The Missouri Parks Association is a citizens
organization—independent and non-partisan—dedicated to the protection,
enhancement, and interpretation of Missouri state parks and historic sites.
Founded in 1982 at a time of financial crisis
for the park system, when a shredded budget led to consideration of
dismembering the system and handing it out in pieces to other agencies, MPA has
been a steadfast supporter of the system and a tireless defender of it against
all comers. MPA educates public officials, potential support organizations, the
media, and its members and other citizens about the values at stake in our
state parks and historic sites, and alerts the general public when the
citizenry at large needs to step forward in support of this beloved Missouri
institution. Ensuring that Missourians understand the need for an adequate and
consistent base of financial support for the park system is a key MPA task.
MPA is devoted to the three-fold mission of the
state park system:
- to preserve and
interpret the best examples of Missouri's natural landscapes,
- to preserve and
interpret the best examples of Missouri's cultural landmarks,
- and to provide
appropriate recreational use of these resources.
We serve as a watchdog for our state parks and
the system as a whole, identifying threats to the parks and rallying support
for their protection. Sometimes we work
behind the scenes with park staff and other public officials and conservation
leaders to resolve problems and other times out front to engage citizen support
in defense of our parks.
MPA is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit,
member-supported organization run entirely by volunteers. We have more than 3,000 loyal members
throughout Missouri and beyond, and we always welcome new members and
volunteers who care about our state parks and want to help.
We publish a newsletter, Heritage, three times a
year, but also send periodic email alerts when the park system is
threatened. We are proud of our book,
Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites (University of
Missouri Press), which has been called the finest state park book in the
nation. We coordinate an Urban
Populations Outreach Program for underserved youths with partners in four
cities—Kansas City, St. Louis, Joplin, and Columbia—which provides direct state
park fun and experiences for these disadvantaged young people. We are cooperating with other organizations
to launch a new program, Poets in the Parks, and we are constantly looking for
new ways in which the park system may be enhanced and enjoyed by our citizens
and visitors alike.
MPA members gather each fall to learn about the
state of the parks, experience behind-the-scenes tours of nearby parks and
historic sites, and enjoy fellowship and fun.
Please join us.