Upcoming Missouri State Parks events, public information meetings

An angler tries his luck in the headwaters of the Current River near Montauk State Park.

Missouri State Parks are holding many events and public information meetings, where residents can enjoy an evening stroll or comment on state park sites. 

Here’s a rundown of upcoming events and meetings. 

Bennett Spring State Park

Bennett Spring State Park is continuing Bennett Traditions, an educational and quilting series, July through October. Interpretive staff at Bennett Spring State Park will hold a Bennett Traditions program about bears and quilting at 11 a.m. Thursday. The program will include information about bears, instruction on a paw print quilt block design and a demonstration of how to set quilt blocks together and prepare for quilting. In commemoration of the Missouri bicentennial, Bennett Spring State Park is hosting the monthly series, Bennett Traditions. Each program includes a 20-minute presentation about a natural or historic topic that pertains to the area. The presentation is followed by a 20-minute lesson from Karen Jaegers about quilting that relates back to the presentation topic. The event concludes with a short question-and-answer session led by June Buckles of Buckles, Bobbins and Bolts Quilt Shop. 

Upcoming presentation topics, quilt block designs and quilting techniques include:

• Thursday, Aug. 26 – Snakes, snake block, batting choices and the process

• Thursday, Sept. 23 – Birds, flying geese block, choosing techniques (primitive vs. machine).

• Thursday, Oct. 28 – Trees, maple leaf block, binding techniques

Registration is required and limited to 10 people. Each program will be recorded and posted online at a future date. To register or for more information, contact the Bennett Spring Nature Center at 417-532-3925. Bennett Spring State Park is located at 26250 Highway 64A in Lebanon. For more information about the event, call the nature center at 417-532-3925 or fish hatchery staff at 417-532-4418.

Prairie State Park

Prairie State Park is inviting the public to an evening stroll Saturday. Individuals will experience the prairie at nightfall with a stroll at 8 p.m. Participants will encounter natural wonders as the sun goes down and the day fades into night. Some plants only flower at night and many animals are more active as the temperature cools down. The 1-mile-long hike will be across the prairie.

Participants should meet at the Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center, bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes and long pants. The use of insect repellent is recommended. Pets are not permitted on the trails. Prairie State Park is located at 128 NW 150th Lane, in Mindenmines. To register and get additional information about this event, please contact Prairie State Park at 417-843-6711.  

Current River State Park

Interpretive staff at Current River State Park invites the public to a blackberry feast at the Blackberry Bramblers workshop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday or Monday, July 26. Park staff will make a wide range of wild blackberry treats for participants to sample and learn how to make including blackberry jelly, blackberry kefir ice cream, blackberry cobbler and more. All blackberries will be provided. For those who would like to take jelly home, please bring a small jar to the workshop. This is an informative and hands-on class. Participants should bring their own lunch. Space is limited and registration is required. Those interested in attending, should call Connie at 573-751-1224 or email connie.weber@dnr.mo.gov to register. Current River State Park is located at 11053 CR 19D, Salem, in southeast Missouri. For more information about the park, call 573-751-6414.

Katy Trail State Park

Katy Trail State Park Midwest section will host a public information meeting July 31. Representatives from Missouri State Parks will hold the meeting at 11:30 a.m. at the North Jefferson Trailhead Shelter, near Jefferson City, going toward Holts Summit. The public is invited to share comments and ask questions about the site and its operations. Representatives from the site will be present to provide information and to answer questions. The North Jefferson Trailhead is located at the end of Katy Road, Holts Summit. For more information about the meeting, call 573-449-7402.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

The Ha Ha Tonka State Park will host an outdoor games and activities event July 31. Ha Ha Tonka State Park staff are encouraging residents to “get out and play” at the visitor center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in more than 10 outdoor games and activities, including horseshoes, washer toss, cornhole, ladder ball, disc golf and more. To get to the visitor center from Highway 54, turn onto State Road D and continue for approximately 1.5 miles. The visitor center will be on the right at 1491 State Road D, Camdenton.

Echo Bluff State Park

Crystal clear Sinking Creek at Echo Bluff State Park eventually flows into the Current River.

Echo Bluff State Park will host a public information meeting July 31. The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. at the amphitheater. The public is invited to share comments and ask questions about the site and its operations. Representatives from the site will be present to provide information and to answer questions. Echo Bluff State Park is located at 34489 Echo Bluff Drive, Eminence, in southeast Missouri. For more information, please contact Echo Bluff State Park at 573-751-5211.

Cuivre River State Park

Cuivre River State Park will celebrate nocturnal pollinators at a Moth Night event July 31. Cuivre River State Park staff invite the public to attend the celebration of its nocturnal pollinators from 8:30-10 p.m.  The event will be held in the equestrian day-use area of the park. After a short program about different species of moths found in Missouri, park staff will set up black lights and an ultra-bright mercury vapor light to attract moths and other nocturnal insects. Fascinating insects have shown up to the light in the past, including water beetles, treehoppers, long-horned beetles and even butterflies.

The insects will be counted and added to the official park record and will be submitted as part of a statewide effort to record species in Missouri State Parks. A new species for the park is found almost every time a survey is completed. This event is free and open to the public. Participants should bring chairs, flashlights, cameras, and a keen sense of awe and wonder. Cuivre River State Park is located at 678 State Route 147, Troy, north of Interstate 70. For information about the event, call the park office at 636-528-7247.

The public is strongly encouraged to follow social-distancing guidelines and be proactive in protecting themselves and others at the upcoming events and public meetings. The North Jefferson Trailhead is located at the end of Katy Road, Holts Summit. For more information about the meeting, call 573-449-7402.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com.