Finger Lakes State Park invites public to planning meeting

Thursday, September 6, 2012 | 8:57 p.m. CDT; updated 9:40 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 6, 2012

COLUMBIA – Park officials at Finger Lakes State Park plan to introduce new improvements and take suggestions for future projects at a public meeting at 6 p.m. Friday at the Finger Lakes park office.

Friday's meeting is part of a statewide attempt to ensure that the public has input on Missouri state parks and historic sites, said Renee Bungart, communications director at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

“We hope to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy the state parks,” said Bungart.

Finger Lakes is a 1,123-acre park located north of Columbia, and features motocross, hiking and cycling trails, as well as 90 acres of water used for fishing, swimming and boating.

Debby Newby, park superintendent, said that officials will announce new changes for the park in the coming year, one of which is the relocation of the youth motocross track used by younger riders.

“We are still in the planning stages for that project,” Newby said.

The track relocation will be funded by the federal Recreational Trail Program under the U.S. Department of Transportation. Finger Lakes State Park has received several of these federal grants in past years, Newby said.

Officials also plan to use the meeting to publicize the park canoe rentals that started in June.

Water-related recreation is a big reason people come to Finger Lakes, Newby said, so adding canoe rentals seemed like “the next step for the park."

Newby will be offering demonstrations on how to paddle kayaks after the Friday meeting.

Park officials will also discuss upcoming "trail workdays" at the park, which is an ongoing volunteer program focused on improving the motocross and hiking trails at Finger Lakes. The volunteers help maintain the park by resurfacing the trails, trimming back brush and picking up trash.

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.

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