Missouri State Parks held an open house at Roaring River State Park on June 6. Park officials offered information on Roaring River and Big Sugar Creek State Park.
Dusty Reid, park superintendent, welcomed those in attendance. Reid provided a background on the purpose and goals of public meetings held at the park.
Reid spoke about the partnership among Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Conservation and MOPARKS Inc., which provides concessions at Roaring River. The agencies work together to manage operations and services at Roaring River.
Tim Smith, interpretive resource coordinator and park naturalist, offered information on glade restoration, prescribed burn efforts and other stewardship activities that take place at the state parks throughout the year.
The Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center, which is located in Roaring River State Park, now offers a new energy conservation display and the Be Bear Aware interpretive program.
Smith offered information on interpretive programs, special events and seasonal naturalist training conducted at Roaring River and Big Sugar Creek. He also spoke about amphitheater renovations at Roaring River and the educational PEEP program, which nature center staff members assist with each year.
Sgt. Gabe DuMond offered information on the Ranger program. Park rangers focus on enforcing the state law and park rules, said DuMond. Rangers also assist local conservation officials when needed.
DuMond offered information on the bicycle program and the Park Watch program. The bicycle program is an outreach tool that makes rangers more accessible to the public. Park Watch is similar to a Neighbood Watch Program, which encourages park visitors to report suspicious behaviors or activities to a park ranger, park staff or local law enforcement.
Reid provided attendees with information on projects that were recently completed in the park, including: the new retaining wall that was built in front of cabins #4 through #9; the drinking water system upgrade; the energy efficiency project, which included renovations at campground bathhouses; and work completed by the State Park Youth Corps.
Reid also spoke about new wi-fi services offered in the park and the Cabins for Canines Program, which has made nine cabins in the park pet friendly.
Attendees had the opportunity to watch the video "Roaring River State Park: A Year of Transformation," which was produced by Kerry Hays, assistant park superintendent. The video detailed accomplishments made at the park over the last year.
Paul Spurgeon, hatchery manager, reported that 255,000 fish were raised in the park during the last year. Spurgeon also stated that the cost of fish feed has nearly doubled, which could eventually affect the size of fish produced at Roaring River. The hatchery staff will continue to strive to offer fish that average 12 and a half inches in length.
Improvements completed at the hatchery over the last year include the installation of a water quality alarm system, the construction of a picnic area behind the new hatchery feed storage building and the installation of a new hatchery sign.
In the future, the Missouri Department of Conservation plans to make upgrades in the nursery building and install new recirculating pumps at the hatchery.
Spurgeon also offered information on Kids' Fishing Day, which is held at the park twice a year in May and August. Spurgeon said Roaring River's kids' day is one of the most successful youth events in the state.
Rick Horton, Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologist, offered information on the flooding that occurred in the park in May of 2011. Over the last year, MDC has worked to repair the majority of the damages in the park. Horton shared photos of the flooding damage and repairs that occurred in the park.
Horton pointed out that over 600 trees were planted along the banks of the stream to replace trees lost in the floods. He provided information on additional repairs that will be completed in zone two and the area near the old dam.
A fishing wader cleaning station has been installed in Roaring River State Park. Horton shared photos of the station and offered information on the importance of cleaning waders and gear to avoid the spread of invasive species.
After the presentation, staff members answered questions and heard comments from the audience.