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State Parks Stories

Missouri State Parks invites you to explore the world of nature our state has to offer. Read our stories and find a state park that's close to you.

Pomme de Terre: Quietly Awesome

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks

PITTSBURG, Mo. – The long, silvery body of a large fish broke the glassy surface of Pomme de Terre Lake just as Earle Hammond brought his pontoon boat to a halt at his favorite fishing hole. We hoped it was an omen of good things to come.

“That was a muskie right there, with its snout up out of the water,” Hammond said. “You don’t catch a muskie every day. Expect the best, but don’t count on it.”

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Pomme de Terre State Park: Muskie Capital of Missouri

An artist's life frozen in time

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks


Guide Chris Fritsche knows what to expect of first-time visitors when he leads them down the marbled hallways of the State Capitol in Jefferson City through the heavy wood doors of the House Lounge into the vibrant world of Thomas Hart Benton.


“They’re pretty shocked – you see disbelief and surprise on their faces,” said Fritsche, an interpreter for the Missouri State Museum, which is located in the capitol building.

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Peer into Thomas Hart Benton's life

The amazing eccentricity of Bothwell Lodge

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks
SEDALIA, Mo. – John Homer Bothwell would have approved of the Radiant Trail, which rambles for three miles through the fields and forests of Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site.


“He would hike great distances on a whim, get out in the woods and start walking and who knows where he would end up,” said Charles Wise, who guides visitors through Bothwell’s castle-like home.

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Bees in the walls but builder no bats in the belfry at Bothwell Lodge

Five fabulous fall drives

Hawn State Park has the reputation as being Missouri’s prettiest, especially in fall. Ed Schott can look out the window of his office and see why.
“There are lots of vibrant reds and yellows in the oaks and hickories, and we have one of the largest stands of shortleaf pines in the park system,” said Schott, who is the superintendent of the park in southeast Missouri.

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Drive through fall in our state parks

Prairie fire

by Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks

The roadsides hinted at what the rolling landscape of northern Missouri looked like in autumn when the first pioneer wagons arrived in the early 1800s.

Goldenrod and yellow sunflowers, with an occasional touch of purple courtesy of the blazing stars and Joe Pye weed, provided patches of color amid the grasses. Beyond were fields of corn, soybeans and sorghum stretching into the horizon.

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Fall explodes at our northern parks

Five fabulous fall floats

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks
 
Fall is the best time for a float trip in the Missouri Ozarks. Summer crowds are gone, and the sparkling streams reflect the autumn colors.
“It’s also the prettiest time of the year for wildflowers – you have all the yellow and red, even some purple blooms,” said Gene Maggard, president of the Missouri Canoe and Floaters Association.
Maggard, who owns Akers Ferry Canoe Rental on the Current River, said fall colors start showing in early October.

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Fall means quiet rivers and exceptional solitude

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