Coalition Report

By Heather Brouillet Navarro,
Executive Director Missouri Coalition for the Environment


Missouri Parks Challenge

It’s the season for day trips and weekend adventures. Do you know where to go to play in the cool, clear water of a spring fed creek? Or where to hike along the bluffs of the Meramec? Or where to see the skeleton of a giant mastodon? All of these are offered in our award-winning state park system. This year we celebrate 100 years of the Missouri state park system. And this November we will vote on the renewal of the Parks, Soils, and Water Sales Tax. The tax keeps our parks free to all. First passed in 1984, this measure levies a minimal 1/10 of 1% of sales tax, but reaps significant rewards for all Missourians. Funds from the tax are evenly split between the state parks system and soil and water conservation programs available to Missouri farmers through the Department of Natural Resources. In 2015, the Parks, Soils, and Water Sales Tax raised roughly $100 million. State parks visits are up by 30% since 2008 and the parks stimulate about $1 billion in economic activity. For every $1 spent on parks, another $26 is generated. Farmers who make use of the tax have seen increases in production and have conserved an impressive amount of soil. Nearly 200 million tons of soil have been conserved since the 1980s, when the tax was first enacted.

You can show your support for Missouri State Parks by taking the Missouri Parks Challenge, a friendly competition sponsored by Missouri Coalition for the Environment to encourage visitors to enjoy our parks. Explore as many of Missouri’s 88 state parks and historic sites as you can from now until Tuesday, November 8th, election day. Take a photo in each park you visit, upload it to social media, preferably Instagram, using the tag #moparkschallenge, and then join MCE at the end of the contest for a party to celebrate parks! Include identifying markers such as state park signs in your photos, or use the location feature to tag the state park. Selfies are welcomed but not required; feel free to use your artistic abilities when taking photos! Awards will be presented to challenge-takers for the number of state parks visited and for best photos! To take part, register online at: moenvironment.org/parks

You can get started with parks right here within a one hour drive of St. Louis, including Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Castlewood State Park, Robertsville State Park, and the Katy Trail State Park.

Don’t forget to share your photos!