Confluence Greenway started in 1998, when the McKnight Foundation, based in Minneapolis, suggested that five groups it was funding with small grants, each with an interest in the Mississippi, pool their resources and form a bigger organization, that McKnight would seed with a much larger grant with the intent of building on the historical, cultural, and natural resources of the area.
When complete the Confluence Greenway that would extend from the St. Louis Arch north to Pere Marquette State Park on the Illinois River and to the Pelican Natural Area on the Missouri River, managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The new organization would string together parks, natural areas, recreation areas, bike trails, and heritage sites, 10,000 acres of green space in ribbons forty miles long that would occupy both banks of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
The cost of creating the 200-square-mile greenway was upwards of $200 million. Even before the greenway came to fruition, it was possible to bike from downtown St. Louis to Pere Marquette. The greenway would add trails that would take bikers to both the Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area and the Confluence State Park at the confluence of the two rivers.
As the first decade of the new century drew to a close Confluence Greenway planned to develop a linear system of riverfront parks and trails and historic sites and connecting them to the river; conserve open space; preserve and enhance natural resources and water quality; foster economic and community development; develop the partnerships necessary to building, managing, and maintaining a greenway system. In short, the goal of the organizers was to bring the citizens of the Confluence region in touch with the rivers and their historic, cultural, and natural resources.
The spring schedule includes a hike at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and a 5-mile bike ride at Horseshoe Lake State Park nearby.
It also includes events at the Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area at the Confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri.
If you live in the St. Louis region, check out the schedule and get acquainted with Confluence Greenway. Then check out TwoTankTours.com for my tour of the Riverlands, starting at Monk’s Mound and ending at Marias Temps Clair on the peninsula between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Download the tour at a cost of $7.
Confluence Greenway, “Master Plan,” April 30, 2001, http://www.confluencegreenway.org/documents/masterplan.pdf; Poe, William, “The Greening of St. Louis,” St. Louis Commerce Magazine, January 2004, http://www.stlcommercemagazine.com/archives/january2004/facts2.html.
Filed under: Ecosystem, Hikes, Mississippi River, Riverlands, Two Tank Tours | Tagged: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area, Confluence Greenway, Horseshoe Lake State Park, Two Tank Tours |