Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mysterious New State Park Named for Jay Nixon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mysterious New State Park Named for Jay Nixon

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Missouri's newest state park is being named after the state's outgoing governor.

But the circumstances surrounding "Jay Nixon State Park" are a bit mysterious.

In what appears to be a partially finished webpage on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources website, the agency outlines the basics for the new park, located near Taum Sauk Mountain State Park in Ironton.

"A visit to this secluded park will allow guests to enjoy the sounds of wildlife and experience nature. Located in a wooded, rugged section of the St. Francois Mountains, there are opportunities for hiking," the page notes.

In addition, the facility has a 64-acre mountaintop lake.

"The park is named for Missouri's 55th Governor, whose advocacy for conservation and state parks has been nationally recognized," the site notes.

Unlike other official webpages for Missouri state parks, however, there is no listing of park hours, park maps, area attractions or directions.

The website's lone hint of the park's specific location is that it is next to Taum Sauk. Asked by the Post-Dispatch, the DNR confirmed that the 1,230-acre facility is in Reynolds County and includes a connection to the Ozark Trail.

Currently, there are no facilities at the park, which can only be accessed from the Ozark Trail. In the future, basic services such as campsites, water and restroom facilities may be added, according to the department.

The governor's office did not immediately respond to requests for additional information. Nixon leaves office Monday.

Lawmakers who represent the region were initially unaware of the new park. Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, said he could not comment until he learned more about the facility.

Rep. Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi, said the creation of the new park follows a pattern, in which Nixon uses money from a legal settlement to quietly buy up land.

"I just can't believe it. That money was earmarked to clean up the contaminated areas of land," Fitzwater said.

However, Fitzwater said it may be too late to stop the park. …

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