Ozark Trail Association builds trails in Missouri

Ozark Trail Route
According to a recent article in the Springfield News-Leader, the Ozark Trail Association is making real headway in extending the network of trails in Missouri. Most of these trails are open to mountain bikers, though a few are for hiking only.

About the Ozark Trail Association:
Mission: "To develop, maintain, preserve, promote and protect the rugged, natural beauty of the Ozark Trail," says the group's Web site. Leading southwestward from Castlewood State Park in metropolitan St. Louis, the Ozark Trail offers 200 miles of continuous pathways and runs more than 350 miles in total in Missouri; eventually hikers and cyclists meet with Arkansas west of Thayer.

About: Three decades ago it was a broad but simple vision: Build more trails in Missouri. A coalition came together, including the U.S. Forest Service, the state Department of Natural Resources, private landowners and environmental groups. They agreed there were few trails in the Show-Me State and organized as the Ozark Trail Council. The goal has been tweaked some over the decades and work remains, but a long-distance trail system running near scenic streams and through glades and hardwood forests of Missouri is close to reality.