The Missouri Parks Association is a citizens organization—independent and non-partisan—dedicated to the protection, enhancement, and interpretation of Missouri state parks and historic sites.
Founded in 1982 at a time of financial crisis for the park system, when a shredded budget led to consideration of dismembering the system and handing it out in pieces to other agencies, MPA has been a steadfast supporter of the system and a tireless defender of it against all comers. MPA educates public officials, potential support organizations, the media, and its members and other citizens about the values at stake in our state parks and historic sites, and alerts the general public when the citizenry at large needs to step forward in support of this beloved Missouri institution. Ensuring that Missourians understand the need for an adequate and consistent base of financial support for the park system is a key MPA task.
MPA is devoted to the three-fold mission of the state park system:
- to preserve and interpret the best examples of Missouri's natural landscapes,
- to preserve and interpret the best examples of Missouri's cultural landmarks,
- and to provide appropriate recreational use of these resources.
We serve as a watchdog for our state parks and the system as a whole, identifying threats to the parks and rallying support for their protection. Sometimes we work behind the scenes with park staff and other public officials and conservation leaders to resolve problems and other times out front to engage citizen support in defense of our parks.
MPA is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit, member-supported organization run entirely by volunteers. We have more than 3,000 loyal members throughout Missouri and beyond, and we always welcome new members and volunteers who care about our state parks and want to help.
We publish a newsletter, Heritage, three times a year, but also send periodic email alerts when the park system is threatened. We are proud of our book, Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites (University of Missouri Press), which has been called the finest state park book in the nation. We coordinate an Urban Populations Outreach Program for underserved youths with partners in four cities—Kansas City, St. Louis, Joplin, and Columbia—which provides direct state park fun and experiences for these disadvantaged young people. We are cooperating with other organizations to launch a new program, Poets in the Parks, and we are constantly looking for new ways in which the park system may be enhanced and enjoyed by our citizens and visitors alike.
MPA members gather each fall to learn about the state of the parks, experience behind-the-scenes tours of nearby parks and historic sites, and enjoy fellowship and fun. Please join us.