- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

PINEVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Missouri park officials have proposed that more than 1,000 acres of remote land in southwest Missouri be designated as the newest “wild area” in the state.

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe (https://bit.ly/1R6lUJU ) reports that the land, which state park officials propose calling Elk River Hills Wild Area, is located in the Big Sugar Creek State Park in McDonald County.

The proposed area is more than 150 acres larger than the minimum requirement, 1,000 acres, for a Wild Area designation. The public can comment on the proposed plan until March 24.

The designation is similar to the National Wilderness Preservation System at the federal level. The goal is to protect these state areas from any kind of man-made influences or development.

It’d be the 12th wild area in the state park system.

“Notable for this remote area as compared to the surrounding landscape is the absence of light pollution, traffic noise, and other signs of human influence,” said Kerry Hays, park manager for both Big Sugar Creek State Park. “With the exception of a narrow 4.4 mile loop trail and connector of natural tread, the wild area is without permanent improvements or human habitation.”

There are nearly 23,000 park acres currently in the Wild Area system.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com


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