the past four years, but the 17 percent increase in 2012 was the most significant jump in visits in the past decade.

The statistics were gathered by using electronic sensors that record vehicle traffic at park entrances.

Missourians and out-of-state visitors are using the state’s park system to camp, hike, bike, swim and fish.

The increase in state park recreation is being used to make the case for increasing the amount of money for state parks.

Stewart Keating, an advocate for Environment Missouri, said the increasing number of people visiting Missouri’s state parks “highlights the critical need for state parks to receive more funding.”

Environment Missouri, the Missouri State Parks Association and 20 other organizations have been promoting an increased budget for the state park system. These organizations estimate that state parks are in need of an extra $200 million on top of the nearly $47 million already budgeted to Missouri State Parks.

Keating said that a limited state budget is affecting the maintenance of state parks by limiting groundskeeping and investment in roads, bridges and sewage treatment.

State parks have also been limited by a smaller staff since 2009, when 120 positions were cut, reducing the number of employees by 20 percent.

 

 

RV Park and Campground Briefs

June 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on RV Park and Campground Briefs 

ARIZONA

From KMXV-TV, Phoenix:

The following fire restrictions will be in effect for the entire Prescott National Forest starting June 8:

  • The use of campfires, charcoal grills, and stove fires (wood, charcoal, and coal burning) are prohibited on all Prescott National Forest lands. This now includes developed campsites and campgrounds.
  • Use of explosives is prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Operating a chainsaw, or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine, is prohibited between the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. During acceptable hours, please have 5-foot to 10-foot clearance around your generators and other internal combustion engines.
  • Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is prohibited.
  • Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun is prohibited except while engaged in a lawful hunt.

MISSOURI

From The Associated Press:

Eleven Missouri state parks are now offering free wireless Internet access at campgrounds. And more could come online this summer.

State Parks Director Bill Bryan says parks have long been great places to get away from a hectic schedule, but campers also have been asking to stay connected to the online world.

The wireless Internet access was added after a 2010 survey showed people would camp more often, and stay longer, if Internet connections were available.

Park campgrounds with wireless access include: Bennett Spring near Lebanon; Montauk near Salem; Roaring River near Cassville; Table Rock near Branson; Meramec near Sullivan; Baker near Patterson; Babler in Wildwood; Johnson’s Shut-Ins near Middlebrook; Onondaga Cave near Leasburg; Long Branch near Macon; and Finger Lakes near Columbia.

MASSACHUSETTS

From Yahoo Sports:

Writer Killeen Gonzales has identified what she calls her picks for the top five state run campgrounds in Massachusetts for tent camping. They are: Mount Greylock State Reservation, Wells State Park, Pearl Hill State Park, Boston Harbor Islands and Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

 

 

Missouri State Parks Earn Campers’ Appreciation

June 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Missouri State Parks Earn Campers’ Appreciation 

Amy Hughey had a quick answer when asked how long her family had been going on camping vacations to Missouri state parks.

“A lifetime,” she told the Columbia Daily Tribune. “We try to go probably four to five times a year.”

Hughey and her husband, Richard, a nuclear power plant operator from Fulton, were tending a campfire near their tents beneath the trees in the campground at Sam A. Baker State Park in southeast Missouri. Their three young sons were standing by with hotdogs on skewers. Sparkling Big Creek was a short walk away across a gravel bar.

“We’ve been to other state parks,” Hughey said. “They’re beautiful, but we always go back to Sam A. Baker. The bike trails are wonderful. The creek is crystal clear and not swift.

“We picked a very cold weekend, but we managed in the sleeping bags. It made the fire better.”

The Hugheys know what the rest of America’s campers recently confirmed. In a nationwide poll at About.com, readers of The New York Times voted Missouri the best state for camping. Montana and Colorado were next in the online voting.

Bill Bryan, director of Missouri state parks, credited the state’s diverse geography for its popularity with campers.

“We have a lot of variety,” Bryan said. “You can camp one weekend on a flowing stream like the Current River and the next weekend in a prairie. There is a diversity of landscapes that is hard to find elsewhere.”

A mild winter and a nice spring have increased the number of campers showing up at state parks, Bryan said.

“Camping trips are up 40 percent this year,” Bryan said in mid-May. “It’s a great family activity that allows you to get out and enjoy the outdoors at a low cost. You can have as much, or as little, camping gear as you want at a state park.”

Missouri has 86 state parks, and about half offer camping. Accommodations range from full-service sites with electricity, sewer and water to 16 parks with hiking trails leading through the forest to backpack camping.

To see what is available or to use the camping reservation system, visit www.mostateparks.com

“Missourians love to camp,” Bryan said. “That’s why we focus so much of our attention to make sure our campgrounds are ready and waiting.”

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