Thursday, September 1, 2011

Big Oak Tree State Park and Towosahgy State Historic Site to re-open

EAST PRAIRIE, MO (KRCU) - Big Oak Tree State Park and Towosahgy State Historic Site will both re-open this weekend.

Both areas are located near East Prairie. They were closed following the Birds Point levee breach and inundated by 12 to 16 feet of water and sand.

Starting this weekend, visitors will be able to access Big Oak Tree State Park’s main day-use area and hike on the boardwalk.

Bill Bryan is the director of Missouri State Parks. He says most of the park is in good condition, but he has concerns about sections of the park that are off the beaten path.

"There’s about 100 acres in the park that has a significant amount of sand and sediment on it that washed in with the floodwaters that really threaten the really large, mature, spectacular pecan and oak trees," Bryan says.

The 100 acres in question equate to about 10% of the park.

Bryan says the visitor’s center will have to be demolished. FEMA will help cover the costs for a significant amount of the park’s damages.

Towosahgy State Historic Site is a Mississippian culture village site near East Prairie. State Parks Director Bill Bryan says there is evidence that over 250 people inhabited Towosahgy more than one thousand years ago.

"That site weathered the flood pretty well," Bryan said. "We didn’t have any damage to the cultural site itself. We did lose some of our interpretive panels and our interpretive kiosk and restroom facility. So we’re going to have to do some rebuilding there. But the good news is the historic and cultural assets are intact."

Big Oak Tree State Park is re-opening in time for its annual “Living History Day” on September 10.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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