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No new Missouri state parks under bill passed by House; now in Senate's hands

Echo Bluff State Park
Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Echo Bluff State Park

The Missouri House approved a measure last week that would block the creation of state parks until maintenance on the nearly 100 existing parks is completed.

Although House Bill 698 plans to halt expansion of Missouri state parks, it allows the Department of Natural Resources to accept additional land as a gift or donation. However, no work can be done to that land until other requirements of the bill are met.

The executive director of the nonprofit Missouri Parks and Recreation Association, Jan Neitzert, told KBIAthat she hopes the proposal doesn’t harm the reputation of Missouri's parks. This year is the 100th anniversary of the park system. 

“The state parks system is known around the country as one of the very best. And being able to develop our parks contributes to that honor," she said.

Former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, expanded the system during his tenure. One of them, in Reynolds County, bears Nixon’s name, though it closed soon after opening this year and some Republicans want to change the park’s name.

The bill heads to the Senate with less than a month left in the legislative session.