162 Acres Along Mississippi River Protected (MO)

St. Louis County, MO 11/25/03 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced the protection of 162 acres of land adjacent to the 4,300 acre Columbia Bottom Conservation Area at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The property will be protected for public use through a combination of public ownership and conservation easements as part of the Great River Greenway (GRG) park district.

TPL acquired the property and easement and conveyed them both to GRG for stewardship. TPL and GRG have protected almost 300 acres between the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Columbia Bottom Conservation Area and the historic Old Chain of Rocks Bridge that spans the Mississippi. And including land on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, TPL has now helped protect almost 2,300 acres in the area of the river’s confluence with the Missouri River.

“Two hundred years after Lewis and Clark ventured into the great American wilderness, we are making efforts to provide more public access to the area from which they embarked on their epic journey,” notes Larry Levin, Director of the St. Louis Office of the Trust for Public Land. “The partnerships for conservation that have emerged in the past few years in the St. Louis region are creating some wonderful conservation success stories. The protection of this property is only a small part of a much larger whole.”

The acquisition lies within the Confluence Greenway, a 40-mile series of bi-state greenways, trails and cultural attractions that highlight the Mississippi River’s confluence with both the Missouri and Illinois Rivers. The Confluence Greenway team of five nonprofits has worked closely with regional park districts in both Missouri and Illinois to focus national attention on the historic, cultural and natural importance of the area and the rivers.

TPL acquired 135 acres and conveyed ownership to the Great River Greenway. An additional 27 acres will be protected through a conservation easement, allowing the current owner to maintain title to the property while agreeing to specific conservation restrictions that will protect the upland and bluff property adjacent to the 135 acres. The 27 acres of farmland and residence have also been approved for inclusion in a federal farmland program that allows farmers to remain on and farm their property while receiving value for a portion of the value of their property.

The project represents the second collaboration between TPL and GRG in this area. In 2002, TPL acquired and conveyed to GRG 120 acres of nearby bluff land for greenways and trails and as a possible future home of a center celebrating the importance of the rivers’ confluence to the region.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Nationally, TPL has protected over 1.3 million acres of land valued at $2.39 billion. TPL is an active partner in the Confluence Greenway collaboration, which also includes Trailnet, Greenway Network, Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation Development, Inc, and Grace Hill Neighborhood Services. In 2001, TPL acquired for the Illinois Department of Natural Resource 2000 acres of the Chouteau island complex including Mosenthien Island. With offices in St. Louis and Chicago, TPL works throughout the St. Louis metropolitan region, Missouri and Illinois. This past year, TPL teamed up with the Illinois Association of Park Districts to produce Illinois Land At Risk: A Statewide Assessment of Public Park and Green Space Needs. For more information, visit the website at www.tpl.org