WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 19, 2008) — Missouri now has more than 40,000 volunteers involved in its “Stream Team” cleanup program, but that effort began two decades ago with fly fishermen on the banks of Waynesville’s Roubidoux Creek.
Members of the Pulaski County Tourism Board and the Waynesville City Council want to work together to promote that, and at separate meetings on Dec. 18 and 19, members of each board discussed how to cooperate with state officials who plan to come to Waynesville for an upcoming twentieth-anniversary celebration of the stream cleaning program.
Tourism Director Beth Wiles told her board members on Friday that she attended a meeting at Waynesville City Hall regarding trail developments along the Roubidoux camp area.
“They also held another meeting last week about trout stream management,” Wiles said. “There’s a lot of great things going on down there, a lot of partnerships between the two cities to improve the Roubidoux.”
Tourism Board Chairwoman Twyla Cordy, who is also a member of the Waynesville City Council, told Tourism Board members Friday that her city would like help from the Tourism Bureau in promoting the Stream Team anniversary celebration as well as the existence of the trout stream through brochures.
Tourism Board member Leon Saxton said he’s like to see the Tourism Bureau help more with promoting the Roubidoux trout stream than just production and distribution of brochures.
“We’ve got so many good things in this area like the hunting and the fly fishing and all that stuff. Why can’t we do something like get our outfitters together that’s going to not only promote Waynesville and St. Robert but the state itself?” Saxton asked. “A few years ago, I used to go every year to Columbia for the deer classic. They’d pay a fee to have a table and they’d come in and set up and display their wares and stuff for locals and hunters to come in and look at it. Am I off base on doing something like that?”
Saxton said starting a major fishing-related event would also bring people to the area who would stay in local hotels, which is the Tourism Bureau’s main source of revenue through a transient guest tax.
“Maybe we could start in one year at a small scale and then slowly build it up,” Saxton said.
Cordry said something needs to be done to promote the availability of Waynesville’s trout stream, even if the promotional effort does start small.
“Something that we, Waynesville, does not publicize enough is its trout stream down there,” Cordry said. “That Stream Team was started here in Pulaski County, so they’re going to have their big hoopla event here next March in Waynesville at this trout stream.”
“The fly fishermen here in the area are the ones that actually started that stream clean team; now there are over 40,000 volunteers in the state of Missouri in that program,” Cordry said. “That’s amazing that something that big started here locally, and we really need to promote that.”
Wiles said the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau can help out with brochures through a cooperative program as part of its mission to support member communities.
Cordry said that help will be appreciated and said efforts will be made to facilitate more handicapped parking and fishing areas.
“There are going to be a lot of changes coming up this next spring in Roubidoux and we’re very grateful that the state conservation department has seen fit to help us out with some money there,” Cordry said.
Those changes were outlined in more detail by Councilwoman Luge Hardman, who chairs the Waynesville Economic Development Committee, during Thursday’s city council session.
Hardman described a meeting last month of her committee with Rolla-based Nick Girondo, who heads the fisheries program of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
“What we were interested in was how does the Roubidoux fit into the Missouri trout plan and what are the plans for the Roubidoux,” Hardman said. “I thought when the meeting was over that we left with a very good feeling and hopefully Waynesville is not going to be put on the back burner.”
Girondo assured Hardman and other board members that Waynesville will play a key role in the Stream Team anniversary program and on March 27 will also be the host of an “Evening with Wildlife” for a six-county region.
Hardman said marketing and promoting the Roubidoux Spring is also crucial.
“What’s going to be done to try to help us market that area and make it more accessible and make it more inviting as a tourist spot,” Hardman said. “Nick assures us that we are in his budget, and in fact before that night was over, (Councilman Alan Clark) had come up with some contributions of rock and the city volunteered to help with equipment and I believe even St. Robert has let it be known that they would help, also, to work on deepening the area around the handicapped spot down at Laughlin Park.”
Councilwoman Diana Stanford asked whether state conservation officials have a plan to improve accessibility to the Roubidoux Creek.
“Did he have anything to say about improving access on (Highway) 17 where Roubidoux Court used to be? Are they ever going to do anything with that?” Stanford asked. “The Conservation Department traded the city. They bought the RV Park; the traded that to the city for the acreage … where the old Roubidoux Court sat on across the street from Rice’s Cleaners and they were supposed to put in a river access there.”
Hardman said accessibility is planned for Pippin Road on the west side of the Roubidoux Creek instead of the east side by Highway 17.
“But I will continue to push that,” Hardman said.
Park Board Chairman Roger Olney said access from Highway 17 may not be realistic.
“As they got into that project a little bit more, the Missouri Department of Transportation determined that access to those parking areas was unsafe because of the traffic conditions and the poor visibility from the standpoint of vehicles coming around the corner,” Olney said. “I think the Missouri Department of Transportation is going to dig their heels on in that one.”
Some needs for cleanup on the Roubidoux are especially important, said Councilman Alan Clark, but are far beyond the capabilities of the Stream Team volunteers.
“Can you find out what the plans are to get that real pretty 35-foot gooseneck camper out of the creek, and maybe the dumpster?” Clark said.
“The camper presents a lot of problems because of all the trees it’s wedged in,” City Administrator Bruce Harrill said. “There’s a lot of those trees they don’t want to cut down so they’ve been trying to figure out a plan to get that out of there.”
Clark said the dumpster by the Crocker Bridge on Highway 17 belongs to the city of Waynesville; Harrill said he wasn’t sure that was correct even though it had been in a city park, and said the dumpster may belong to a sanitation company.
“If it’s our dumpster we’ll get it out,” Harrill said.
Councilman Mike France suggested claiming the dumpster under “salvage rights” even if it doesn’t belong to the city if the sanitation company won’t remove it.
In other parks-related matters:
• Olney said that the family of Elmer Shivers, who recently died, has established a memorial fund for the city’s park system.
“I have canvassed our park board members and some of our city council representatives as to what might be an option to do. We don’t have all feedback yet but I hope to be able to make a presentation to our park board in January as to what the consensus is,” Olney said. “I thought that was a real nice gesture from the Shivers family.”
• Olney reported that the “umbrella” water feature in the city spray park has developed a crack that must be repaired. Harrill said the company that built the spray park is probably willing to replace or fix it.
“We want to get that up and running well before we get into the warmer weather,” Olney said.
• Park electrical service has become a serious problem for Frog Fest and Old Settlers Day, and Olney said he met with the sponsors of those two events.
“For many, many years we have kind of ‘Rube Goldberg’-ed together.We’ve had a little bit here and a little bit there and added a little bit there, and unfortunately Mother Nature was not real good to us this year and we’re not real sure what the current status is,” Olney said. “We discussed options and what the sponsors of these two activities would like to do.”
Olney said he’s working with Harrill to try to produce cost estimates for electrical work and reconstruction.
• Olney said he’s soliciting suggestions for ways to improve and expand Waynesville Pride Day
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