After several decades of fewer-than-usual additions to the state park system as a result of budget constraints and with the Missouri State Parks Centennial coming in 2017, the Nixon administration and park officials pressed for purchase of new parks using funds available to the state from several legal settlements for damage to natural resources. The result, four new state parks—Eleven Point, Bryant Creek, Ozark Mountain, and Jay Nixon—announced just before Gov. Nixon left office, was greeted with general approval by most citizens but with irritation and resistance by some legislators and local officials.
A new administration from the other party quietly began a review of the new parks and of an additional 144-mile segment of the Rock Island corridor that had been offered to the state (see separate web page on the Rock Island), even as a small group of irritated lawmakers did their best (without success) to pass numerous bills to force the sale of the new parks and prevent new land acquisition. As a result of strong public support for the new parks in public meetings and online comments in December 2017 and further staff review, State Park Director Ben Ellis was able to assure park supporters during his "State of the Parks" address at MPA's annual meeting in October 2018 that the new park lands would not be sold and that the usual conceptual development planning process would begin soon on three of the parks; the fourth, Eleven Point, was tied up in litigation. The planning process is now ongoing.
Read an account of the new park lands acquired by the Nixon administration in the December 2016 Heritage.
See MPA's views on the new parks in the context of Missouri park development historically.
Learn about the lawsuit regarding Eleven Point State Park on page 5 of the March 2020 Heritage.