Gov. Nixon announces the opening of Don Robinson State Park. The land donated to the state in 2012 features sandstone cliffs, diverse forests and a significant tributary to the Meramec River
Read more from Gov. Nixon’s press release below…
The new Don Robinson State Park in Jefferson County will officially open on Jan. 6, Gov. Nixon announced. The 818-acre park, located near Cedar Hill, will be open for day use and will feature hiking trails to allow the public to enjoy the wide variety of natural resources found within its boundaries.
“Here in Missouri, we cherish our nationally recognized state parks system, as seen by the record 20 million visitors to our parks in 2016 and the overwhelming 80 percent vote in November in favor of renewing the Parks, Soil and Water sales tax,” Gov. Nixon said. “I am proud to open this new park so more Missourians can enjoy the beauty and wonders this area offers. This gift to the people of Missouri from the late Don Robinson will have an enduring impact for generations to come, and is a reminder of our state’s celebrated outdoor heritage.”
The park’s land is in the upper watershed of LaBarque Creek, a high-quality stream that supports 42 species of fish before entering the Meramec River. The park also includes an extensive network of sandstone cliffs and box canyons, outcrops and shelter caves as well as glades and upland and bottomland forests. Native shortleaf pine occurs in the area and may represent the northernmost location of this species in Missouri. The park is rich in native plants, with approximately 650 species of plants.
“This new park was made possible thanks to the generosity of the late Don Robinson,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. “Thanks to his efforts, Missourians will be able to enjoy the outstanding biological diversity found within this new park.”
Don Robinson was a self-made businessman who became successful by producing and marketing a cleaning product called “Off.” With his profits, he began buying land in the Jefferson County area, creating his own sanctuary surrounded by mostly forested steep, rugged hills. Upon his death, Robinson donated his land as well as trust fund to help manage the park to Missouri State Parks.
Visitors will be able to access Don Robinson State Park starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, with trails and picnic areas open and available for use. The entrance to the park is located at 9275 Byrnesville Road, Cedar Hill. Guests can find out more about the new park by calling 636-257-3788.
Don Robinson State Park is the newest of several state parks now available to the public through efforts by Gov. Nixon to enhance outdoor opportunities in Missouri. In July, Gov. Nixon dedicated Echo Bluff State Park in Shannon County. On Dec. 10, the Governor opened 47.5 miles of trail between Pleasant Hill and Windsor along the Rock Island spur of Katy Trail State Park, enabling hikers and bicyclists to travel cross-state from the Kansas City area all the way to the St. Louis area along the world-renowned Katy Trail.
Recently, Gov. Nixon also announced that Missouri is adding three new state parks: Bryant Creek State Park in Douglas County, Eleven Point State Park in Oregon County, and Ozark Mountain State Park in Taney County. With the addition of those parks, there are now 91 Missouri state parks and historic sites.
At the beginning of his first term in 2009, Gov. Nixon announced an initiative to reverse years of declining parks attendance and set a goal of a record 20 million visitors to Missouri State Parks by 2016. Last week, heannounced that the goal of 20 million visitors in one year to the parks had been achieved.
Missouri state parks also are important drivers of tourism and economic activity; earlier this month, Gov. Nixon announced that the number of visitors to Missouri hit an all-time record of 41.7 million. An economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.
Gov. Nixon has also made a significant investment in the existing state parks and historic sites that make up the park system. During fiscal years 2014 and 2015, approximately $18 million was invested in improving and maintaining facilities in the park system. An additional $10 million in investments in improvements to state parks and historic sites throughout Missouri is currently being made through a strategic bond issuance, made possible by the state’s strong fiscal discipline.
This fall, Missouri voters overwhelming reapproved Missouri’s Parks, Soils and Water sales tax by its highest margin ever, with 80 percent of voters supporting the initiative. Missouri’s Parks, Soils and Water sales tax is the primary source of funding for Missouri’s nationally acclaimed state parks and historic sites.