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. But now NPS is preparing a potentially even more contentious Roads and Trails Plan. A newsletter laying out preliminary alternatives for the plan and a series of detailed maps on the NPS website were released November 17, 2017 with a public comment period running to January 15, 2018. In this comment period and the coming stages, the Roads and Trails Plan will require continued strong citizen participation if the problems are to be addressed, so please comment now, and stay tuned for more.
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.
To keep up-to-date and became engaged, check the Facebook page of Friends of Ozarks Riverways.