EDWARD "TED" AND PAT JONES-CONFLUENCE POINT STATE PARK
Conceptual Development Plan
The mission of Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park is to restore, preserve and interpret a quality, natural floodplain community that includes diverse flora and fauna while providing numerous recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing. The park will also protect and interpret the unique cultural history of the area and provide excellent opportunities for researching both the natural processes and historical associations of the park's landscape.
"I am now on an expidition to the westward, with Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark, who are appointed by the President of the united States to go on an expidition through the interior parts of North America. We are to ascend the Missouri River with a boat as far as it is navigable and then go by land, to the western ocean, if nothing prevents…"
-- Sgt. John Ordway, in a letter to his parents, April 8,
Member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Two of the state's most imposing natural and cultural resources are the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, each playing a major role during the historic exploration and settlement of the nation. Acting as vehicles for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and subsequent westward expansion of the new nation, both rivers contribute to some of the most diverse cultural settlements and scenic natural landscapes in Missouri. In addition to their role as transportation routes, the two rivers offer outstanding recreational opportunities. One such opportunity is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The confluence of these two great rivers provides an awesome display of the forces of nature as well as preserves a site significant to the nation's history. It was a long-term goal of the division to acquire land at the confluence of these two big rivers and provide public access to this remarkable site.
A unique partnership among local, state and federal agencies and private organizations led to the achievement of this goal with the designation of the Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park. Because of these partners, a new state park has been provided within the St. Louis metropolitan area that played a significant role in the state's Lewis and Clark bicentennial commemoration; will interpret cultural and natural aspects of the two great rivers; will restore native wetland ecosystems; and will link with the statewide Katy Trail State Park. The park is also of prominent importance in the efforts of the St. Louis area to provide an integrated system of parks and trails for this urban center. Additionally, Confluence Point State Park will become a platform for furthering the division’s urban outreach and programming efforts in the St. Louis metropolitan region.
- Preserve and interpret the natural and cultural resources associated with the two great rivers.
- Provide recreational and public use facilities that are consistent with the preservation of these resources and the mission of the park, that withstand flooding 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, restore and maintain the resources of the park.
- Design and develop all structures and facilities to withstand periodic flooding.
- Complete initial development so that the park will be opened to the public in 2004, to coincide with the national Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.
- Provide linkage to other trails and greenway systems within the St. Louis urban area.
- Designate tree planting sites, and prairie and marsh restoration areas to be used as outdoor classrooms and/or group project sites, as part of the park's urban outreach and environmental education efforts.
- Restore native natural vegetation across the site.
Because the park is part of a four-mile wide floodplain surrounding the confluence that floods periodically, recreational development will be limited to a minimal-facility day use area (excluding picnicking facilities).
Access Road and Parking Lot
Develop four-and-a-half mile entrance road to access the park, terminating in an approximately 40-vehicle parking lot.
Develop a staging area adjacent to the parking lot that will incorporate an information kiosk and ADA-compliant flood-resistant restrooms.
Access Path to Point of Confluence
Develop a pedestrian path to the point of confluence that will incorporate a flood pole at river stage 415 and an open-air interpretive area at river stage 412. The path will connect the flood pole and interpretive area to three contact nodes leading to the point. These contact nodes will be located at river stages 410, 408 and 406. During spring and summer flows, there is 30-50% probability that one or more of the contact nodes will be under water as well as the lower sections of the connecting pathway. The path and contact nodes will be designed to withstand elevated river levels.
Open-air Interpretive Area
Develop an open-air interpretive facility that incorporates seating and low interpretive panels as the primary point of contact to the confluence. During spring and summer flows, there is a 25% probability that the interpretive facility will be under water and will therefore be designed to withstand elevated river levels.
A docking facility will be provided on the Mississippi River to allow boaters to access the park from the river.
Develop trails through the wetland restoration area, which will feature wet prairie, bottomland forest and marsh. Additionally, the trails will offer access to bird watching blinds that will be provided to allow visitors opportunity to view the tremendous bird life that will be attracted to the area as a result of the restoration process.
Draft a lease agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to develop a service area on USACE property adjacent to access road.
Draft a lease agreement to locate a visitor contact area within the USACE visitor center.
PLANNING AND RESEARCH GOALS
Natural Resources Management Plan
The completed Natural Resources Management Plan outlines management activities required to restore and maintain native wetland ecosystems representative of those historically occupying the Missouri/Mississippi rivers confluence. The ultimate vision is to re-establish within Confluence Point State Park a natural floodplain reminiscent of what Lewis and Clark might have experienced along the lower Missouri River two hundred years ago. Recreational amenity development inside the park will remain sensitive to this vision and the ongoing wetland restoration efforts, and will provide trails offering visitors the opportunity to experience these natural landscapes.
Completion of the Interpretation Plan will address all interpretive issues at the park, including the park’s natural history and the cultural association of the rivers as transportation routes as well as their significance to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Additionally, the Interpretation Plan will outline the park’s goals for incorporating environmental education and programming through its urban outreach efforts.
Initial development will include construction of the access road, parking area, staging area, pedestrian access path and interpretive area, to be completed in time for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration. Future development will include development of trails, a courtesy dock, service area, and visitor contact area as well as trail linkage with other trail systems in the area.
Doug Eiken, Director, Division of State Parks, 10/30/05
Jane Lale, Director, Planning and Development Program, 9/22/05
Greg Combs, Field Operations Supervisor, Eastern Parks District, 09/07/05
Brian Stith, Field Operations Coordinator, St. Louis Area Office, 09/07/05
Dusty Reid, Park Superintendent, 09/06/05
CONTEXTUAL PLANNING INFORMATION
Members of the CDP team:
Larry Larson, Natural Resource Manager, Boonville Area Office
Deb Schnack, former director, Planning and Development Program
Mary Donze, Planner III, Planning and Development Program
Pat Crawford, former architect, Planning and Development Program
Ken McCarty, Natural Resource Manager, Resource Management and Interpretation Program
Wallace Keck, Boonville Area Office
The following appendix includes an agenda, list of invitees and minutes from the May 2001 focus group meeting. Additionally, the appendix provides a copy of the news release inviting the public to attend the April 2002 open house and a copy of the conceptual plans presented at the open house.
Greenway/Trail Network Stakeholders:
In 1997, a group of non-profit organizations joined together to form the Confluence Greenway, a nationally significant, 200 square-mile park and trail system in the heart of the bi-state St. Louis region. Since then, a broad group of private and public agencies has joined this effort to preserve open space and develop a linear system of riverfront parks and trails. The Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones-Confluence Point State Park is at the nucleus of the Confluence Greenway Project and will provide future linkage to a myriad of other trails and parks within the Greenway, both in Missouri and in Illinois.
In addition to Columbia Bottom Conservation Area and Chouteau Island, Jones-Confluence Point State Park is also part of a massive endeavor by the Confluence Greenway Project to bring 10,000 acres of green space surrounding the confluence into public ownership. This will facilitate the contiguous preservation and restoration of wetlands, forests, prairies and aquatic habitats. Additionally, numerous recreational facilities will be conveniently clustered together to provide urban opportunities to participate in primitive camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and nature study. Map 1, provided in the appendix, represents the extent of the Confluence Greenway.
The Great Rivers Greenway (formally Metropolitan Park and Recreation
The Great Rivers Greenway (GRR) was established in November 2000 by the successful passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative ("Proposition C") in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, Missouri. Funded through a one-tenth of one cent sales tax, the mission of GRR is to improve the community resources and quality of life in the metropolitan St. Louis region by developing an extensive system of inter-connecting trails, greenways, parks and natural systems. In its efforts to ensure maximum regional benefit, GRR collaborates with the Metro East Park District in Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois, making it one of the largest park and recreation districts of its kind. The appendix provides a map (Map 2) indicating the boundaries of GRR's district. The establishment of Jones-Confluence Point State Park would not have been possible without several significant contributions from GRR. After an initial donation of $943,000 from the Danforth Foundation and a $1 million federal grant for 603 acres at the confluence, a lease agreement with GRR provided an additional 515 acres, bringing the total acreage of Jones-Confluence Point State Park to 1,118 acres. A $1.6 million dollar grant from GRR funded an access road to the park.