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21 July 2011

Lichtenegger: Important Legislative Update, State Parks & Historic Sites

IMPORTANT Legislative Update

A long-time concern for many of my constituents has been the plan for an additional quarry near Saxony Lutheran High School.* The good news is that Governor Nixon signed into law HB 89 which among its many provisions (page 10 -11; sections 444.771 & 444.773) prohibits the Department of Natural Resources and the Land Reclamation Commission within the department “from issuing a surface mining or a water or air quality permit to any person whose mine plan boundary is within 1,000 feet of any property where an accredited school has been located for at least five years prior to the permit application. This provision does not apply to a request for an expansion to an existing mine or to any underground mining operation. Currently, the commission may deny a surface mining permit if it finds in any hearing, based on competent and substantial scientific evidence, that the interested party's health, safety, or livelihood would be unduly impaired by the issuance of the permit. The bill specifies that it must be in a public hearing and removes the provision placing the burden of proof on the permit applicant.”

*Although this bill has been signed into law there may be a legal issue specific to the proposed Strack Quarry near Saxony LHS.

Knowing Your Missouri State Departments: #1 Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

#1.2 State Parks & Historic Sites

My objective for reporting on the Missouri State Parks & Historic Sites is for you to explore resources and services available so that you can enjoy what our state has to offer for your outdoor enjoyment. The state has more than 200,000 acres of parks in every geo-region. Missouri’s state parks system ranks as one of the top four in the nation. It has been recognized as a finalist in the 2011 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management program. (For more information on this award see Miscellaneous Notes below.)

Considering the beautiful, vast state park acreage and DNR’s State & Parks programs, we should get out there and enjoy the scenery! Using The Missouri State Park System you can, for example, sign up for a Historic-site Tour; plan a family picnic; reserve a campsite for an overnight outing at a State Park; or find special state-sponsored events such as kayaking, nature hikes and archery through the Show-Me-WOW-Weekends webpage. If you do not have internet access you can call the MO State Parks & Historic Sites information toll-free line 1-800-334-6946 to get any of the same information by speaking with a State Parks staff person. You should keep this toll-free number with you as to travel to and during your state park visit in case you need additional information. And talk about making it easy for you, link here to choose a state park with the amenities you’re looking for! Don’t know all the state parks and their geo-regions? You can choose a region of interest without choosing the specific amenities and it will still give you a list!

And the events aren’t just for the spring and summer seasons. For example you could attend the Christmas on the Farm event at Watkins Mill State Park in Lawson, December 3. On the webpage, you can view all the information you need to plan the event including travel directions right from your home to the event-site!

If you want to stay in touch with park & site activities follow this link and subscribe to the State Parks e-newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

And for you techies out there DNR just announced this week an easy way to access information about Missouri state parks and historic sites. A new free mobile application for smartphones is designed to provide visitors with convenient access to detailed state park information. The app is currently available for the Apple iPhone and is coming soon for Android smartphones. Innovative features within the app are sure to enhance any visit to a Missouri state park or historic site. The Pocket Ranger™ Mobile Tour Guide can be downloaded from the iTunes Store and Android’s Market, or directly at State Parks apps. Download your Official Guide for Missouri State Parks & Historic sites today.

To add to your state park adventure, how about participating in the first ever amateur photo contest sponsored by MO State Parks and Rural Missouri magazine!

Miscellaneous Notes

If you missed receiving the July 14, Capitol Report #1.1 DNR Overview and would like a copy please contact me via email.

Link here to read an article about Trail of Tears State Park written by Denise Dowling, DNR’s Facility Manager for the Trail of Tears State Park.

The National Gold Medal Awards program for state parks is held every other year by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Recreation and Park Association and Musco Lighting LLC. The Gold Medal Awards honor communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.

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