Waking up to the calls of morning birds and a view of the sparkling ribbon of water below pine trees are two of the simple pleasures that will make a new state park in Shannon County a perfect destination. Just over 800 acres of land along the Current River was recently transferred from the Missouri Department of Conservation to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to create a new state park along Highway 19 north of Eminence.
As someone whose staff managed the Jerry Presley Conservation Education Center there for a few years, I had hoped that it could be kept as a place to visit for many people for years to come. So this transfer to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is great news. A key reason is that they have lots of experience running overnight camping/sleeping facilities through all the state parks. Another is that DNR is in charge of Historic Preservation which makes them the most knowledgeable when it comes to working with the several historic buildings that need repair on this area. More people will be able to enjoy the magic of the place in the future, yet reminders of its use as a company retreat beginning in the 1940s will remain. Some hunting will still be possible, in keeping with the traditional use of the area.
I understand that the Department of Natural Resources has held local meetings to get ideas from the public as they plan the park’s future and will be doing more to get feedback on potential plans. But as someone who finds incredible appeal to this particular place in Missouri, I’m just happy to know that so many more people both locally and from farther away will be able to enjoy the wonder of it too. When it is ready for visitors, you should try to make a trip there.