St. Joe State Park's location in the old "Lead Belt" and the associated mine tailings used for off-road vehicle riding represent a unique management challenge. The Department of Natural Resources continually looks for opportunities to make any needed health and safety improvements to the park to ensure visitor safety while continuing to make this recreational opportunity available.
Lead tailings in the "Mine Tailings Area" may pose a health risk, especially to children six (6) years of age and under. The more contact a person has with lead, the greater the chance of health effects occurring. Lead can cause behavioral and developmental problems in children and may have other harmful effects in adults. Actions you can take to lower your exposure include avoiding or limiting your time in the main tailings area, washing face and hands before eating, and removing as much dust and soil as possible from clothing, equipment and vehicles before leaving the park.
The following attachments include a letter from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) about an evaluation of adult off-road vehicle recreational use at St. Joe State Park and maps that show the result of a 2008 sampling of the tailings area that indicate the average level of lead at various locations. The map also indicates other features, including trails.