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New State Park Opens at MO/MS Confluence

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Hundreds of people stood at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Sunday to mark the dedication of Missouri's newest state park.

A narrow finger of land jutting into the spot where the Big Rivers flow together now forms the Edward and Pat Jones Confluence Point State Park.

The more than 1,000 acre park also features displays commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The park's main benefactor, Pat Jones, marked the day by touching both rivers at the same time. "So now everybody can come to Missouri, put one foot or one hand in each river," she said. "They're remarkable rivers, and it's remarkable to be able to do that."

The new park will eventually include more wetland areas and provide a link between the Katy Trail and the Illinois border.

The park was originally private property.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources director Steve Mahfood says for years, people who stopped at a nearby visitor center asked how they could get to the confluence.

"And the answer was, can't get there." Mahfood said. "So this is finally the first time that we're going to be attractive to people stopping here, be able to get out to the confluence point. I expect this to be much more popular than even the pundits in our department think it's going to be."

The confluence faces the beach from which the Lewis and Clark commemorative flotilla will launch on its journey up the Missouri River this Friday.