JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 18, 2018 – Pat Jones once said, "People need a place where they can be, where they're not fenced in; you can take a walk, you can run, you can jump, you can get dirty, and you can investigate whatever it is you're interested in."
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation celebrate the life of Pat Jones, who passed away yesterday. She was an enormous supporter of state parks and conservation.
Pat and her husband, Edward "Ted," were key supporters of the Katy Trail.
"Without them, Katy Trail State Park would not have been possible," said Governor Mike Parson. "Their initial donation of $2.2 million made it feasible for Missouri State Parks to acquire the MKT Railroad corridor and develop it into what Missouri now knows and loves – Katy Trail State Park."
Pat and Ted were both nature and park enthusiasts and wanted to share what Missouri had to offer to all of its citizens. "If you care about something a great deal, give it away to someone else that cares about it, too. Then it can go on forever," she said.
Pat believed in Missouri State Parks. She was a regular visitor for the annual Katy Trail Ride and participated in the Tram Tours on the Katy Trail, including this year’s tour in October. She also actively supported other state parks and conservation programs and their initiatives. Missouri State Parks named Edward "Ted" and Pat Jones Confluence Point State Park in honor of all their contributions to state parks. The Pat Jones Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge across the Missouri River in Jefferson City and the picnic shelter at the North Jefferson Trailhead are also named to honor Pat Jones.
"The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will miss Pat and all her love for state parks and nature," said Department Director Carol Comer. "Through her legacy, all Missourians and our guests can enjoy the very best of Missouri. Pat, you will be dearly missed."
Pat and Ted also donated land to the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1997 to form Prairie Fork Conservation Area and create a partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation, the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation for ongoing natural resource education, natural community restoration, and environmental research. The 900-acre conservation area provides educational opportunities for school-aged kids and research on soil, water, and wildlife. Prairie restoration is an ongoing activity in the area, including restoring about 30 to 40 acres each year. In addition, the Missouri Conservation Commission awarded Pat the Master Conservationist Award, the highest honor bestowed upon citizens of the state who have accomplished exemplary conservation work, in 2006.
"Pat loved to see all the kids and activities at Prairie Fork, which she got to see every day out her back door, because she witnessed the next generation getting excited about exploring the land just like she did as a kid," said Sara Parker Pauley, director of Missouri Department of Conservation. "She always greeted the kids with a loud ‘Learn, Get Dirty, and Have Fun’ which is engraved on the wall at Prairie Fork in honor of her incredible conservation legacy."
"Learn, get dirty, and have fun" was Pat’s ongoing motto throughout her life. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation will continue to take this to heart and are grateful for all Pat and Ted have done for Missourians.