Top 20 Outdoor Family Destinations Near St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri

Family Adventures Outdoors

St. Louis and Columbia are amazing locations for outdoor adventures with your children. With our two cities as your base camp, you have access to miles upon miles of wilderness featuring trails, rivers, springs, caves, forests, bluffs, rock formations, waterfalls and more. Set your sights within just two hours of our metro areas and we have more opportunities than we can possibly tell you here. Best of all, many of these locations are absolutely free for your family for a day visit. A camping trip may cost you as little as $10 for the night.

Each of the areas we have listed below have the potential to provide your children (and you) with experiences that will last a lifetime. We may not have the dramatic mountain silhouettes of the Rockies or the crashing waves of the ocean; but we do have the beauty of the Ozark Mountains, spring-fed rivers that run stunningly, perfectly clear and a vast system of caves that appeal to every child. Best of all, because of our Midwestern geography, most of our outdoor destinations are surprisingly kid-friendly.

So if you’re looking for some ideas for a new adventure for you and your kids, we’ve included a list of our top choices below. Some are nearby. Some are further away. But all of them offer families a chance to have fun and experience the great outdoors.

Camping Adventures

Meramec State Park, Sullivan, MO – The absolute gem for camping and outdoor adventures for kids. Trails, beaches on the river, and over 75 caves and numerous springs.
Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, MO – Camping, cave tours, canoeing. Great place for a long weekend.
Silver Mines Recreation Area, Fredericktown, MO – One of Missouri’s unknown wonders. Explore an old dam. Watch whitewater kayakers make their way through the St. Francis River rapids. The Missouri Whitewater Championships are held upstream of this location each March.

Hiking & Exploring Adventures

Rockwoods Reservation, Eureka, MO – Trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels as well as wildlife exhibits. Plenty of picnic grounds and fields for group meals.
Powder Valley Nature Center, Kirkwood, MO – Easy to get to, incredible nature center, easy trails. Great local asset.
Amidon Conservation Area near Fredericktown, MO – The Castor River Shut-ins here is one of Missouri’s best play spots for kids both young and old. (Shhhh! It’s a secret!)
Pickle Springs Natural Area near Farmington, MO – Short length, incredible rock formations, fun for everybody!
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Columbia, MO –  Diverse trail network for hiking or mountain biking, or plenty of space for a nice weather picnic as well. And for a true adventure, explore Devil’s Icebox on a park-led tour.

Paddling Adventures

Simpson Lake County Park, Valley Park, MO – A local, hidden gem just off Highway 141. Bring a bird guidebook, a canoe and fishing poles.
Meramec River, Consider launching your boat near Steelville, Leasburg or Sullivan for best water quality and natural beauty. Besides the Missouri and the Mississippi, probably the most recognized river in the area – and the easiest to access.
Huzzah Creek, Leasburg, MO – (Hoo-za) More advanced young paddlers can take off on their own sit-on-top kayaks (rented through numerous outfitters) on this gorgeous clearwater gem which drains into the Meramec near Leasburg, MO
Missouri River, West and South of Columbia, MO – Experience the same river Lewis and Clark explored; offers great opportunities for experienced paddlers.

Rock Climbing Adventures

Okay, we’re cheating on some of these here. Some aren’t really outdoors. They’re climbing gyms. But, the skills learned here could very well lead to the ability to tackle the real rock walls of the area.
Center of Clayton Climbing Gym – Clatyon, MO – Geared towards kids more than any other gym in St. Louis.
Upper Limits Climbing Gym – St. Louis, MO – Best overall climbing gym in the area.
Capen Park – Columbia, MO – Close to campus and featuring some good top roping and sport routes.
University of Missouri – Columbia Climbing Wall – Columbia, MO – Open to University Students and Staff

Biking Adventures

Grant’s Trail in South County, St. Louis – Flat, easy, and even at its most crowded is still enjoyable. And now the trail starts almost in our Kirkwood store’s backyard!
Katy Trail, beginning in St. Charles, MO – One-day trips to week-long adventures on 235 miles of bike trail between St. Charles and Clinton, MO.
Lost Valley Trail in the Weldon Springs Conservation Area in St. Charles – Fabulous for  both hiking and biking with clear creeks and miles of wooded, flat trails.
Forest Park, St. Louis, MO – Local, with a myriad of opportunities for other activities.
MKT Trail, Columbia, MO – Another rails to trails project, but runs right through Columbia for some easy, family-friendly riding.

Support for Missouri’s Streams Every Time You Drive

There are over 110,000 miles of streams, both large and small, that need our attention and protection in Missouri. The Stream Team program brings together groups of concerned individuals to work on stream improvement projects, water quality monitoring, and serve as the eyes of the agencies that protect our watersheds. Alpine Shop is proud to have worked with Stream Team in the past, and we just found out about a new program that will help others across Missouri support them even more.

Now you can show your support for our wonderful waterways by ordering your Stream Team License Plate. In order for the plate to be produced a total of 200 people must pre-order the plate. These plates are personalized with your selection of letters and numbers. By purchasing these plates you will not only show everyone that you are protecting our crucial watersheds, but you will help fund this great program.

We hope that you will take this important step in helping keep Missouri’s streams clean and safe.

Click here for more information on the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition and the Stream Team License Plate Program.

Here is how to order your Stream Team license plate:

1. Fill out Form 1716 .

2. Write a check to Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coaltion for $40.00 for 1 year or $65.00 for 2 years (this covers both the donation and specialty plate fees).

3. Mail Form 1716 along with your check to:

MSTWC
P. O. BOX 2132
OZARK, MO 65721

4. A voucher will be mailed to you after 200 plates have been pre-sold.

5. Take your voucher to your nearest Missouri Department of Revenue License Bureau to complete the purchase of your Stream Team license plate.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note this is a separate process than renewing your license plate at the Missouri Department of Revenue, and you will still be required to pay your registration fees in addition to the donation and specialty plate fees you send to MSTWC as outlined above. If you have just renewed, your renewal registration payment will be pro-rated when you receive your personalized specialty plates. Your pre-collected payment to MSTWC includes either a $25.00 for one year or $50.00 for two years donation to MSTWC, plus an annual $15.00 specialty plate fee to the Department of Revenue. You cannot pay the annual fee directly to Department of Revenue for this first-time purchase. We must pre-sell 200 plates before they go into production. We will send the MSTWC donation voucher to you after the 200 plates have been pre-sold. Only after you receive your voucher can you complete your plate transaction at your local licensing office.

Outdoor Nation – an Alpine Shop Employee Experience

Outdoor Nation

Outdoor NationOutdoor Nation was a unique and exciting experience.  The 2011 summit I attended took place in St. Paul, Minn. at the University of Minnesota – St. Paul and included about 95 young people ages 16 – 28 from all across the Midwest.  While the majority of participants were from the Twin Cities-area there was also a large group of high school students from Chicago and representatives from as far away as Texas!

Issues and Concerns

We began the summit discussing obstacles that prevent youth from spending time outside.  The issues brought up ranged from  safety concerns in inner cities, to lack of outdoor education in school curriculum, to the rising dependence on technology.  We discussed our concerns in broad terms, and through a series of 6 person discussions, followed by large-group votes, narrowed down our broad topics to specific issues we, as a whole, wanted to address.  From these specific issues we broke into several small groups to come up with program ideas that we could then implement, and the top four ideas received seed money provided from Outdoor Nation to put their plans into action!

Decisions and Developments

It was neat to be involved in the decision process that lead to implementable, outdoor, youth programs.  The four ideas chosen were all excellent and spanned a broad range of topics including: helping start community gardens, mentoring elementary and high school aged youth and trying to influence political leaders. The majority of the participants were from Minneapolis area, so all the programs developed were for that area, although each has the potential to expand to include other regions in the Midwest.

In addition to seeing the existing programs grow, I hope the summits move to new cities each year so they will continue to get a diverse group of participants and expand the reach of their programs throughout the country.  I am very glad to have had the chance to participate in this program and to be involved in the initiatives that resulted from the summit, I am excited to see it grow in years to come!

-Liza Babbington
Outfitter – Alpine Shop Columbia

Get Outdoors: Mobilizing America’s Youth through Outdoor Nation

Youth involvement – or lack of involvement – in the great outdoors represents a growing challenge for our nation. As kids concentrate more and more on indoor activities and parents continue to confine their kids to the indoors in fear of potential dangers to their children, an entire generation of Americans is losing its connection with the wild.

We’ve covered this topic before on this blog, with links to information on nature-deficit disorder and the best-selling book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The U.S. government introduced the Let’s Move campaign in 2010 to fight childhood obesity with a major component titled simply Let’s Move Outside. These issues are well documented and solutions can seem to be few and far between.

Outdoor Nation is part of a movement by America’s young adults themselves to combat these issues. In June of 2010, the first Outdoor Nation Summit convened in New York City attended by over 500 delegates from all 50 states. The result of the two-day event was:

…a solid commitment to break down the barriers to the outdoors – not just for (young adults), but for everyone. We love to prove the stereotypes false!

In “official” terms,

Created by The Outdoor Foundation and supported by a diverse coalition of public, private and not-for-profit partners, Outdoor Nation and its community of Outsiders are committed to increasing and expanding youth participation through entertainment, education, engagement and action – especially among urban communities and communities of color – resulting in a healthier, more active generation.

In 2011, five Outdoor Nation summits across the nation are scheduled for the months of June and July. Alpine Shop-Columbia’s Liza Babington was selected as one of the 250 delegates to the Twin Cities Summit held this past weekend in Minneapolis, Minn. In the next week, we’ll be posting her reaction to the experience. Stay tuned!

Dads: Get Your Kids Outdoors & You Could Win Gift Cards

Dads – Get your kids outside this Father’s Day and you could win a part of a $500 jackpot in Alpine Shop gift cards. The challenge is simple: we’re inviting all Dads to bring their families outside to play. Take a picture of you with them outside. Post it on our facebook page by midnight, Sunday, June 19, 2011. We’ll select random winners from all of our Dad photos on Monday, June 20.

Studies continue to show the need for Dads (and Moms) to bring their little ones outside, to get them back in touch with mother nature. Books have been written about it. States across our nation are actively trying to figure out ways to get kids off the couch and back outside, including Missouri. So Dads, while we encourage you to take a hike in a nearby park, to get out in canoe or kayak, or even to ride your bike; really, we just hope you’ll breathe some non-air-conditioned air for at least a little while to celebrate your Father’s Day. If you need some ideas for a Dad’s Day adventure, we’re happy to provide you a few of our favorite family-friendly escapes at the bottom of this article.

As we did for our Mother’s Day contest, we will accept photos from the past for those Dads who can not be with your family – or vice versa.

And for those of you looking for some last minute Father’s Day gifts, Alpine Shop has a huge selection of presents perfect for any outdoor-loving Dad.

As promised, here are some great kid-friendly adventures in and within 2 hours of St. Louis. Get to it, Dad!

Hiking and Exploring Adventures:

  • Rockwoods Reservation, Eureka, Mo. – Trails for hikers of all ages and skill levels as well as wildlife exhibits. Plenty of picnic grounds and fields for group meals.
  • Powder Valley Nature Center, Kirkwood, Mo. – Easy to get to, incredible nature center, easy trails. Great local asset.
  • Amidon Conservation Area near Fredericktown, Mo. – The Castor River Shut-ins here is one of Missouri’s best play spots for kids both young and old. (Shhhh! It’s a secret!)
  • Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park near Lesterville, Mo. (and the Ozark Trail that runs through it) – One of Missouri’s most popular state parks. If you come on a weekend during the summer, prepare for crowds at Mother Nature’s waterpark.
  • Pickle Springs Natural Area near Farmington, Mo. – Short length, incredible rock formations, fun for everybody!

Camping Adventures:

  • Meramec State Park, Sullivan, Mo. – The absolute gem for camping and outdoor adventures for families. Trails, beaches on the river, and over 75 caves and numerous springs.
  • Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, Mo. – Camping, cave tours, canoeing. Great place for a long weekend.

Paddling Adventures:

  • Simpson Lake County Park, Valley Park, Mo. – A local, hidden gem just off Highway 141. Bring a bird guidebook, a canoe and fishing poles.
  • Meramec River- Consider put-ins near Steelville, Leasburg or Sullivan for best water quality and natural beauty. Besides the Missouri and the Mississippi, probably the most recognized river in the area – and the easiest to access.
  • Huzzah Creek, Leasburg, Mo.- (Hoo-za) More advanced young paddlers can take off on their own sit-on-top kayaks (rented through numerous outfitters) on this gorgeous clearwater  gem which drains into the Meramec near Leasburg, Mo..

Biking

  • Grant’s Trail in South County, St. Louis – Flat, easy, and even at its most crowded  is still enjoyable.
  • Katy Trail, beginning in St. Charles, Mo. – One-day trips to week-long adventures on 235 miles of bike trail between St. Charles and Clinton, Mo.
  • Lost Valley Trail in the Weldon Springs Conservation Area in St. Charles – Fabulous for  both hiking and biking with clear creeks and miles of wooded, flat trails.
  • Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo. – Local, with a myriad of opportunities for other activities.

Happy Father’s Day to all of our adventure-loving Dads!

Press Coverage from the American Rivers Press Conference

Alpine Shop hosted the May 17 press conference to announce American Rivers had named the Ozark National Scenic Riverways one of the 10 Most Endangered Rivers in America.

Below are two of the reports that the event generated. More are sure to come.

While most Missourians equate the park  – and the Current and Jack Fork’s Rivers that it contains – with floating, there are many other activities in and around the park for everyone to enjoy. Find out more about the sights and activities of the park in this blog post here.

Webster Kirkwood Times Coverage of the American Rivers Press Conference at Alpine Shop
You can find this artcicle by Don Corrigan at websterkirkwoodtimes.com.

This article from Don Corrigan of the Webster Kirkwood Times was published on Friday, June 3, 2011.

KMOX's coverage of the American Rivers 5/17/11 Press Conference at Alpine Shop
You can find this article at cbsstl.com.

This article was published by KMOX radio and cbsstl.com on May 17, 2011.

 

5 Best Non-Paddling Destinations in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Round Spring in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Over a million people a year visit the Current and Jack’s Fork Rivers – otherwise known as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, part of the National Park system – to partake of the amazing natural beauty of the area. The vast majority of those visitors float the streams in canoes, kayaks and rafts. However, paddling is far from the only attraction this park offers to outdoor types. It also offers caves and springs, trails for hiking and horseback riding, camping and even some cycling. In fact, it is quite possible to have a week-long trip in this beautiful national park and never take to the water.

Below are Alpine Shop‘s five best non-paddling destinations to round out your visit to the ONSR.

Round Spring in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Named for not only the circular shape of the spring opening, but also for the almost curved appearance of the water, Round Spring is a must-see on any trip to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

1. Round Spring & Cave

Located on the upper section of the Current River, Round Spring is a delightful place to visit. The surrounding terrain and mineral content of the water makes the flat surface appear to be curved and the spring opening is almost perfectly circular, thus the name Round Spring. Round Spring adds an average of 33 million gallons of water to the Current River each day. The beautiful spring branch flows under a short tunnel while making its way to the river. This area was one of Missouri’s first State Parks (1932) prior to its inclusion into the national park in 1964. (Note: people are not allowed to swim or wade in Round Spring.)

Nearby is the extremely beautiful Round Spring Cave. The National Park Service offers guided tours by lantern from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is a small charge for the tour ($5 for adults and $2 for kids) and participation is limited to the first 15 people to buy tickets. These tours are offered daily at 10 am and 2 pm. Tickets go on sale 30 minutes before each tour. While there are over 300 known caves in the park, Round Spring Cave is the only one open to public tours.

Rocky Falls - Ozark National Scenic Riverways
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Ozarks, Rocky Falls is the perfect destination for a summer afternoon.

2. Rocky Falls

This 40 foot wide cascade is one of the best waterfalls in the Ozarks. Some water flows year-round, but in the spring and after heavy rains will give you the best view of this amazing geologic formation. The falls are located about 22 miles east of Eminence, Mo. off Hwy H. The area includes pit latrines and a small picnic area. The plunge pool below the falls offers a great place for a swim during the hotter months.

Blue Spring - Ozark National Scenic Riverway
Over 300 feet deep, Blue Spring more than lives up to its name.

3. Blue Spring

Blue Spring, called “Spring of the Summer Sky” by native Americans, is over 300 feet deep. This amazing depth gives the spring its brilliant sky-blue coloration. The area is reached by a gravel road off Hwy 106 east of Eminence, MO and features a picnic area and restrooms. This spring is best visited before the afternoon sun casts its shadow on the spring pool.

Big Spring - Ozark National Scenic Riverways
One of the most popular areas in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Big Spring pumps an amazing 246 million gallons of water each day into the Current River.

4. Big Spring

Big Spring is the one of the largest single outlet springs in the world pumping out over 246 million gallons of water on an average day. This amazing site offers picnic grounds, cabins, a dining lodge, and campground. The beautiful spring branch flows about a half mile to the Current River. Big Spring is located just outside of Van Buren, MO.

Klepzig Mill & shut-ins - Ozark National Scenic Riverways
A little-known glimpse into the past, Klepzig Mill will bring you back to 1928, the year the mill was built.

5. Klepzig Mill and Shut-ins

Located downstream from Rocky Falls, Klepzig Mill and Shut-Ins is one of the hidden gems of this National Park. You can find this seldom-visited place by following a somewhat rough gravel road (County Road #522) that heads to the left where the pavement ends on Highway NN. The old mill sits along the creek with a fascinating shut-in below. There are no facilities here, just a couple of pull outs for cars. The shut-ins provide a great place for a picnic.

Alpine Shop offers several float trips on the beautiful Current River each year. Click this link for details on the next planned outing.

Alpine Shop’s Guide to America’s Amazing National Parks

As outdoor recreation lovers, Alpine Shop employees are naturally drawn to our national parks. As a company, we celebrate their existence, their protection and their continued preservation for our use and our children’s use and our children’s children.

The National Park Service consists of over 375 parks and historic sites covering an amazing range of landscapes, wildlife and history.   Below are just a few of the most interesting facts on this expansive park system.

  • More than 300 million people visited our national park areas in 2010.
  • The first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872 through a law signed by President Ulysses S. Grant. The cavalry was the first caretaker.
  • The first nationally-proclaimed protected area of public land in the United States, Yosemite, was created in 1864 by the passage of the Yosemite Grant.
  • The largest living things in the world live in national parks; Sequoia Trees, and the world’s largest carnivore; the Alaska Brown Bear.
  • National park areas have volcanos, glaciers, white sand beaches, and dinosaur fossils.
  • Starting in 1910 with “The Immortal Alamo”, filmmakers have been coming to national parks year after year to capture majestic scenery for their productions.

While all of these parks are worthy of protection some hold a special place in the American experience.  While there will never be a consensus on which parks are the best we have listed below the ones that have become part of our staff’s hearts and souls.

Bull Elk resting in Yellowstone National Park, Montana
Bull Elk resting in Yellowstone National Park, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park

The 2,221,766 acres of this astounding land make up the world’s first national park.  Created in 1872 the park features nearly a thousand miles of trails, over 280 backcountry campsites and 466 miles of roadways.

Within it’s boundaries you will find over 10,000 hot springs, geysers, and other thermal features, dramatic mountain ranges, beautiful rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the best wildlife viewing this side of the Serengeti.

Much of the park sits in an ancient caldera of a super volcano resulting in over 2000 earthquakes in an average year.

Half Dome Yosemite National Park
The iconic face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California.

Yosemite National Park

This crown jewel of the National Park system in California was the first park to be protected by the American Government in 1864 with the passage of the Yosemite Grant.

Yosemite Valley is famous throughout the world for its waterfalls and the dramatic granite cliffs rising up, in some cases, 5000 feet above the valley floor. The iconic face of Half Dome in the southeast corner of the Valley can be seen on everything from the California quarter, the logos of such respected outdoor companies as The North Face and Sierra Designs and on countless tourist photographs throughout the world.

The park extends for 1169 square miles, 94% of which is wilderness.

Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park
The tranquil shores of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park

This park in NW Montana is dubbed “The Crown of the Continent”.   This mountain park lives up to it nick name featuring stark mountain landscapes, dozens of glaciers, and amazing wildlife.

The park has about 700 miles of trails with each one more beautiful than the last.   It is a hiker’s paradise with many backcountry campsites to choose from.   The Going to the Sun Road is one of the most beautiful drives to be had anywhere.   This 52 mile long roadway was constructed in the 1920’s.  There are many sheer drops sans guardrails to keep you holding tightly to the steering wheel.

The park is one of he last refuges of the great Grizzly Bear.  Other wildlife includes Mountain Goats, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Lion, Black Bear and deer.

Arches National Park, Utah
The beautiful sandstone sculptures of Arches National Park in Utah.

Arches National Park

While tiny in comparison to Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier National Parks, Arches packs a tremendous amount of things into its borders.  Crammed into it’s 76,000 plus acres are over 2000 sandstone arches.   Many of these outstanding geologic formations are easily accessible by car and short hikes.   A couple of the more impressive arches include Landscape, Double and the states symbol Delicate Arch.  The park is just a couple of miles north of Moab, Utah and features a small campground and picnic areas.

Zion National Park Utah
The beautiful walk up the Virgin River into the Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

Zion National Park

Another “can’t miss” Utah park is Zion.   This fantastic park offers canyoneering, waterfalls, great rock climbing, and unusual geologic formations.   One of the most popular activities is a walk up the Virgin River into the Narrows.   On this walk the canyon walls will tower over you rising up to 1500 feet from the canyon floor    A convenient shuttle bus system takes you into and out of the canyon proper.  There are two campgrounds, lots of trails as well as excellent opportunities for cross county travel.

Bryce Canyon National Park
Beautiful pictures abound in this third Utah National Park on our list.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The old story goes that if you cannot take a great photo in Bryce Canyon you may as well throw your camera away.   The park is a series of horseshoe canyons carved out of the top of the Grand Staircase geologic formation.   Trails will lead you though a fairyland conglomeration of brightly colored spires, walls, hoodoo’s, and fins.

Ready to Explore on Your Own

Alpine Shop offers a continuous series of programs on these and other of America’s incredible national parks. If you would like to learn all about these parks from people who know them intimately visit our Great American National Parks Programs by clicking here.

Video from American Rivers/Ozark National Scenic Riverway Press Conference

On Tuesday, May 17, Alpine Shop Kirkwood hosted a press conference organized by American Rivers, Friends of Ozark Riverways and Ozark Fly Fishers. The purpose of this publicity event was to announce that American Rivers – a national organization that protects and restores the nation’s rivers and the clean water that sustains people, wildlife, and nature – had named Missouri’s Ozark National Scenic Riverways one of the 10 Most Endangered Rivers in America.

Below is the press conference in its entirety broken up into four parts. Get informed and visit American Rivers’ Most Endangered List for information on how you can help the cause.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Named One of Nation’s 10 Most Endangered Rivers

Press Advisory:
National Organization Joined by Local Paddlers and Conservationists to Announce Ozarks Riverways among Nation’s Most Endangered Rivers

Press Conference:
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 – 10 a.m.
Alpine Shop

440 N Kirkwood
Kirkwood, Missouri 63122

Representatives speaking include:

Ms. Kally Higgins,
Spokesperson for the Friends of Ozark Riverways – A coalition representing 21 Missouri conservation, fishing, and outdoor organizations.

Mr. J. Gordon Philpott
Board member of the national organization, American Rivers

Ms. Lisa Hollenbeck
Co-owner of Alpine Shop, representative of outdoor industry and Missouri paddlers and recreation enthusiasts

Missouri’s premier national riverway, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, is being named one of the nation’s ten most threatened riverways in American Rivers annual report released May 17, 2011.

Representatives from many statewide environmental, fishing, paddling, and conservation organizations are joining together to put the National Park Service on notice that the NPS needs to manage the pristine river and parklands with an eye to the future. There are signs that the river so loved by Missourians and millions of visitors each year may be destroyed by pollution, erosion and poor management.

Today’s announcement serves as a wake up call to the National Park Service that Missouri’s largest national park needs to step up its management and address problems in the park that have slowly been eroding the quality of the park.

“We have to do more today to avert the catastrophes of tomorrow,” says Kally Higgins, Friends of Ozarks spokesperson. “ We are seeing visible signs that the health of the Current River is in trouble.  For example, we have seen in recent years signs restricting swimming in certain areas because of too high bacteria and we often see riverbanks damaged by erosion where inappropriate access points have sprung up. We want to work with the National Park Service to make sure that these problems are examined, inventoried, and given full environmental review before it prepares its general management plan.”

Next year, the park service will be releasing its 10-year General Management Plan and the conservation community has identified past decisions, policies, and practices that collectively are causing harm to the park resources.

This is the first time that the Current River and its tributaries have been named a threatened riverway on American River’s Endangered Rivers list, which began in 1985.

Photo Opportunities:

  • The press conference will be held at Alpine Shop with a background of kayak, canoe, and paddling equipment.
  • Many representatives from the 20 + organizations will be present for comment.
  • A map that depicts that excessive number of access points along the 132-mile stretch of river will be available.
  • A 3 minute video that depicts the riverway’s scenic beauty will also be launched on the American Rivers website and the Friends of Ozark Riverways site on the 17th and B- roll available, upon request.
  • Photographs of damage to the river will also be available.

Contact:
Rindy O’Brien, Coordinator
Friends of Ozark Riverways,
202-247-5290
314- 621-0230
rindyob@mac.com

Faye Augustyn,
American Rivers,
202-347-7550
faugustyn@americanrivers.org

Kat Logan Smith, Executive Director,
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
,
314-727-0600
klogansmith@moenviron.org

Lisa Hollenbeck, Co-Owner
Alpine Shop
314-962-7715
lisah@alpineshop.com