SHOW ME THE RECORDS: Status of beaches from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Monday, July 16, 2012 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.

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The records: A weekly updated map of the current status of beaches at Missouri's state parks, provided by the Department of Natural Resources.

Why you'd want them: The interactive map allows users to see, at a glance, whether a state park's beaches are open or closed. If the beach is closed, the map shows the reason for the closure. Records are updated every week by 1 p.m. Friday, just in time for that weekend trip out on the water.

The map allows users to zoom in on individual parks so they can see if all beaches are closed at parks that feature multiple water entry points. In addition, a list of all 17 of Missouri's public beaches includes detailed readings of contaminants and when each sample was taken.

Where you get the records: Go to The link takes you directly to a Google map of the state with red and green flag icons showing which beaches are open and which are closed. Click on an icon for details on that beach, or click the "Text View" tab at the top of the box to sort list entries by sample date and level of contamination.

Beach season generally runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year.

How much it will cost: These records are free.

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