Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Missouri's state park policy has taken a sharp turn under Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.
For the past eight years under former Gov. Jay Nixon (D), the state has consistently bought land for the state Department of Natural Resources to preserve as parks.
The new administration has halted for now any new land purchases and stopped a purchase of a historic building in Ste. Geneviève, the last colonial French town in the country.
The moves come on the heels of the dismissal of Bill Bryan, the former parks director. The Republican governor's administration also closed the state's newest park, which had been named after Nixon.
An administration spokesman said the focus is now on maintaining existing parks.
The state added seven parks during Nixon's tenure, angering GOP lawmakers. Some have proposed bills that would sell some of the land acquired with funds from a pollution settlement.
Last year, the last of Nixon's administration, set a record for Missouri state park tourism (Kurt Erickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 28). — NB