Christmas Came Early

Our Micro Lite in Campsite #7 at Trail of Tears State Park
Trail of Tears State Park

Do you ever fiddle fart? The other day I was sitting around and well, fiddle-farting – which Dan says I do particularly well. Thank you very much. I was thinking about going camping because well, we won’t be going camping again for nearly five months. But even if I can’t go camping, at least I can think about going camping. Now, for those of you who don’t quite understand the concept of “fiddle-farting”, one aspect of it includes thinking about things you won’t be doing any time soon. There’s other aspects of it, too, but I’m trying to be productive here.

Anyway, I happened to be on the Missouri State Park’s website, not that I have it bookmarked or anything, okay, I do, but hey, that’s a good thing, right? In any case, bottom line, I noticed something new. Apparently, back in October they sold some revenue bonds, and somehow those bonds are financing some upgrades to Missouri state parks. This sounds pretty exciting!

Now, there are a number of improvements to be made, including building some cabins (for all you non-RV folks), but for the purpose of this post, I am going to focus on the improvements to the campgrounds. As I’ve mentioned before, Dan and I prefer the full hookups which will be specified as “FHU” throughout the remainder of this post. Otherwise, this post will be far too long and you all are likely to quit reading and probably go camping. Now Dan and I have camped at all but one of the Missouri State Parks that offer FHU. If you don’t know what FHU is, go back and reread this paragraph. The rest of us can move on.

Mark Twain State Park
CCC Picnic Shelter – 1946

Over the next five years, because of the bond sale and spending millions of dollars, a number of campgrounds at various state parks will be upgraded to include FHU campsites. Some campgrounds with FHU will get additional FHU sites, but there are a number of parks where FHU will be newly added.

Here’s an overview:

2022 Missouri State Parks Campground Projects

  • Roaring River State Park – will convert 37 basic site to full hook up sites

2023

  • Big Lake State Park – convert 28 sites to full hook up sites
  • Lewis and Clark State Park – convert 20 sites to full hook up sites
  • Table Rock State Park – convert 22 sites to full hook up (These are additional FHU sites.)
  • Wakonda State Park – construct 10 full hook up sites (These are additional FHU sites.)
  • Watkins Mill State Park – construct new loop with 50 FHU sites.
  • Westin Bend State Park – construct second loop with 15 FHU sites

2024

  • Babler State Park – convert 35 sites to FHU sites
  • Lake of the Ozarks State Park – convert 29 sites to FHU sites
  • St. Francois State Park – create new loop with 63 FHU sites (This park is right near our dealer where we winterize and dewinterize. This will be perfect for our first and/or last trip of the camping season.)

2025

  • Long Branch State Park – convert basic sites to 17 FHU sites
  • Stockton State Park – convert basic sites to 14 FHU sites

2026

  • Cuivre River State Park – construct new loop with 30 FHU sites (These are additional FHU sites.)
  • Finger Lakes State Park – construct 20 FHU sites
  • Trail of Tears State Park – convert basic sites to 28 FHU sites (These are additional FHU sites, but guess what – these sites are not right next to the train tracks!)

Over the course of the next five years, there will be an additional 418 FHU campsites in Missouri’s State Parks. There will be eleven state parks which will have newly added FHU campsites.

Bluff on the river.
Echo Bluff State Park

According to the documents on the website, the nightly fee for these FHU sites will be $37. No surprise, that’s an increase in the fee. We’ve paid anywhere from $26 to $35 a night for FHU over the last three years when we’ve camped in our state parks. That was the fee after our $2 senior discount. The highest fee ($35) was for a weekend night at Echo Bluff State Park.

But honestly, do I care about the increase? No, I don’t. Our state parks are treasures offering a chance to enjoy nature, learn history and recreate in so many ways – walk, hike, bike ride, kayak, go in a cave, swim, fish, whatever suits your fancy – even fiddle-farting. The cost to camp in Missouri State Parks is worth it to me, but even so, I do have a few tricks to lower the cost.

There’s one other point I’d like to make. Several months back I read Missouri State Parks Conceptual Plan. Okay. I admit it. I didn’t read it word for word, just enough to get a flavor of what the future plans might include. The Conceptual plan said things like – (Disclaimer: This is my interpretation, so please do not take this literally.), anyway, it said things like we want to deliver the mission and serve those in our state by reaching our goals which we will do with the implementation of our objectives and action items. We’ll serve the residents of Missouri and the visitors to our state park system by delivering our mission with the highest efficacy and quality of productive work based on research which will include both qualitative and quantitative data gathering methods. Get the idea?

The shut ins - water running over lots of rocks.
Johnson Shut Ins State Park

After my perusal of the plan, I emailed the state parks, expressed my appreciation for the parks and all who work in the state park system. It’s always best to try to get on someone’s good side before asking for something. Next I mentioned I had reviewed the conceptual plan. That should get me some points, right? Finally, I asked what I really wanted to know – does the conceptual plan include adding any more FHU campsites to our state parks?

The response back said there was a proposal before the legislature which would allow the creation of additional FHU campsites. So, the wheels were already in motion. If you look at the “Revenue Bonds” page on the website, you’ll see “visitor demand for … campsites with increased amenities” explains the reasoning for the Revenue Bond projects. This same verbiage appears on multiple documents related to these projects.

I already love Missouri State Parks, and now I love them even more. They have listened to their constituents, and they have responded. It makes yet another case for citizens to express our opinions in a kind and respectful way.

If you would like to read more details about the coming improvements, including info about full-service cabins, you can find the info here.

What about your state parks? Do you know of any plans to increase the amenities? Do you have a favorite state park? If so, let me know in the comments below. Let’s share the wealth of knowledge. Even if it won’t be for a couple of years or so, it’s not too soon for us fiddle-farters to start thinking about it!

Thank you to Missouri State Parks for all you do and will do!

Sign which says "You are always welcome in Missouri State Parks."

22 comments

    • Yes, these are very welcome updates. Reservations can be made a year in advance at Missouri state parks now. I am not sure how the reservations will work for the new sites/cabins, but I will investigate that and post about it down the road. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh my! It has been ages since I heard that phrase “fiddle-fart’. Gave me a laugh. My favorite state park in Michigan (and you should travel to Michigan next year and enjoy some of our state parks) is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park. This is one description of the park “Miles of sand beach, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes. High dunes afford spectacular views across the lake. An island lighthouse, US Life-Saving Service stations, coastal villages, and picturesque farmsteads.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – “fiddle-fart” is an old word! My dad used to say it all the time. 🙂 I love Michigan!! My dad was from Grand Rapids, and so I have traveled there most every summer in my life. However – we usually go to the same place every year – Pentwater. I have several older posts about that. I have been to Sleeping Bear once – when I was pregnant with my daughter who is now 38. We really must go back! We also have two large, beautiful watercolor paintings of the Sleeping Bear dunes and the lake in our living room. The paintings are by “Barrie”; we bought them at an estate sale. You have sold me on returning to Sleeping Bear. I really do want to travel much more around the state, and you are fanning that fire! Thank you for your comment, and I hope you have a really good day!

      Liked by 1 person

    • June is usually really great weather-wise. Beginning of July is okay but starts to get hot. August is very hot and humid. In general, Spring and Fall are the best times to visit. You can reserve a year in advance at the state parks. We have some really great COE campgrounds, too. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad I finally met another who likes to “fiddle-fart” ! I thought I was all alone. It’s fantastic what your home state is doing in terms of its natural resources and parks. Now if ever state would do the same. Florida also has some wonderful state parks, two of our favorites are Blackwater and Silver Springs. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I bet there are lots of us fiddle-farters out there! I looked up the two Florida state parks you mentioned. Blackwater doesn’t look too far from Gulf Shores (relatively speaking), so that could be a possibility for us someday. Silver Springs could be a possibility, too. I have a brother in St. Cloud and a niece in St. Augustine. Thanks for the recommendations! We did stay at Jonathon Dickinson SP near Jupiter when we went to the St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training a couple years back. That was a fantastic state park – with lots to offer! Hope you have a great day, too!

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  3. Hawn State Park is a really nice and really popular park. I’m surprised it didn’t make the list. There’s an entire picnic area to convert to basic and the do upgrades to the sites in loop one and all sites along the creek in loop two. The ready could be electric water. Just my two cents. Also, I seem to recall taking a survey earlier this year that included questions about what amenities I would like to see added and such. It sounds like they did in fact listen to us survey takers too! Good grand State of Missouri

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I am kind of surprised, too about Hawn. It is a beautiful state park and with it being so close to St. Geneivieve (with St. Gen being a National Historic Park now), Hawn seems like it would have been good candidate. I guess there is only so much money to go around, and possibly there are other factors the state parks took into consideration. I am glad you filled out the survey and gave your feedback. I like to do that, too. Thanks for reading and your comment!

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  4. Hey diddle diddle, I suppose I am one who doesn’t quite understand the concept of fiddle-farting, though my dad would accuse me of doing it. “Son, quit fiddle-farting and do what I said”. “But dad, I’m not fiddle-farting”. “Don’t give me any lip either “. Maybe I was fiddle-farting, but I wouldn’t have know it.

    Anyway, most State park campgrounds across the country have been neglected for years. FHU sites were not thought to be necessary when most were built. There is an increase demand these days and a push for modernization. Good to see your state has a plan. I don’t think many others do.

    I know how you feel about FHU sites, but if I could somehow convince you it’s not alway needed, it would open up some really good camping and you won’t be limited. You should give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, I think most of us learned the term “fiddle fart” from our parents. As far as FHU goes, Dan would be the harder one to convince. I am okay without it for a night or two or three, but him, not so much. I did get him to agree to three nights in Custer SP, but when we switched our plans when we learned it conflicted with Sturgis. We hope to plan it another time. To be honest, I am just really happy he loves the travel trailer as much as I do!

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    • Well, some people are just not campers, and there’s nothing you can do to change them. Fortunately, Dan loves it, too! Our travel trailer has an oven, stove, micro wave, and outdoor grill. I bet you could make a great camping cookbook! People all the time are requesting ideas as they are tired of the samo, samo. I’m happy for the variety of ideas you give me. Enjoy your evening!

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  5. I must admit, this makes me want to vacation in Missouri again. A good dreaming day here as we sit inside and watch the snow fall. so far 7″ , snowing at 3″ per hour and another 12 hours to go (I’m sure it will ease up??). The weatherman’s total was a 3-5″ forecast.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is wonderful, but also sad because the basic sites seem to be disappearing. The cost of the basic has increased so much that even they are difficult for many families to pay for. I am also not a fan of booking so far out as people book when they aren’t even certain they can come yet and then end up cancelling, but the people that tried to book earlier don’t know this and lose out. They need to get back to having more first come first serve sites, too. Cabins have gotten so expensive, too. Didn’t meant this to become a rant. Just stating facts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think the parks try to keep the cost reasonable, but that is a challenge these days. For me, I don’t think more first come, first served sites would work. I wouldn’t want to pack up and drive there (the cost of gas) and then find no spots available. I agree that when folks don’t show up, it is aggravating to see empty spots when you know some people couldn’t get a reservation. I think Michigan gives you 24 hours and if you don’t show, the spot opens up. As you know, camping spots are in high demand these days. I know I have repeatedly checked for cancellations at times. Sometimes folks announce on Facebook when they are going to cancel, and I think that is really nice. I am a very frugal person, but I do think our state parks are a great value. It also can be a more affordable way for families to take a trip – as opposed to a motel, eating out, etc. Last time we visited a state park, a park ranger mentioned that the demand has flipped. It used to be basic sites were filled, and the sites with more amenities had more vacancies. But now it is the reverse. I appreciate your comment, and your resolve that camping should be affordable for families.

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