Park Plans

at Crowder State Park

CROWDER STATE PARK
Conceptual Development Plan
July 2005

Established: 1938
Size: 1,912 acres
Location: Grundy County

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of Crowder State Park is to preserve, protect and interpret large tracts of forested northern Missouri land and other natural resources; to provide recreational opportunities compatible with the resource base; and to preserve, protect and interpret the cultural resources.

INTRODUCTION

Nicknamed “the Ozarks of the North,” Crowder State Park offers a wonderful opportunity to preserve and manage a native landscape in north Missouri’s agricultural regions. The park’s combination of mature forest in its river hills and bottoms, restored prairie, Thompson River frontage, and the rocky outcrops in its glacier-derived soils make Crowder a scenic and valuable natural landscape. Because of these unusual and rare characteristics in a region that has lost much of its natural heritage, it is incumbent upon the division to implement a vigorous management regime that allows for the administration of Crowder State Park on a landscape-scale. For this reason, several land acquisitions have been identified that would encompass the park’s watersheds and expand its boundaries to reflect a natural break between landscape types.

DEVELOPMENT GOALS

  • Preserve and interpret the natural and cultural resources located within the park’s boundaries.
  • Provide recreational and public use facilities that are consistent with the preservation of these resources and the mission of the park and that do not exceed the capacity of the land to sustain these activities.
  • Provide adequate visitor orientation and interpretive facilities to enhance the public’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the resources of the park.
  • Provide adequate operational, administrative and maintenance support facilities to protect, secure and maintain the resources of the park.

DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES

Expand Campground:

The site of the existing campground precludes much in the way of expansion. The current campground will be expanded to the southwest to provide more campsites. Expansion will require purchase of additional land adjacent to the campground and will significantly increase the number of campsites in the park. In the interim, an expansion of 10-12 campsites has been proposed.

Equestrian Trailhead Relocation:

Relocating the equestrian trailhead to the interior of the park will provide more security for equestrian trail users and eliminate the northwest park entrance, making Crowder a single-entrance park.

Trail Development:

Crowder State Park currently has fifteen and a half miles of trails. The demand for trail expansion is great and, as a result, trails will be incorporated on future land acquisitions and current state park property. Future trail development must remain consistent with the completed Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Management Plan chapters; this includes reviewing proposed trail types, whether hiking, bicycling, equestrian, or multi-use, and determining if the proposed uses are compatible with the resources. In particular, it is recommended that a soil analysis component be added to the Natural Resource Management chapter, to ensure trail type suitability. Additionally, it is recommended that a component be added to the Operations Plan that would address procedures for trail closure during inclement weather or other factors that contribute to erosion and/or adverse trail conditions.

Interpret the Thompson Homestead:

The 19th century Thompson House, a locally significant site which lacks its basic structural configuration, will be interpreted and preserved as Ruins. The Thompson River Multipurpose Trail will provide general public access to the Thompson House, where panels and/or a kiosk will provide interpretation of the Thompson family homestead. In the interest of reducing the potential for vandalism at this remote site, vehicular access will be limited to emergencies and special requests. Further, a security fence will be constructed around the site to protect the resources and to limit visitor access to the ruins.

Interpret the Thompson Cemetery:

The Thompson family cemetery is believed to be one of the oldest remaining cemeteries in Grundy County. The cemetery will be interpreted by delineating the boundaries, removing vegetation, and fencing the perimeter since it is in close proximity to the Thompson River Multipurpose Trail. This may require further archaeological research and direction from the Cultural Resources Management Section.

Land Acquisition:

Several purchase units have been identified that will provide watershed protection, viewshed protection and future development of a new campground.

  • Purchase Unit A – would add additional Thompson River frontage for expanded watershed protection, re-establishment of riparian forest, continued viewshed protection and expanded trail development.
  • Purchase Unit B – would also add additional Thompson River frontage for expanded watershed protection, re-establishment of riparian forest, continued viewshed protection and expanded trail development. Additionally, Purchase Unit B contains a defunct quarry in need of reclamation to prevent drainage and subsequent sedimentation into Crowder Lake. Acquisition of Purchase Unit B would also prevent potential development near the park’s entrance.
  • Purchase Unit C – would allow campground expansion and prevent potential development near the park’s entrance.
  • Purchase Unit D – would ensure continued viewshed and watershed protection through contiguous ownership of critical land units, as well as allow for the protection of the area’s mature hardwood forests. This purchase unit is critical, because it contains a large quantity of forest that would enhance the division’s ability to fulfill Crowder’s mission. Additionally, acquisition of this purchase unit would prevent housing or commercial development that would overlook the park, potentially inhibiting the wild and remote experience park visitors, particularly trail users, seek during their visits to the park.

APPROVED BY:

Doug Eiken, Director, Division of State Parks, 07/18/05
Jane Lale, Director, Planning and Development Program, 07/13/05
Frank St. Clair, Field Operations Supervisor, Northern Parks District, 06/27/05
Paul Anders, Park Superintendent, Crowder State Park, 06/27/05

CONTEXTUAL PLANNING INFORMATION

Members of the CDP team:

Frank St. Clair, Field Operations Supervisor, Northern Parks District
Paul Anders, Park Superintendent, Crowder State Park
Marian Goodding, District Interpreter, Northern Parks District
Mike Currier, Resource Steward, Resource Management and Interpretation Program
Larry Grantham, Archaeologist, Resource Management and Interpretation Program
Pat Crawford, Planner, Planning and Development Program
Mark Hohengasser, Architect, Planning and Development Program
Dawn Fredrickson, Planner, Planning and Development Program

Citizen Input:

Crowder State Park was one of the first parks to use online and paper surveys to augment the citizen input process. Conducting surveys allows a much broader audience with greater geographic distribution the opportunity to express their development suggestions and concerns than is typically provided by public meetings, whose participants tend primarily toward local residents. The following appendix includes public meeting information for Crowder’s three public meetings, a copy of the Phase I and Phase II survey instruments, and a summary of the results from these surveys.