MDC improvements to Headwaters Access include entrance road, parking, angled boat ramp

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will start renovations at Headwaters Access, located off S. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, in September to replace the existing boat ramp with a better positioned ramp and improve the parking lot and entrance road. The area will be closed to the public during construction, which will last approximately four months depending on the weather.

MDC leases Headwaters Access from the Little River Drainage District with the purpose of providing fishing and recreational access to the Castor River Diversion Channel, which connects to the Mississippi River.  The LRDD approved the addition of the access in 1967 and the original ramp construction occurred in 1969, with the most recent repairs occurring in 2007.

“MDC’s partnership with the Little River Drainage District has been an integral asset in providing recreational opportunities,” said Jennifer Behnken, MDC’s area manager for Headwaters Access. “Leasing Headwaters Access from the Little River Drainage District is a prime example of two organizations working together for the common good.”

Due to past maintenance challenges, MDC Design and Development Supervisor Ronnie Thurston said the decision was made to construct an all concrete road and parking area. Past high-water events caused structural damages to the ramp, so a new ramp will be constructed and repositioned with a downstream angle.  The new angle of the ramp will reduce maintenance needs. The construction will involve replacing more than 7,000 square yards of concrete to improve the ramp and add additional parking for the heavily used access.

“The new design will reduce bank erosion and maintenance while increasing the parking area and improving ease of public access to the Diversion Channel,” Thurston said.

The renovations will make a noticeable difference for those who use the area.

“Overall, this project will offer a better experience to those who use this access on a regular basis,” said Behnken. “This project is an important part of serving Missourians by increasing their access to nature experiences.”

Headwaters Access is located off S. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. Alternative places to access the Diversion Channel or the Mississippi River include Blockhole Access or Red Star Access. For additional fishing and river opportunities, visit