With my report deadline being 2 p.m on Thursday (today), and with all that is going on here at the Capitol as we approach the last day, I will be reporting on all of it, including my thoughts about it, in the next week or two.

I have had several people reach out to me about trail closures at Cuivre River State Park. I contacted the appropriate people who oversee the policy regarding trail use, and was given the following answer. This policy is in place to preserve the trails against damage in and after inclement weather situations, and promote safety. I have attached the policy for your convenience.

Division of State Parks

Policy Manual Section:

PU. Public-Use Facilities – Policy: PU12 Trail Closures

 

Policy Statement

This policy will provide a coordinated and consistent practice for closing trails when warranted to protect the resources and trail users. Proper notification to the public is an important part of the closure process.

General Provisions

Trails can be closed for two reasons: to protect visitors from unsafe conditions, situations or circumstances; or to protect the recreation resource by reducing usage when potential damage can be anticipated.

Trails shall be closed at the discretion of the facility manager based on the criteria set forth in this policy. Once a trail closure is deemed necessary, facility staff is responsible for posting said closure as detailed in the Trail Closure Procedures. This must occur no later than 10 a.m. or

within two hours of the determination. Public notification must be made through specified signage at trailheads and an advisory posting on the Missouri State Parks website. Additional optional notification may be made through a posting on the facility’s Facebook page and through the voice message on the facility phone line, if available.

Closure information must include the reason for the closure, the anticipated reopening date and the type of use allowed or prohibited. Circumstances can require complete use closure of a trail or closure only to certain uses. When conditions require complete use closure, the “Trail Closed” sign will be used to indicate the trail cannot be used in any way. When conditions require limited use access, the “Hiking Only” sign will be used to indicate the allowed type of use.

Facilities with multi-use trails should ensure they have on hand sufficient quantities of both sign types to cover all potential trailheads.

Once the anticipated re-opening date arrives or conditions allow for reopening, proper reverse notification must be made to ensure removal of closure signage and notices. This process is detailed in the Trail Reopening Procedures included with this policy.

 

Trail Closure Criteria

Following is the criteria that must be met before a trail can be closed. All closures must fall under one of these criteria. The specific criteria title should be noted at the time of decision as it will be needed during the closure process.

Inclement Weather (not applicable to hikers)

Typically enacted due to heavy rainfall, this type of closure calls for the trail to be closed a length of 24 hours for every inch of rainfall. This may vary depending on pre-existing weather conditions, such as drought, soil conditions, rainy season, freeze/thaw cycle, etc.

This type of closure can be made for up to 30 days at a time. Reassessment of conditions is required before a closure can be extended past 30 days.

Operational Closures

An operational closure may include use of a trail for an event or temporary closure for natural

resource protection.

Construction/Maintenance

This type of closure may include trail repair, off-season maintenance or nearby projects that affect trail access.

Safety Hazards

The specific safety hazards included are: falling trees/limbs; downed trees/limbs; unstable trail surface; trail washed out; flooding; and slippery conditions.

Managed Hunts

Notification of this type of closure should be submitted in advance of the anticipated closure to allow for adequate advance public notice via the website. Facility staff must still follow regular trail closure procedures for this type of closure.

Prescribed Burns

When possible, notification of this type of closure should be submitted in advance to allow for adequate advance public notice via the website. Due to weather variations affecting burn conditions, same-day closure notice may be necessary.

 

Trail Closure Procedures

Once it is determined a trail should be closed, public notification must be made as listed below no later than 10 a.m. or within two hours.

1. Website

An e-mail should be sent to the DNR.DSP Closing Notification e-mail group. The e-mail must include the trail name, reason for closure (using the criteria title) and expected duration of closure. Posting will be made to the website based on this information.

Examples:

Thompson River Trail is closed to all users due to inclement weather through April 30.

Thompson River Trail is open only to hikers due to inclement weather through April 30.

2. Trailhead

Facility staff must add the appropriate closure sign to all applicable trailheads.

If the closure applies to all allowed use types, the “Trail Closed” sign should be added to the trailhead sign(s). The reopening date and reason for closure (using the criteria title) should be posted in the provided spaces on the sign, following the instructions provided with the sign.

If the closure does not apply to all allowed use types, the “Hiking Only” sign should be added to the trailhead sign(s). This sign will show the allowed use of hiking, along with the reopening date and reason for closure (using the criteria title and sign instructions provided).

3. Telephone

Facility staff has the option of posting the trail closure on the facility answering machine, if available. Following is wording for that message.

If complete closure:

Due to (use the appropriate criteria title), (name of trail) is closed to all users until (reopening date).

If limited access closure: Due to (use the appropriate criteria title), (name of trail) is open only to hikers until (reopening date).

4. Facebook

If the facility manages an official park/historic site Facebook page, an entry should be posted there to notify users of the temporary closure. The entry should include the same details as noted in the e-mail notification.

 

Trail Reopening Procedures

When reopening of a trail can occur, public notification should be made to reverse the closure.

1. Website

An e-mail should be sent to the DNR.DSP Closing Notification e-mail group. If possible, attach

or forward the original trail closure e-mail. The new e-mail must include the trail name and

confirmation of its reopening. The appropriate closure advisory will be removed from the

website once this e-mail is received.

2. Trailhead

Facility staff must remove the closure sign from all applicable trailheads using the methods

described in the instructions provided with the sign.

3. Telephone

If facility staff had included the trail closure on the facility answering machine, that message

should be updated to remove the closure information.

4. Facebook

If the facility manages an official park/historic site Facebook page and had posted an entry

stating the closure, a new entry should be posted of the trail reopening.

• • •

Also, I wanted to point out that one in 10 Missourians has Unclaimed Property waiting for them. I am including a link that I encourage you, and your family to check to see if you are one of them at www.ShowMeMoney.com

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss an issue, please call 573-751-9459. You can also email me at randy.pietzman@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.    

 

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