Three crown jewels of the state park system—Round Spring, Alley Spring, and Big Spring—were transferred to the National Park Service as part of the deal that led to Congressional establishment in 1964 of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the nation's first federally designated rivers. As a result—and because of other state parks in the area, including Current River and Echo Bluff State Parks—the Missouri Parks Association has long been interested in the Ozark Riverways and their management. We watched in dismay as a pattern of permissive management took hold and resources degraded.
The National Park Service issued its long-awaited General Management Plan for the Park in December 2014. Public comments at all stages were numerous, passionate, and polarized—about half asking for stronger management to deal with festering problems and half asking for no change, meaning anything goes. Owing to an outpouring of support from members of MPA, Audubon, Sierra Club, and other citizen conservation organizations, the plan presents a reasonable range of alternatives that reveal a strong NPS commitment to improve conditions in the park. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways Roads and Trails Plan Preliminary Alternatives Newsletter and dozens of on-line maps were released to the public in late 2017 for a comment period that ended January 15, 2018.
The full ONSR Roads and Trails Management Plan/Environmental Assessment (draft plan) was issued June 18, 2021, with an initial July 18 deadline for comment, subsequently extended to August 18, 2021. For links to view or download a copy of the draft plan, to review detailed maps of NPS-designated roads and trails proposed for the various alternatives, and to submit comments, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=56591.
Comments must be submitted by August 18, 2021, at 11:59 pm Mountain Time in one of three ways:
- Preferred: Online using links at: https://bit.ly/2VbDmvq; click on “Comment Now” in the left margin or scroll down to links to view maps and newsletter and to comment
- By mail to: Superintendent, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, P.O. Box 490, Van Buren, MO 63965
Read or download a Citizens Guide to Commenting on the Roads and Trails Plan.
Read an article "A Legacy of Neglect" by MPA's Susan Flader.
Watch a video "Why We Must Save the Current River, Again" by MPA's John Karel and Greg Iffrig.
Review a summary and key excerpts from the General Management Plan.
Check the official status, review, and comment on the Roads and Trails plan.