|Vol. V, No. 3, Winter 1992|
The following is a summary of information supplied by the United States Forest Service; Division of State Parks, the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; the Missouri Department of Conservation; the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; the National Park Service; the United States Army Corps of Engineers; and the Division of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The National Forests generate revenue from minerals, timber, and recreational use. Twenty-five percent is returned to the counties in which the Forests are located for public school and public road use. Additional moneys go to the counties as payment in lieu of taxes (PILT). In 1933 the State of Missouri authorized the Forest Service to begin buying land for the first time, much of it wasteland overused by long-gone loggers and dirt-poor farmers.
Those purchases founded the Clark and Mark Twain National Forests (since combined into one, the present Mark Twain National Forest). All but 15,000 of the 1.5 million acres of the Mark Twain are located in the Ozarks.
In FY87, payments to the 29 Missouri counties in which Forest lands are located totaled $2,928,803 (25 percent of total revenue plus PILT). FY88 Mark Twain Forest expenditures were $11.8 million, while income was $8.5 million. Permanent employees number 226, with 132 more employed under the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The 284 Forest volunteers contributed services estimated to be worth $36,512 in 1988.
The Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, established in 1908 by Presidential Proclamation, covers 1.1 million acres in 18 counties. FY88 expenditures totaled over $12 million, while revenue was $4.4 million. Personnel included some 280 permanent and 50 seasonal employees.
The Jacks Fork and the Current Rivers in Missouri, together with an enclosing land corridor, constitute the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Authorized by Congress on August 27, 1964, it was the first wild and scenic rivers National Park. It includes 80,788 acres of land (61,374 of them federally owned) and 134 miles of managed river. Budgets for each of the last two fiscal years have been more than $2.8 million, of which some 82 percent went to the 72 permanent and approximately 70 seasonal employees. In the 25 years of its existence, the Riverways has become increasingly a recreational park. Headquarters is at Van Buren, Carter County, Missouri.
The Buffalo National River in Arkansas was designated by Congress in 1972 to encompass some 95,000 acres with 132 miles of managed river. Budgets were $1.6 million in FY88 and $1.7 million in FY89. Buffalo has 43 permanent and 30 seasonal employees. Headquarters is at Harrison, Boone County, Arkansas.
Two National Battlefields commemorate Civil War sites: Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (1960) and Pea Ridge National Military Park (1956). The 1749 acre Wilson's Creek Battlefield, located near Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, had an FY88 budget of $462,300, with fourteen permanent and nine seasonal employees. Pea Ridge Park, near Rogers in Benton County, Arkansas, has 4300 acres and, in FY88, a budget of $321,400. Eleven permanent employees staff the park. Both Wilson's Creek and Pea Ridge operations are assisted by many volunteers.
The George Washington Carver National Monument is at the site of the birth place and boyhood home of the famous educator, botanist, and agronomist. It is located south of Joplin, in Newton County, Missouri. The budget for the 210 acre Monument was almost $500,000 in both FY88 and FY89. Twelve permanent and eight seasonal employees operate and maintain the facility.
Today the Department manages some 333 different Ozarks sites varying in size from a one-acre river access to a 13,000 acre state forest. Management units include forestry, fisheries, wildlife protection, natural history, planning, public affairs, and conservation education. The principal sources of income for the Department of Conservation are receipts from the sale of hunting and fishing permits and, since 1977, a one-eighth of one percent sales tax (not to be confused with the Parks and Soil and Water Conservation tax).
The Corps has created more than 3000 miles of lake shore line in the Ozarks in 14 projects. The
shoreline easement maintained by the Corps constitutes a unique kind of a lakeshore preserve at
all its reservoirs. Construction of Corps projects in the Ozarks prompted the creation of many
new state land preserves around the lakes to support and enhance scenic, wildlife, and recreation
values. Estimated cost of Corps projects in the Ozarks by 1984 totaled more than $991 million;
the estimated value of prevented flood damage was $285 million. Twenty-six Ozarks counties in
Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma have Corps reservoirs within their boundaries covering in
excess of 321,650 acres of water at full conservation pool.
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