One year after the National Park System was established In 1916, the state of Missouri put funding into place that would preserve designated areas of land and transform them into public spaces.

The first piece of property the state bought was the J Houston Tavern in Arrow Rock. It wasn’t until six years later that the first piece of land established as a state park would happen. It was  Big Spring State Park, near Van Buren.

There are now 92 state parks and historic sites, along with the Katy Trail. At 240 miles, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Trail (MKT or Katy), is 240 miles long and runs between Clinton and Machens with 26 trailheads and four fully restored railroad depots along the way. It’s the longest “Rails to Trails” project in U.S. history.

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

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