Trail of Tears State Park a local gem worth visiting

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Trail of Tears is one of Southeast Missouri's special gems. Visiting Lake Boutin can be a nice way to spend a summer day, and in the fall the colorful leaves are fantastic.

The state park recently held its annual information meeting. Projects for the park were discussed, including a new restroom, electrical and sewer lines, parking lot and maintenance items such as fixing campfire grills and lantern posts.

Park attendance in 2013 was 160,262. This was up 3 percent from the previous year. However, the number of visitors and revenue thus far for 2014 indicate a slight dip. Through June, attendance was 68,560. At the same point in 2013, 70,581 people were counted. Revenue so far for 2014 is down $1,176. Park rangers suggest the weather may have been part of the reason.

The drop in attendance is not significant, but we hope more local residents, along with visitors, keep the park in mind.

The visitors center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday from May through September. The park grounds are open throughout the year, and the overlook can be visited between 7 a.m. and dusk daily. The beach is open from sunrise to sunset May 9 through Sept. 14.

To read more about the park, visit mostateparks.com/park/trail-tears-state-park.

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