News Release 172

Missouri State Parks receives national planning award

Volume 39-172 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MAY 31, 2011 – Every year, millions of visitors enjoy Missouri state park and historic sites without being aware of the planning involved in bringing them the opportunity. The National Association of Recreation Resource Planners has recognized The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Division of State Parks for its planning efforts, and has awarded Missouri State Parks an Excellence in Planning Award. The award recognizes the state park system’s planning effort in rebuilding Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park after it was heavily damaged by a reservoir breach.

The NARRP is comprised of outdoor recreation professionals and others interested in recreation resource planning with a mission to advance the recreation resource planning profession. The Excellence in Planning Award is presented annually for professional achievement in the field of parks and recreation planning contribution with a determining factor being the degree of sustained proficiency or excellence of a single achievement or contribution.

According to Rick Just, NARRP president, the award recognizes that Missouri continued to follow its well-tested planning process of involving the public on rebuilding decisions for Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park despite a high level of interest and pressure to reopen quickly following the flood. "Public involvement is the key to outdoor recreation resource planning. At Johnson's Shut-Ins, Missouri showed that doesn’t have to change, even in the face of catastrophe," Just said.

"The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is honored to receive the Excellence in Planning Award," said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Department of Natural Resources. "Our outstanding parks and historic sites belong to the people of Missouri and its visitors and that’s why we feel it is imperative we continue to involve them throughout our planning processes."

"We believe involving the public is an important component in everything we do for the state park system. We’re proud of what we rebuilt at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park and we know from the public’s positive response that they are pleased with it also," said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. Bryan accepted the award May 24 at the NARRP annual conference in Breckenridge, Colo.

Following the reservoir breach in December 2005 that heavily damaged or destroyed the park's major use area, the state park system's planning began with staff in various fields of expertise, including planners, park managers, biologists, archaeologists and historians as well as professionals outside of the state parks. The process involved a series of public meetings, open houses and surveys to first seek input and then show the public what was being proposed for redevelopment. Development of the plan took into consideration state park mission, resource stewardship, interpretation and visitor services and expectations. Sections of the park were reopened temporarily as work progressed with the final official opening of the entire park in May 2010.

For more information on Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park and all of Missouri's state parks and historic sites, visit