News Release 169

DNR announces 2009 boost in visitors to Mastodon State Historic Site, 6 percent growth in visitors to State Parks last year

Volume 38-169 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Sue Holst
573-751- 6510

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MARCH 29, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today that Mastodon State Historic Site in Imperial saw a 36 percent increase in visitors in 2009.  The announcement follows an earlier announcement by Gov. Jay Nixon that Missouri’s system of state parks saw an overall increase in visitors of 6 percent last year.

“Mastodon State Historic Site is just one of the many gems to be found in Missouri’s state park system,” Gov. Jay Nixon said.  “With the opportunities for inexpensive recreation and family activity that Mastodon State Historic Site provides for folks in the St. Louis area and beyond, it’s no wonder that people flocked to the site last year in growing numbers.”

The Division of State Parks reports that 463,250 visits were made to Mastodon State Historic Site in 2009. The previous year, the division recorded 340,183 visits to Mastodon State Historic Site.  The 36 percent increase in visitors over the previous year at this park is reflective of a larger trend that shows the number of visitors to Missouri state parks on the upswing for the first time in a decade.

Mastodon State Historic Site contains an important archaeological and paleontological site -- the Kimmswick Bone Bed, where scientists found the first solid evidence of the co-existence of humans and the American mastodons in eastern North America. The site's museum displays ancient artifacts, fossils and a mastodon skeleton replica. The area also includes hiking trails and picnic sites.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon noted in his remarks at the initial meeting of the Children in Nature Challenge initiative, which he created via Executive Order 10-18 on Feb. 26, that total attendance at Missouri state parks in 2009 had risen to more than 15,890,785 visitors.  This is an increase of nearly one million visitors from the 2008 attendance figure of 14,937,471.

Gov. Nixon has implemented several initiatives encouraging awareness and use of Missouri’s tremendous system of State Parks and Historic Sites.  In addition to the Children in Nature initiative, Gov. Nixon has created the State Parks Youth Corps, which will put one thousand young Missourians to work this summer on projects beautifying and maintaining state parks and historic sites.  He has also worked with the Missouri Division of Tourism to encourage people from Missouri and neighboring states to vacation at or near state parks.   

Mastodon State Historic Site is located on 1050 Charles J. Becker Drive in Imperial. People requiring special services or accommodations can call the site at 636-464-2976 or the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). For information about state parks and historic sites, visit the Web at mostateparks.com.

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