EAST PRAIRIE - The boardwalk trail at Big Oak Tree State Park near East Prairie is closed temporarily for reconstruction.
According to information provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the current boardwalk will be removed and will be replaced with a wider and more sturdy steel boardwalk to be constructed in sections. The new boardwalk will follow the same path as the old one, resulting in little or no disturbance to the natural setting of the park.
Jennifer Alexander of the Department of Natural Resources in Jefferson City said work will be suspended for a short time beginning next May, which is when the department plans to open the completed section to the public. "The boardwalk will close again in August as construction begins again on the remaining section," she said.
Cost of the project is approximately $200,000 and the entire boardwalk, which will be about 3,000 feet long, is expected to be completed in 2006. Alexander said the project is being funded by the one-tenth of 1 percent parks and soils sales tax. "The park's picnic area and small lake will remain available during the construction of the new boardwalk."
Located 14 miles south of East Prairie on Highway 102 in Mississippi County, the park traverses through large trees, including state champion and bald cypress trees and above the swampy land where they thrive. "The boardwalk provides easy access for visitors to view the park's unique landscape," Alexander noted, adding that the 1,069-acre park is considered a National Natural Landmark.