1917 - present
In 1917, One year after the creation of the National Park System, a state park fund was created using monies from the fish and game department to establish public use areas across Missouri. Big Spring State Park near Van Buren, Missouri, became the first in 1924. However, it would later be incorporated into the Ozark National Scenic Riverways along with Alley Spring State Park and Round Spring State Park. One year later, eight public use areas existed, covering over 23,000 acres. As the park system expanded, public interest grew, and the state legislature increased revenue support for parks and park projects. Missourians also donated land for public use. Roaring River, Annie and Abel Van Meter, and Washington State Parks were all created from land donations by private citizens.
In 1932, the United States Congress established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Approximately 4,000 men were hired for projects within Missouri’s natural areas to build the infrastructure of the growing state park system and national forests. The 1930s also saw the first administrative change when the jurisdiction of the parks was placed under the control the newly created Missouri State Park Board. More federal assistance arrived in 1965 when money was acquired from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to help maintain and develop parks and facilities. After a massive reorganization of state government in 1974, state parks were placed under the direction of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
As of 2021, there are 91 state parks and historic sites, providing over 150,000 acres of public lands. Missouri State Park and Historic sites include everything from Missouri’s unique geology and ecosystems, dwellings of famous Missourians, mills, battlefields, covered bridges, art studios, indigenous burial mounds, petroglyphs, and much more. There are hundreds of cabins, thousands of picnic sites and structures, over 3,000 campsites, and over 1000 miles of trails including the longest developed rails-to-trail project in the United States, the 240 mile long Katy Trail. Millions of visitors are attracted to Missouri State Parks and Historic sites every year.
This collection of photographs is comprised of images taken at various Missouri State Park locations from 2014 to 2021.
Date: 1917 - present
Subject: Missouri State Parks (Agency) ; Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)
Contributing Institution: Springfield-Greene County Library District
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Photographer: Ben Divin