(From the Missouri Department of Natural Resources)
When you visit Missouri state parks and historic sites for the Fourth of July weekend, you can do more than just have fun - you can assist your neighbors in the Joplin area with their recovery and rebuilding effort.
Donation boxes will be available in all Missouri state parks and historic sites beginning Saturday, July 2. All donations will be used to help purchase and plant trees in the Joplin area parks.
"We believe the Missouri state park system belongs to the people of this state. This is one way we can provide assistance to the people and give back to those who need us," said Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The donation boxes are one part of a larger effort to assist in replacing the hundreds of trees destroyed by the recent tornado. Missouri State Parks is currently participating in the Odwalla Plant-a-Tree Program, which allows people across the nation to vote where they want trees planted. Odwalla has committed $100,000 to the campaign and each vote will be equal to $1 that can be used for trees. This year, Missouri State Parks will be donating the trees they receive to help Joplin area parks.
To vote to donate trees to the Joplin area parks, go to mostate parks.com website and click on the Odwalla Plant-a-Tree program link. It will take you through the process to vote for Missouri state parks. If you enter the six-character code printed inside the Missouri state park system's new Welcome Kit, Odwalla will donate an extra dollar per vote. Voting will continue through Aug. 31, 2011.
"As more people vote, the number of trees available to the Joplin area will increase. We encourage you to have your friends vote as well," Bryan said.
In addition to helping replace trees, Missouri State Parks is assisting the Joplin area residents by waiving all camping fees in three state parks for those displaced by the tornado in Joplin. Camping fees will be waived at Table Rock State Park near Branson, Stockton State Park near Stockton, and Roaring River State Park near Cassville. The waiver applies to all Missouri residents in the state-declared disaster counties of Jasper and Newton counties. The waiver will apply for 30 days on available campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. People requesting a fee waiver need to provide documentation from a governmental or charitable organization certifying that they have been displaced by storm damage in one of the state-declared counties.
"As you celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with your friends and family, take a moment to remember those who need your assistance. You can do so by simply making a donation in a donation box or by voting online for Missouri state parks in the Odwalla Plant-a-Tree program," Bryan said