Facts and Figures

Attendance Figures

The Department of Natural Resources is routinely asked by many of you for attendance data in our state park system. By providing this information on the internet, we hope to better serve your needs.

The data is set up based on the monthly figures for 90 of the 93 state parks and historic sites that report attendance. The camping unit figures are from camping permit sales. Total visitors include campers, lodging guests and day-use visitors. The column for lodging units rented reflects the total number of nightly rentals for park-operated lodging and our contracted concession-run operations.

2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023

Missouri State Park and Historic Site System Expansion Plan

In 1992, the Division of State Parks released the “Missouri State Park and Historic Site System Expansion Plan.” The plan was developed following a nearly five-year process of public meetings, research and staff input. The document provided a history of the 75-year-old system, explained the differences in outdoor recreation providers, detailed the state statute that defines a state park, confirmed the criteria and standards used in evaluating sites for inclusion into the system and identified the natural, cultural and recreation gaps in the system. It also provided a list of suggested additions to fill those gaps. This document still provides the fundamental basics for evaluating suggested additions to Missouri’s state park system. 

Missing Masterpieces: A Survey about Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites:
In 2004, nearly 20 years after publishing the “Missouri State Park and Historic Site Expansion Plan," the Division of State Parks completed “Missing Masterpieces: A Survey About Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.” The extensive survey gathered public input regarding the standards the division uses to evaluate potential new areas for their worthiness to become new Missouri state parks. The public overwhelmingly agreed with the standards for statewide significance used to evaluate potential new parks. This information continues to be the basis of informed decisions about potential new sites.

Economic Impact of Katy Trail State Park

Katy Trail State Park, the nation’s premier rail-trail conversion, has a positive economic impact on the state and local trail communities. Hundreds of businesses along the Katy Trail provide a variety of tourism-related services, from wineries, restaurants and shops to bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and campgrounds. The Katy Trail has been a catalyst for tourism development, and many small businesses depend on the trail for an ongoing stream of customers. An economic impact study released in 2012 found that trail-related expenditures made by these customers in 2011 generated nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, and supported 367 jobs with a payroll of $5.1 million. The overall economic impact to the local trail communities from visitor spending is $8.2 million. For every dollar spent by Missouri State Parks to operate Katy Trail State Park, Missouri’s economy saw an $18 return on investment.

Economic Impact of State Park System

The Missouri state park system, which attracts more than 18 million visitors annually to its state parks and historic sites, has a positive economic impact on the state and local communities. Economic impact is the net economic change in Missouri that results from the spending of visitors to state parks and historic sites. Results of an economic impact study released in 2012 estimate that total annual expenditures of state park visitors in 2011 were approximately $778 million. The overall economic impact of these expenditures is estimated at $1.02 billion in sales, $307 million in payroll and related income, and $123 million in federal, state and local taxes. Also, visitors’ expenditures support 14,535 jobs. For every dollar spent by Missouri State Parks to operate the state park system, Missouri’s economy saw a $26 return on investment. These impacts show that Missouri state parks enhance our state’s economy as well as improve visitor’s health and well-being.  


In order to make the state parks and historic sites in the system a great place to enjoy nature and discover the past, Missouri State Parks manages a wide variety of structures and facilities. These include: 

  • 49 regulated public water systems. The overall compliance rate of these systems is comparable to other drinking water systems of the same type.
  • 2,043 structures. A total of 56% of the buildings under the jurisdiction of the State of Missouri Office of Administration are in Missouri State Parks.
  • 260 miles of paved roadway.
  • 96 wastewater systems. 
  • More than 1,000 miles of trail.
  • 3,591 campsites.

User Satisfaction

During several comprehensive studies conducted since 1995, users of state parks and historic sites indicated their ongoing satisfaction with the state park system. According to the 2000 survey conducted by the University of Missouri, almost 99% of the users surveyed were satisfied with their visit. To see detailed reports of visitor services, click on the Visitor Research Reports link on the right. 

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

The Missouri Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) 2018-2022 is a research and planning document with a dual goal – to ensure Missouri’s eligibility for federal Land and Water Conservation Funds, and to guide the development and funding of outdoor recreation within Missouri over the next five years.

A fresh approach was taken to develop this SCORP, engaging Missouri residents and outdoor recreation professionals alike in the research. The goals were to assess the state’s current and future recreational needs, desires and preferences; to identify trends and priorities that will impact the future of outdoor recreation in Missouri; and to project future recreational demands.

As part of this SCORP, three statewide surveys were conducted of residents and outdoor recreation professionals. Primary research data was compared to national studies and trends for a broad-based perspective. And for the first time, an inventory of Missouri trails was initiated, a rich resource in the state that distinguishes Missouri as an outdoor destination.

By engaging both residents and professionals in the process, a great deal was learned about the challenges and issues faced in making outdoor recreation opportunities available to all Missouri residents

2018-2022 SCORP

For additional information or questions, please email or call 573-751-0848.