MSP designates new wild area in SWMO

The 1,168-acre Elk River Hills Wild Area in Big Sugar Creek State Park in McDonald County is the Missouri State Park system’s 12th wild area and the first wild area designated since 1995.

“The Elk River Hills Wild Area possesses primeval character in its wilderness condition and inherent integrity,” said Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “This designation will protect the quality and natural heritage of this extraordinary landscape.”

State park wild areas are tracts of land 1,000 acres or more in size that are preserved for their wild qualities, natural conditions, opportunities for solitude and the unconfined recreation they offer. Modeled after the federal 1964 Wilderness Act, Missouri State Parks Wild Area Program was developed in 1977 to preserve state park tracts meeting qualifying criteria.elk-hills-wild-area4

“Big Sugar Creek State Park has long been heralded as a gem in the crown of state parks for its biological diversity and pristine landscape,” said Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director. “It is very appropriate that we designate our 12th wild area in this outstanding park.”

The entire wild area is located within the 1,613-acre Elk River Breaks Woodland Natural Area, designated in 2000 by the Missouri Natural Areas Committee as the best remaining representative of a high quality example of the Elk River landscape.

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Big Sugar Creek State Park is a day-use park that contains the 4.4-mile natural tread Ozark Chinquapin Trail, which provides access to the wild area.

The park is located on Big Sugar Creek Road near Pineville. For more information about the park, contact Roaring River State Park at (417) 847-2539.

Missouri State Parks is supported by the one-tenth of one-percent Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of the budget to repair, improve and maintain state parks and historic sites.

Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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