Missouri State Parks, a division of the Department of Natural Resources, announced phase one of a phased approach to resuming normal operations.
While the vast majority of Missouri state parks and historic sites have remained open for day use, Missouri State Parks has implemented a number of measures designed to maintain required social distancing and protect visitors and team members.
Based on current conditions, Missouri State Parks is implementing the following measures in phase one of the return to normal operations:
On May 4, concession-operated lodging, dining, marina and retail operations will begin reopening at the discretion of the individual concessionaires and following Governor Parson’s recommended guidelines.
On May 11, Castlewood State Park, Elephant Rocks State Park, Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site and State Park and Weston Bend State Park will reopen for day use only.
Spring and summer months bring both the buzz of lawnmowers and bees. These fuzzy flyers are important pollinators, playing a crucial role in the production of many favorite fruits and vegetables. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages the public to “bee-friend” these valuable native pollinators.
“Missouri is home to around 450 species of native bees, but it’s not uncommon for more to be identified each year,” said MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank. “There are several common bees Missourians will encounter, including the bumblebee, carpenter bees, sweat bees, and the leafcutter bee.”
Most native bees only live about one year. They emerge in the spring as adults, visiting flowers and buildings nests. Many species, such as bumblebees, make their nests underground, while others, such as leafcutter and mason bees, will set up shop in small cavities found in wood or in the pith of plant stems.
Effective immediately, Ozark National Scenic Riverways is suspending all commercial services operations within the park and expanding the restriction on camping to include all gravel bar camping and camping along trails in support of federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The suspension of commercial services includes operations by all authorized outfitters within the park boundaries, such as the park’s contracted float and shuttle concessions and guide services. This suspension remains in effect through at least May 10 and will be evaluated prior to that time to determine if there is a need for extension.
Camping closures have also been expanded to encompass all camping, including gravel bar camping and dispersed camping along the Ozark Trail within the park boundary. These closures will remian in effect until at least May 10 and may be extended beyond that date if necessary. All camping or pavilion reservations between April 15 and May 10 have been canceled through the recreation.gov website and visitors should expect refunds processed for those cancellations.
For more detailed information and specific camping and other destinations in the ONSR area impacted by the changes can be FOUND HERE.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Chariton, Lafayette, and Moniteau counties, bringing the statewide total to 78 counties known to have the pest. EAB is a small, metallic green beetle native to Asia that attacks all species of ash trees, killing more than 99 percent of the trees it attacks.
According to MDC Forest Entomologist Robbie Doerhoff, one of the best ways to keep track of EAB and its march across Missouri is to look for bark blonding, a term that refers to woodpecker damage on ash trees.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces public fishing in Forest Park’s Jefferson Lake, located in St. Louis City, will be suspended starting April 1 for approximately one year. The suspension is to accommodate an extensive $10.5 million renovation of the park’s eastern waterways by Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis which will also impact the lake.
The project is tentatively expected to be completed and public fishing at Jefferson Lake anticipated to reopen by June 2021.
On a hike in the age of pandemic this past weekend, an acquaintance noted how the sky has not been this blue since the week after 9/11. There is minimal air traffic, so the skies get a breather from the burning jet fuel, contrails and all the airliners’ heat-trapping gases.
Don’t get me wrong. This column is not about the Green New Deal and its plans for the likes of Southwest or American Airlines. I’m a believer in keeping the skies friendly for air travel, at least until my daughter gets home from Dublin, where she says she is working in a “Shelter-in-Place Paradise.”
This missive is actually about how we are now taking refuge in nature. We are discovering purple wildflowers, blooming dogwoods and pondering “nothing but blue skies,” as Willie Nelson sings.
Connecting people to animals is the core of the Saint Louis Zoo’s mission, and that doesn’t stop when its doors are closed. Stay connected with the Zoo’s #BringTheStlZooToYou online resource providing access to stories, videos and photos of the animals and animal care, educational activities, conservation programs and more to help you stay connected to the Zoo during the temporary public closure because of COVID-19. You can find the fun and informative resources on the zoo’s social media and website.
“We know how important the Zoo is to the St. Louis area community,” says Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “We are happy to continue to provide everyone with opportunities to view our animals and see firsthand how well our zookeepers and other critical staff are working. Likewise, we hope all those parents who are teaching their children at home can take advantage of some of this information.”
Alfred Satterthwait working on his insect collection at his home 118 Waverly Ave., Webster Groves, ~1930. WGNSS Archives.
by Don Corrigan
The Webster Groves Nature Study Society (WGNSS) was set to mark an entire century of existence this April. A coronavirus pandemic has crushed all the organization’s “best laid plans” to celebrate its past, present and future.
“Our 100th Anniversary Banquet for May 12 is canceled. Our ‘Night to Remember’ on April 1 is canceled. Our ceremony with the Mayor of Webster Groves on city hall’s front lawn for April 3 is canceled,” lamented Richard Thoma, the past president and first vice president of WGNSS.
“Obviously, the pandemic is hurting a lot more people and canceling more important things than what we are all about – but this hurts,” said Thoma. “It has also canceled three nature outings and set back the publication of our memorial book, “One Hundred Years of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.”
Starting March 27, people may fish in Missouri without a permit through April 15.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Commission announce they are temporarily waiving permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags for Missouri residents and nonresidents whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.
The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run from Friday, March 27, through April 15. MDC will reassess the situation at that point. All season dates and limits will continue to apply and be enforced.
“The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced it will close its nature centers, visitor centers, and education centers around the state to visitors effective Thursday, March 19, to help protect the public amid ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. The indoor facilities will be closed to the public through April 15 and MDC will reassess the situation at that point. Nature center trails remain open.