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St. Joe, Johnson’s Shut-Ins get large grants for trail projects

St. Joe and Johnson’s Shut-Ins state parks, Ozark Trail Association and Missouri Dirt Riders, Inc., are among 10 recipients in southeast Missouri to receive trail funding through the federal Recreational Trails Program.

Early this week, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the region will receive more than $600,000 for recreational trail projects. The projects are among 32 Recreational Trails Program grant recipients across the state. The projects were recommended by the Missouri Trails Advisory Board, which represents diverse trail interest groups.

In the nonmotorized trail project category, Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park received $87,588 for an accessible trail to the park store. The Ozark Trail Association (statewide) received $26,840 for Ozark Trail Educational Maps.

 Several motorized trail projects will receive funding. Midwest Trail Riders Association will receive $26,917 for the Viburnum Trend Riding Area trail renovations in Iron County, $50,279 for the Monsanto Ridge Trail 110 renovation in St. Francois County, and $66,290 for Off-road Vehicle Trailhead restroom replacement in St. Francois County.

St. Joe State Park will receive $97,344 for the Off-Road Vehicle Staging Area flush toilets, $29,000 for the Off-Road Vehicle Staging Area flush toilets Phase Two, $19,500 for Off-Road Vehicle education and $157,400 for Off-Road Vehicle storage/trail equipment.

Friends of St. Joe State Park will receive $42,690 for the St. Joe Trail Maintenance, Signage and Restoration Project.

The grants were awarded based on the results of a competitive scoring process and each application’s suitability under funding provisions included in Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). At least a 20 percent match is required by the applicant. A funding requirement targets 30 percent of the funding for motorized trails, 30 percent for non-motorized trails and 40 percent for diversified trail use.

“All across Missouri, trails not only provide recreational and educational opportunities, they also are major outdoor attractions that strengthen communities and enhance the local economy,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. “These grants, and the trails they will help build, represent solid partnerships between the state and the community organizations to benefit better physical and emotional health, smarter minds and stronger economies.”

The federally funded Recreational Trails Program was designed for trail-related land acquisition, development or restoration. In Missouri, the funds are administered by the DNR in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration.

“Many of these trails provide a way to explore scenic parts of Missouri as well as provide opportunities for healthy recreation, which supports Governor Nixon’s initiative to Get Outdoors,” said Bill Bryan, director of the department’s Division of State Parks. “…We are proud to be a part of this effort.”

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