The Missouri State Parks Include The Longest Rail To Trail Project In America
The fifty State Parks in Missouri have 3,700 campsites, a total of 194 rental cabins and around 840 miles of trails.
They include the longest rail to trail project in America which is the Katy Trail State Park. It is turning 240 miles of an old disused railroad track into a recreation trail for hikers, bikers and joggers.
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Missouri is a midwestern state that was transferred from French to American ownership as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
After being known as the Missouri Territory it became the 24th state to join the Union when it was admitted on August 10th 1821.
The 630 Feet High Gateway Arch Dominates The Skyline Of St.Louis
The state of Missouri is at the point where the three greatest rivers in North America all come together before flowing southward to the Gulf Of Mexico. The Missouri River meets the Mississippi near the city of St.Louis while further downstream the Ohio River, coming from the east of the country, joins the flow.
Jones-Confluence Point State Park, one of the Missouri State Parks, is located on the north bank of the Missouri River right where it meets the Mississippi.
The Missouri River acts as a link between Kansas City in the west and St.Louis in the east as it flows across the middle of the state. North of the river the land is mostly fetile plains while to the south lie the Ozark Mountains.
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, one of the state parks in Missouri, is centered around Taum Sauk which at 1,772 feet is the highest point in the state.
The St.Francois Range In The Ozark Mountains Of South Eastern Missouri
The first inhabitants of the region were part of a society who constructed earthwork mounds for social and religious reasons.
Indeed St.Louis was once jokingly known as "Mound City" because of the number of mounds that were in the area. Most of them were destroyed as urban development took place. However, some of the Missouri State Parks still have evidence of these pre-historic mounds.
French Canadians were the first Europeans to permanently settle in what is now Missouri and the town of Ste.Genevieve, founded in 1764, is among the oldest towns in the United States.
Other French settlers travelled upriver from New Orleans and helped to make St.Louis the center of a thriving fur trade. Frontiersmen would travel north on both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to either trap or trade for furs with the Native American tribes.
In time the invention of the steamboat led to a rapid increase in the size and importance of St. Louis as travel up and down the river became so much quicker.
The fifty Missouri State Parks and the thirty four State Historic Sites all come under the control of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and their Parks Division.
The Dramatic Ruins Of The Burned Out Mansion At Ha Ha Tonka State
(Photo By Dakota O)
Perhaps the park with the most unusual name is Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camden County. The most famous feature of this park is the "castle" ruins which are of a large mansion which burned down in 1942.
Three of the Missouri State Parks are named for notable American figures. They are the Harry S.Truman State Park, named for the 33rd President of America. The Mark Twain State Park, named after the noted author and finally the Pershing State Park named for General John J.Pershing who led the American armies in World War One. All three were born in Missouri.
The largest of the state parks in Missouri is the 17,441 acre Lake Of The Ozarks State Park. This park boasts and airport with a 2,000 meter runway, a set of caves, several miles of trails, two beaches and 85 miles of lake shoreline. The park is famous - or infamous - for Party Cove. Featured on the Playboy Channel, young boaters and bathers gather here for a rowdy time!
However, not all the Missouri State Parks are such busy, noisy places. Most are havens of peace and quiet where visitors can just relax and enjoy their surroundings.
This map of Missouri shows the major towns and the rivers. Also note how many other states border Missouri.