Strategic Issue 4.

Through its state park system and related outreach programs, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources continues its strong commitment to preserving the state's natural and cultural heritage and to providing recreational opportunities. Our system strives to reach a balance between the preservation of Missouri's significant natural and cultural resources, and enjoyment of these resources through recreational opportunities.

In 1999, the state park system totaled 81 state parks and historic sites, covering approximately 137,000 acres and serving more than 18 million visitors annually. In addition, its Historic Preservation Program and grant program for outdoor recreation projects enhanced the effort to protect cultural landmarks and provide healthy, quality outdoor activities.

Missouri's natural and cultural resources
Deep forests, sunny glades, wetlands, tallgrass prairies and clear-flowing streams all are protected in state parks. Likewise, the plants and animals that call these landscapes home find protection here, including the federally endangered Mead's milkweed at Taum Sauk Mountain State Park and the prairie chickens of Prairie State Park.

In Missouri, the Missouri Natural Areas Committee designates the highest-quality landscapes as state natural areas. The number of natural areas in state parks increased to 38 with the designation of the Elk River Breaks Woodland Natural Area at Big Sugar Creek State Park in McDonald County. The designation recognizes the significance of the areas and gives them special protection. A total of 67,167 acres of land in state parks was designated as ecological stewardship areas, which means they are subject to management for native species and ecosystem improvements. Thirty-eight state parks have populations of rare, endangered or threatened species.

The National Register of Historic Places is the national honor roll for historic and cultural structures and sites. More than 400 buildings, structures and archaeological sites in the state park system are currently listed on the National Register. Sixty-one properties statewide were added to the National Register in 1999, bringing the total number of individual resources throughout Missouri to 16,578. Through its Historic Preservation Program, the department assists Missouri citizens and groups in identifying, evaluating and protecting the state's historical, architectural and archaeological resources.

The system must protect the resources from outside threats, such as water pollution and air pollution, and from such internal threats as overpopulation of deer and invasion by exotic species. One of the greatest threats is encroachment on park boundaries. With increases in construction and development all across the state, state parks and historic sites become islands. These trends were first documented in the first comprehensive study to determine threats to the state park system in 1992. This study will be revised and updated to reflect today's threats.

Enjoyment of Missouri's state park system
The Missouri state park system continues to attract visitors from throughout the state and the nation. In 1999, 18,151,259 people visited state parks and historic sites, an increase of 3 percent from the previous year and following a trend of increased visitation during the last several years. The number of camping permits also increased, with 308,697 permits issued.

Surveys conducted in the state park system showed that 51 percent of Missouri state park visitors were from urban areas while 49 percent were from rural areas. Surveys also showed that 99 percent of the visitors were satisfied with their visit to state parks and historic sites. The surveys are being conducted in an effort to gather input from visitors as to how the department can make state parks and historic sites better for everyone.

Recreational activities were enhanced not only through the state park system but also through its grant program, which administered state-funded Landmark Local Parks Program grants, federal recreational trail grants and federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. These programs allow private and public organizations to build or repair outdoor recreation facilities and to create new recreational opportunities.

Many activities were focused on providing opportunities for residents in urban areas. Efforts in St. Louis included the opening of Route 66 State Park in St. Louis County and the upgrading of the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site. Work continues on developing a greater state presence and a state museum annex at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center in Kansas City. Another initiative is to develop a state park at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

Partnerships have played a key role in efforts to reach the state's urban residents. The Missouri Parks Association created a program to offer recreation and environmental enrichment programs for urban youth by taking them to Kansas City area state parks and historic sites. The department has continued its involvement with Bass Pro Shops and other organizations to sponsor the Wonders of the Outdoor World at Roaring River State Park. This cooperative effort will be expanded in the future. The department also proposed the creation of mini-urban heritage parks in St. Louis and Kansas City in partnership with city parks departments and neighborhood organizations.

The effort to reach urban residents is just one of the challenges that faces DNR. With a continued increase in visitation, the demand on current facilities and the need for new facilities grows. This puts a demand on the system's infrastructure and staff. Although not as flashy as a new visitor center or campground, a sound infrastructure must be in place for a park or site to operate efficiently and effectively.

Goal I
To protect and preserve the integrity of Missouri's significant natural features and cultural resource heritage
Outcome A.
Protection and enhancement of Missouri's significant natural features

Outcome measures

Issue 4 Outcome A1 factoid..

Objective 1

To decrease threats* to natural and cultural resources in state parks by 10 annually through purchase of lands adjacent to parks and historic sites through January 2005.
* Threats as identified in the state parks' Threat Study, such as residential encroachment, watershed and viewshed protection and loss of biodiversity due to inadequate lands for ecosystem establishment.

Objective Measure

Threats to natural and cultural resources reduced through adjacent lands acquisition

Strategies

Objective 2

To increase the percentage of state park lands included within active natural resource stewardship units by a minimum 600 acres annually; thus bringing the total acres of land actively managed for native species and ecosystem improvements from 19 percent (approximately 26,000 acres) to 22 percent (approximately 30,000 acres) of total state park lands by January 2005.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Objective 3

To increase the acreage of park lands contributing to the protection of significant natural communities and landscapes as recognized by the Missouri Natural Areas and the Natural Heritage Sites programs by 2000 acres by January 2005.

Objective Measures

Acres of park lands designated as Natural Areas and Heritage Sites
Percentage of park lands contributing to the protection of significant natural communities and landscapes

Strategies

Outcome B.
Preservation of Missouri's cultural resource heritage

Outcome Measures

Issue 4 Outcome B1 factoid.

Objective 1

Increase the number of completed cultural resource management plans for each state park facility at a minimal rate of 7 percent of facilities per year until all facilities have plans through July 2005.

Objective Measure

Number of completed cultural resource management plans

Strategies

Objective 2

Increase the number of historic properties identified and evaluated for historic significance through outreach efforts by 5 percent by January 2005.

Objective Measures

Graph of Missouri Properties Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Issue 4 Outcome B1 chart.

Strategies

Objective 3

Increase public participation in historic preservation incentive programs by 3 percent annually through January 2005.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Objective 4

Increase the number of potential archaeological properties evaluated through the archaeological review process* by 1 percent annually through January 2005.
* The archaeological review process is conducted in state parks to identify, protect and interpret significant resources. It is also an important prerequisite for federal projects throughout the state. The evaluation process may include four sequential steps: 1) an initial review of the potential for sites; 2) an archaeological survey if the review determines it is needed; 3) the recording of sites during the survey; 4) determination of site significance and disturbance potential. The process is important in identifying significant archaeological resources and allowing consideration of options to minimize destruction when found.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Objective 5

Increase the percentage of state park artifacts fully documented within the automated cataloging system from 4 percent to 40 percent by January 2005.

Objective Measure

Percentage of state park artifacts fully documented within the automated cataloging system

Strategies

Objective 6

Maintain at eight to 10 projects annually, the rate of formal assessment and conservation treatment projects designed to preserve significant cultural resources for interpretive use through January 2005.

Objective Measure

Number of formal assessment and conservation treatment projects completed annually

Strategies

Goal II
To provide opportunities for all citizens to enjoy Missouri's natural and cultural resources and the benefits they provide toward health and quality of life .

Outcome A.
Increased availability of Missouri's state park system and outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state

Outcome Measures

Issue 4 Goal 2 Outcome A1 factoid.

Issue 4 Goal 2 Outcome A1 chart.

Objective 1

Increase state park system opportunities available to residents of the St. Louis area (statistical metropolitan area) by a minimum of three new opportunities* annually through January 2003.
* New opportunities may include high-visitation events, new or enhanced ongoing programs at existing facilities or the addition of new facilities managed all or in part by the division.

Objective Measure

New state park opportunities available to St. Louis-area residents

Strategies

Objective 2

Increase state park system opportunities available to residents of the Kansas City area (statistical metropolitan area) by a minimum of three new opportunities* annually through January 2003.
* New opportunities may include high-visitation events, new or enhanced ongoing programs at existing facilities or the addition of new facilities managed all or in part by the division.

Objective Measure

New state park opportunities available to residents of the Kansas City area

Strategies

Objective 3

Increase programs provided to urban youth by developing and implementing a minimum of four new or enhanced program opportunities by January 2003.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Objective 4

Increase hiking trail opportunities within the state park system by expanding primitive hiking trails from 397 miles to 412 miles by January 2003.

Objective Measure

Miles of primitive hiking trails in state parks

Strategies

Objective 5

Reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease as mirrored in the Department of Health's objectives by increasing outdoor recreation opportunities and participation through January 2005.

Objective Measure

Decreased percentage of chronic diseases (Show-Me Result data)

Strategies

Outcome B.
Enjoyment of Missouri's state park system

Outcome Measure

Overall percentage of visitor satisfaction with visits

Objective 1

Sustain overall visitor satisfaction with facility operation and maintenance at the satisfied level* or higher in state parks through January 2005.
* Based on annual University of Missouri surveys using a scoring grid of 1- 4 with a score of 4 being "very satisfied."

Objective Measure

Visitor satisfaction with facility operation and maintenance

Issue 4 Goal 2 Outcome B chart.

Strategies

Objective 2

Increase participation in interpretive programming from 9 percent to 12 percent of park system guest visitation by January 2005.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Objective 3

Decrease the average visitor accident or injury rate in state park facilities by 5 percent annually through January 2005.

Objective Measure

Annual visitor accident rate in state park facilities

Strategies

Objective 4

Decrease the rate of crimes against persons and property (Show-Me Result) in state park facilities by 30 percent by 2005.

Objective Measures

Strategies

Return to Table of Contents