Park Plans

at Lewis and Clark State Park

Conceptual Development Plan
July 2005

Established: 1934
Location: Buchanan County
Size: 189 acres


The mission of Lewis and Clark State Park is to provide outdoor recreation compatible with the resources; to interpret the park's historical connection to the 1804 Corps of Discovery expedition; and to preserve, restore and interpret the park's Missouri River floodplain ecosystem.


Although one of the smallest parks in the system, the natural and cultural resources and recreational opportunities contained within its 189 acres make Lewis and Clark State Park (LCSP) a desirable destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts and outdoor recreationists alike. The 365-acre Lewis and Clark Lake, an oxbow lake formed from the Missouri River, offers fishing, boating, swimming and birdwatching opportunities. It was this lake, once called Gosling Lake, that was the lake described by Captain William Clark in his July 4, 1804 journal entry during the Corps of Discovery Expedition. The park also provides camping and lakeside picnicking.

In addition to its association with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the park's history also includes ties to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Their handiwork can still be seen in the park's existing picnic shelter and a former Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hatchery pond. It was closure of the hatchery operation that precipitated the conceptual development plan update. Interpretation of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, CCC structures, MDC hatchery management and the natural history of the oxbow lake and wetland landscape within the park, as well as provision of recreational opportunities that emphasize these resources, are objectives of this conceptual development plan.


Restore, preserve and interpret the natural and cultural resources located within the park's boundaries. Restoration projects must be supported with documentary research and historical archaeology.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 an interpretive area within the viewshed of the Corps of Discovery's expedition, as part of the 2004 "Heart of America: A Journey Forth" signature event commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition.Provide adequate operational, administrative and maintenance support facilities to protect, secure and maintain the resources of the park.


Develop a Controlled Access System:

A manual gate currently exists on the boundary of LCSP with Lewis and Clark Village (LCV). Another gate is proposed at the main entrance to the park and adjacent to the proposed park office and service area. Ideally, both gates should be electrically operated. Operationally, both gates should be closed at night to fully secure the park from vandalism. A wireless keypunch entry and vehicle motion detector free exit system at the main entrance gate will allow campers to enter and exit after normal park hours. During normal business hours, both gates should remain open to allow mail delivery, and school bus and emergency vehicle access to LCV, as well as access to park visitors. Additionally, the gate on the boundary with LCV could be closed on major summer holidays (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day) to curtail the increased traffic flow through LCV, provide greater park management and enhance park visitor experience. Gate closure during these times would require a joint, annual agreement between LCSP and LCV.

Relocate Park Office and Service Area:

The park office, superintendent's residence and service area will be located at the entrance, which will be gated to control vandalism. This site was chosen for vehicular control, visual presence and its position above the 100-year flood elevation. The park office will house interpretive exhibits that will interpret the cultural history of the park, including CCC, Lewis and Clark, and hatchery history; the natural history of the park will be interpreted as well, including formation of the oxbow lake, loess hills, and wetland habitat. The existing park office and service building, superintendent's residence, pole barn, and the former MDC service building will either be salvaged, relocated or demolished.

Expand Existing Day-Use Area Adjacent to Lewis and Clark Lake:

The former fish kettles (kettles numbered 10 through 20; see Appendix – Existing Conditions Map) adjacent to the campground have been filled in to incorporate an open play field in the existing day-use area. A native prairie demonstration area will also be included in the open field play area.

Construct Shelter Day-Use Area:

All but one of the fish kettles to the south of the entrance road (kettles numbered 10 through 20; see Appendix – Existing Conditions Map) have been filled in for developing into a day-use area. Another shelter house is being proposed for this area, as an addition to the CCC shelter in the existing day-use area. An open play field as well as disabled accessible fishing docks will also be provided. Access to the proposed day-use area will require construction of a new road.

Develop Lewis and Clark Expedition Interpretive Area:

As part of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration, a signature feature will be incorporated into the landscape at the park and will include development and construction of a screened and bermed interpretive walk that will lead visitors to an interpretive plaza showcasing the feature, with interpretive materials arranged along the walk. Screening materials will be indigenous trees, prairie grasses and prairie wildflowers.

Construct Pedestrian/Bicycle Path:

A walking/bicycle trail will loop through the park. The trail will be approximately two miles in length and will connect each of the proposed and existing use areas, as well as provide safer access to the beach from the campground.

Construct Tent Camping Area:

Ten walk-in campsites will be developed in what is currently designated the "spoils area," the undeveloped section of the park south of the entrance road. Support amenities include access road, central pit toilet and hydrant, designated site parking (vehicle only, no travel trailers), tables, lantern posts, and fire rings.

Construct Special Use Camp:

A special use camp with three group camping areas will also be developed in the "spoils area." Support amenities include access road, central pit toilet and hydrant, bus and car parking for each camping area, and tables, lantern posts, and fire rings at each camping area.

Construct Restroom:

A modern waterborne restroom (no showers) will be developed in the northeastern section of the campground to better accommodate campers in this area. Number of fixtures will be dependent on the number of campsites in this area at the time of budgeting.

Re-vegetate Kettle Areas (Proposed Deciduous Trees on Map):

Indigenous shade trees will be mass planted after each kettle area is converted to public use. Those kettles converted to additional wetlands will be planted with indigenous grasses, herbaceous plants, and shrubs as well as trees.

Screen Lewis & Clark Village (Proposed Coniferous Trees on Map):

Coniferous trees will be planted along the wooden fence that separates the park from LCV and between the park and an agricultural field for additional screening and to enhance the park visitor's experience.

Convert Kettles to Marsh/Wetland:

Former earthen fish hatchery kettles one through four (1-4) shall be re-graded and reshaped to expand the adjacent existing marsh/wetland area.

Develop Fish Hatchery Interpretation Area:

One fish hatchery kettle (#5) along with the old pump house, two wells, and two remaining valve boxes will be retained to interpret the history and purpose of the fish hatchery. In winter, the kettle could be used for ice-skating.

Restore Bottomland Forest Mosaic:

Fifty-five acres of bottomland forest adjacent to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Area will be restored to reflect historic landscape. 

Approved by:

Douglas K. Eiken, Director, Division of State Parks, 08/03/05
Jane Lale, Director, Planning and Development Program, 08/02/05
Frank St. Clair, Field Operations Supervisor, Northern Parks District, 07/27/05
Lana Woody, Parks Manager, Northern Parks District, 07/24/05
Richard Klein, Park Superintendent, Lewis and Clark State Park, 07/22/05


Members of the CDP team:

Frank St. Clair, Field Operations Supervisor, Northerni Parks District
Richard Klein, Park Superintendent, Lewis and Clark State Park
Gary Barkhaus, Landscape Architect, Planning and Development Program
Jim Yancey, Environmental Specialist, Facility and Visitor Services Program
Gary Parker, Park Superintendent, Big Lake State Park
Steve Eder, Section Chief, Fisheries Division, Missouri Department of Conservation

Citizen Input:

Three public meetings were held to solicit public input. The following appendix includes minutes from the meetings, lists of attendees, and copies of invitations.