Save Missouri's State Parks

As funding runs dry, our state parks could slip into disrepair

From Lake of the Ozarks, where visitors can observe bald eagles, to the historic Katy Trail, which stretches through four-fifths of Missouri, our state parks rank among the nation's best and most visited. But some of our state leaders haven't been prioritizing our parks as the state treasures that they are.

In fact, many of our parks are falling apart, due to a backlog of nearly $400 million in critically needed infrastructure upgrades. Aging water and electrical systems and broken bridges and cabins are now commonplace in these amazing places.

For too long, our legislators have looked the other way and diverted funding away from conservation. And we can't let it happen anymore.

Our parks need steady funding

Without dedicated state funding, park managers can't afford to fix the unreliable water systems at Hawn State Park, restore aging cabins at Lake of the Ozarks, or repair stressed bridges along the Katy Trail.

We refuse to let our natural heritage crumble — and we have a plan to convince state leaders to get serious about funding for our state parks, from Katy Trail to Ha Ha Tonka. We're bringing together Missourians from all walks of life to protect our parks. All of us — bird-watchers, hikers, tourism businesses and Missourians across the state — have something to fight for.

With your activism and our advocacy, we can protect our state parks

Two years ago, we won protections for the State Parks Earnings Fund, a cornerstone parks funding source. And now we are calling on our leaders in Jefferson City to address the backlog of rehabilitation needs in our state parks to make sure that our treasured state parks are there for future generations of Missourians.

To make sure that our legislators stand up for state parks, we’re building and strengthening alliances with outdoor enthusiasts, recreational advocates, park advocates, and members of the business community. We're also testifying in Jefferson City, educating lawmakers, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need to protect our state parks.

Thousands of you have joined the fight too. Across the state, you're calling or emailing your legislators, signing petitions, spreading the word to your friends and family, speaking up in the media, and speaking out at official hearings.


Preservation updates

Report | Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center

The Best of America Under Threat From Under Funding

Even as more people are visiting our national parks, like the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, operating budgets for the majority of national parks are at risk of being cut. Nearly three-quarters of parks that saw an increase in visitorship last year face a budget cut in the next fiscal year. As America’s greatest places are becoming more popular destinations, now is the time to ensure that national parks have the resources they need to sustain valuable visitor programs and services, maintain the quality of park facilities, ensure safety and promote park stewardship.

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Report | Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center

Preserving America's Natural Heritage: Lessons From States' Efforts to Fund Open Space Protection

If Missouri wants to save the special places that remain within her borders, our lawmakers need to redouble their efforts—and quickly. Fortunately, the examples set by existing state land preservation programs hold important lessons for states as they seek to protect their most treasured natural areas. This report profiles the experiences of preservation programs in 15 states as they have striven for consistent and adequate funding for open space protection.

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