Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that the main day-use areas of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park will open to visitors this weekend for the first time in more than three years. Johnson's Shut-Ins has been closed for massive reconstruction and restoration since more than 1 billion gallons of water swept through the park following the collapse of the Taum Sauk reservoir in December 2005.
"Our top-notch system of state parks highlights Missouri's natural wonders, and Johnson's Shut-Ins is a terrific example of a park that gives Missourians access to recreation in a beautiful setting," said Gov. Nixon. "I'm proud that, starting tomorrow, our citizens will again get to visit, hike and swim in portions of the park."
"Saturday's opening is an important first step in getting Johnson's Shut-Ins back to being a great park experience for visitors, and I will continue to work with the Department of Natural Resources and do all I can to get the entire park open as quickly as possible," Gov. Nixon said.
Beginning Saturday, Missourians will be able to visit the shut-ins, picnic areas, the park store and many of the pedestrian trails and interpretive pavilions. A new orientation center and campgrounds will open at the park later this year. The park will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with the park store open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.
The redevelopment of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is funded through a settlement with Ameren. Ameren owns and operates the Taum Sauk reservoir, the failure of which led to the release of 1.3 billion gallons of water and the subsequent major damage to the park. Of the $180 million settlement, $52 million is allocated to the execution of the park's master redevelopment plan, which was created with public review and is ongoing even as portions of the park reopen.
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is historically one of Missouri's most popular, with almost 250,000 people visiting the park each year up until the time of its closure on Dec. 14, 2005.