Senator David Pearce’s Capitol Report for the Week of June 6

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Supporting Our District’s Parks

In his famous nature book “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau claims that “heaven is under our feet as well as above our heads.” Thoreau meant there is something inherently beautiful and valuable that exists in the natural world, and the connection between humans and nature is a comforting, nurturing relationship. It is for this reason that our local, state and national parks systems play an important role for the health and wealth of the communities they serve. By preserving and protecting natural areas around the state and across the country, we give ourselves the opportunity to share in that relationship with nature.

Missourians are blessed to live in one of the most environmentally rich states in the nation. Our home boasts beautiful lakes, rivers and waterways, the rolling hills and forests in the Ozarks and the expansive beginning of the great prairies of the west. The 21st District especially holds a great mix of hiking, biking and running areas through some of the prettiest scenery in the state. From biking the Katy Trail near historic Rocheport, horseback riding in Knob Noster State Park and fishing in the Missouri River, our district has a lot to offer.

I am pleased that three projects in the 21st District are slated to receive funding for Fiscal Year 2017, starting this July. Rock Island Trail State Park, a new 47-mile Rails-to-Trails project, will receive $4.6 million for its construction. It runs from Pleasant Hill to Windsor and will include stops in Chilhowee and Leeton. The trail spans sections of the old Rock Island Line, and will wind its visitors through farmland, woodland and wildlife across the 21st District. This portion of the trail should be complete by the end of 2016.

Also set for state funding is a project in the Little Otter Creek watershed in Caldwell County, which will receive $2 million for the completion of a 362-acre lake as well as environmental mitigation efforts in the area. The new project will not only offer flood control and a more dependable water supply in the region, it will also offer visitors new opportunities for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.

A third project provides for architectural drawings of a bicycle and pedestrian friendly bridge in Knob Noster State Park on the Spirit Trail. This trail will connect Warrensburg and Whiteman Air Force Base. These appropriations, which are contained within House bills 2017 and 2018, are currently awaiting the governor’s signature.

The state is dedicated to maintaining and improving our many natural areas. I’m happy that the 21st District especially will be seeing some great improvements in the coming year, and urge all of my fellow residents to get out there and explore this summer.

As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or
(573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.

Senator David Pearce serves Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline counties in the 21st State Senatorial District.