Life Outside Festival Set for June 8

See, try and learn ways to spend more time outside in the St. Louis region!

Bring your friends, family and neighbors to the 4th Annual Life Outside Festival!  The event will be held Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 10am to 4pm at Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Unique from other regional festivals, Life Outside is exclusively about engaging event-goers with new outdoor experiences. Partner organizations from across the region will be at the event, offering attendees the opportunity to see, try and learn about a variety of outdoor activities in a free, fun and supportive environment. Activities will include outdoor experiences related to active living, camping, climbing, cycling, mind and body, nature and conservation, paddling and running.

“Life Outside is a chance for people of all ages, abilities and interests to discover how they can live more of their lives outside. People can come try activities like kayaking, mountain biking or yoga and learn first hand if this is something they want to make part of their lives,” said Elizabeth Simons, community program manager for Great Rivers Greenway. “Whether people already have something they have been thinking about trying, or just want to see what’s new in the outdoor scene, Life Outside will have something for everyone.”

Launched in 2016, the Life Outside Festival has grown each year, drawing new and repeat attendees from throughout the St. Louis region. Attendees can participate in a variety of free activities, including classes, product demos, hands-on experiences and competitions. Based on partner interest and community feedback, Great Rivers Greenway expects the 2019 Festival to be the largest one yet, attracting close to 75 partner organizations and an estimated 5,000 people from across the region.

”I loved being able to try out new things that I’ve always wanted to try, but never knew how to get started or who to talk to,” said a 2018 festival attendee. “I also liked learning about organizations and activities that I didn’t even know existed.”

A wide selection of popular area food trucks will be at the festival with food and beverages available for purchase and 18 musical acts will be performing at multiple stages throughout the festival grounds. Drinking water in reusable bottles and sunscreen will also be available for free.

To ensure greater access to the event, the Life Outside Festival will offer free round-trip shuttles from the North Hanley, Civic Center and Shrewsbury MetroLink Stations. Attendees can also park and ride free shuttles from the Zumbehl Commuter Lot in St. Charles County (adjacent to the intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Zumbehl Road) and Pattonville High School (2497 Creve Coeur Mill Rd, Maryland Heights, MO 63043).

Skip the day-of registration line by pre-registering online at LiveLifeOutside.org and picking up your festival packet including Life Outside wristband at the Great Rivers Greenway Visitor Center (6178 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63112) on June 6 and 7.

Businesses and organizations interested in providing an outdoor activity at the event can contact Elizabeth Simons, at esimons@grgstl.org and 314-932-4904. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

More information about the Life Outside Festival can be found at www.LiveLifeOutside.org. Festival video available here.

Maline Greenway Opens in Bella Fontaine Park!

Area residents and local elected officials cut the ribbon on first 1.6 miles of the planned 7 mile greenway in North St. Louis County

Great Rivers Greenway, St. Louis County Parks, elected officials and area residents celebrated the opening of the Maline Greenway in North St. Louis County at a ribbon cutting Thursday, May 9 in Bella Fontaine County Park. The event was held in conjunction with St. Louis County’s Food Truck Fest.

This project creates 1.6 miles of the planned seven-mile Maline Greenway, an east-west link that will connect the Mississippi and St. Vincent Greenways. When complete, the Maline Greenway will travel along Maline Creek through the cities of Berkeley, Kinloch, Ferguson, Jennings, Moline Acres, Bellefontaine neighbors and Riverview in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis.

The first phase of the new greenway was built primarily within Bella Fontaine County Park and includes new and refurbished, ADA accessible walking and biking paths and the replacement of three bridges. There is also a new underpass beneath Highway 367/Lewis & Clark Boulevard, providing a safe, seamless connection between both sides of the park and two Metro transit stops.

 

Additional improvements include a new rain garden (native-to-Missouri plants that absorb storm water) and streambank restoration along Maline Creek to help improve water quality and reduce erosion. This section of Maline Creek drains a developed urban watershed that generates high volumes of rushing water during heavy rainstorms. To help mitigate this, portions of the stream bank were reshaped, sloping outward to create a place for water to spread out and temporarily pool. Two rock riffles—a wall of rocks across the bottom of the creek bed, perpendicular to the water flow—were also installed to help slow down the flow of water. The reduction in water flow not only prevents erosion at the site of the rock riffle, but also downstream as the creek heads toward the Mississippi River. Construction was coordinated with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) to coincide with planned improvements to the waste and storm water infrastructure in the area. Improvements made to the MSD sewer system will now prevent any sewage from entering into the creek in this area.

There is also new landscaping including more than 300 trees and shrubs and new seating areas for people to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

Plan your visit to the Maline Greenway here.

Mary Meachum Recap

Africans to Americans: Two Events in St. Louis Successfully Celebrate 400 Years of Black History


Ancestry Workshop, Guest Speakers & DNA Reveal April 27th, 2019

17th Annual Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration May 4th, 2019


 

Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History Ancestry Workshop, Speakers & DNA Reveal April 27th, 2019

As part of the Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History event, the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration and St. Louis Public Library’s Genealogy Room hosted a free event on Saturday, April 27 at the Central Library to help people of color trace their ancestry in America. Because typical genealogical research strategies often fail when applied to enslaved African Americans, the workshop brought together a panel of experts to equip and inspire people of color to trace their family history.   Event attendees learned how to get started from a panel of experts, along with  one-on-one research tips, tricks and assistance from Association of African Ancestored Researchers, local researcher Connie Eller and the St. Louis Public Library’s Genealogy Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, four speakers shared their experiences in the auditorium and answered the audiences’ question in a panel format at the end:

Panelists from left to right: Connie Eller, Christopher Nordmann, Daniel Lilienkamp, LaDonna Garner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The panelists and  presentations included:

  • Connie Eller, “Walk the Dirt”- Learn more about the value of tracing family history and visiting the places where ancestors lived from past to present.
  • Christopher Nordmann, “Locating Your Slave Ancestor’s Owner: A Case Study”- Trace an African American family in freedom back to slavery from Missouri to Kentucky to Virginia using a variety of records.
  • LaDonna Garner, “Recording Families is Recording Local History”- Family groupings form neighborhoods, and neighborhoods shape into communities. Learn why it is important to preserve the artifacts of these communities to maintain a blueprint of local history.
  • Daniel Lilienkamp, “Manuscript Collections: A Tool for Finding Your Enslaved African American Ancestors”- Learn why typical U.S. genealogical research strategies often fail when applied to enslaved African Americans and how to begin researching slave owning families’ detailed plantation records to trace ancestry. (Followed by question and answers.)

Lastly, Dr. Gina Paige, founder of AfricanAncestry.com spoke about their database and system. She then delivered DNA results to two locals, including one city official.

Dr. Gina Paige, founder of AfricanAncestry.com and Michael Butler, Recorder of Deeds for the City of St. Louis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It was really illuminating to find out my family’s African ancestry is originally from Cameroon. Because our records were not kept, so many of us are just now discovering our specific backgrounds. Our archives office was honored to participate at the annual Mary Meachum celebration in helping other families uncover their genealogies,” said Michael Butler, Recorder of Deeds for the City of St. Louis.


Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History
17th Annual Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration May 4th, 2019

Saturday, May 4, 2019, from noon to 5 p.m., residents from around the St. Louis region and beyond came to watch history come to life near Missouri’s first nationally-recognized Underground Railroad site, the historic Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing. Because of the high floodwaters, the event that normally takes place on the riverfront was relocated to the dry side of the floodwall on Prairie Street.

Attendees exploring the celebration

Approximately 500 guests experienced local performers, dancers, drummers, gospel choirs, Jennings High School Band, plus remarks and resolutions from city, county and state elected officials. Attendees could also engage with local organizations providing games and bikes for children, jobs and resources and vendors selling food, drink, art and goods. The 400 years of history was told by three renowned St. Louis-area playwrights through a 3-act performance; each focused on a different timeframe between 1619 and 2019. Angela da Silva, Gregory S. Carr and Mariah L. Richardson wrote the plays for local actors, musicians and storytellers to bring to life through poetry, music and reenactments. DJ Scooda from Praise 95.1 emceed the entire event.

Local group Spirit of Angela performs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This year is a milestone of black history and it was important that it be elevated and celebrated,” says Angela da Silva, Adjunct Professor at Lindenwood University, director of the National Black Tourism Network, historical reenactor director, and Mary Meachum event manager. “It’s important for all of us to not only recognize 400 years of hardship and sacrifice but also honor the incredible contributions black people have made to this country since 1619.”

The site commemorates the work of Mary Meachum, a free woman of color who guided many slaves to freedom by helping them to cross over to the free state of Illinois, and later helped to spearhead education efforts for men, women and children of color in St. Louis.


Open to all ages, both events were free, put on by a partnership of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, National Black Tourism Network, Youth & Family Center, National Underground Railroad Network, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis County Library, St. Charles County Parks and the Historic Daniel Boone Home, Great Rivers Greenway, Missouri Division of Tourism,. For more information, visit www.MaryMeachum.org.

Come Celebrate the Opening of Maline Greenway: Bella Fontaine County Park- May 9, 2019

You are invited to celebrate the opening of the Maline Greenway: Bella Fontaine County Park! We’ve teamed up with our project partners,  St. Louis County Parks, to cut the ribbon on Thursday, May 9 in conjunction with their Food Truck Fest in Bella Fontaine County Park!

This project creates 1.6 miles of the planned seven-mile Maline Greenway, an east-west link that will connect the Mississippi and St. Vincent Greenways. This phase of the new greenway was built primarily within Bella Fontaine County Park and includes new and refurbished, ADA accessible walking and biking paths and the replacement of three bridges. There is also a new underpass beneath Highway 367/Lewis & Clark Boulevard, providing a safe, seamless connection between both sides of the park and two Metro transit stops. (Bella Fontaine County Park is located at 9565 Bellefontaine Rd, St. Louis, MO 63137)

Additional improvements include a new rain garden (native-to-Missouri plants that absorb storm water) and streambank restoration along Maline Creek to help improve water quality and reduce erosion. This section of Maline Creek drains a developed urban watershed that generates high volumes of rushing water during heavy rainstorms. To mitigate this, portions of the stream bank were reshaped, sloping outward to create a place for water to spread out and temporarily pool. Two rock riffles—a wall of rocks across the bottom of the creek bed, perpendicular to the water flow—were also installed to help slow down the flow of water. The reduction in water flow not only prevents erosion at the site of the rock riffle, but also downstream as the creek heads toward the Mississippi River. Construction was coordinated with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) to coincide with planned improvements to the waste and storm water infrastructure in the area. Improvements made to the MSD sewer system will now prevent any sewage from entering into the creek in this area.

There is also new landscaping including more than 300 trees and shrubs and new seating areas for people to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

“Thanks to the new Maline Greenway, people of all ages and abilities have a safe, seamless connection between both sides of Bella Fontaine Park and the bus stops on Lewis and Clark Blvd.,” says Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. “Neighborhood residents and park visitors can enjoy the walking and biking paths, playgrounds, ball fields, and other park amenities without having to navigate across four lanes of a busy highway when they are out walking, riding a bike, or pushing a stroller.”

Area residents can see the recently completed greenway and other park improvements during the May 9 St. Louis County Parks Food Truck Fest. The free event includes a lineup of popular area food trucks and live music by the Steve Ewing Duo. The event runs from 5-8 pm with live music from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Project partners, contractors, and elected officials will officially open the new greenway with a ribbon cutting during the band’s intermission at approximately 6:30 pm. Food and drinks are available for purchase; no coolers are allowed.

“The new Maline Greenway makes this park more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. We are excited to deliver an improved Bella Fontaine Park to the people who live and work in North County and beyond,” says Gary Bess, St. Louis County Parks Director. “We encourage the community to join us on May 9 as we celebrate all the improvements to this popular St. Louis County park.”

Celebrate History at the 17th Annual Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration -From Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History

May 4 Freedom Crossing Celebration, which will be held at the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site, will feature historical re-enactments written by three area playwrights, a choir competition, and activities for children. Free Ancestry Workshop April 27 at the St. Louis Central Library aims to inspire and encourage people of color trace their ancestry.

On Saturday, May 4, 2019, from noon to 5 p.m., residents from around the St. Louis region and beyond are invited to watch history come to life at Missouri’s first nationally-recognized Underground Railroad site, the historic Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing. That day, area residents can experience 400 years of American history as told by three renowned St. Louis-area playwrights. The “Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History” event will chronicle the stories of Africans, who first arrived to America as slaves in 1619 to present day. This is the 17th annual event being held at the Mary Meachum site to commemorate the historical significance of the site and the importance of African American history in St. Louis and beyond.

Residents of all ages attending the free celebration on May 4 will be able to watch three historical plays, as shown through the lens of three different playwrights; each focused on a different timeframe between 1619 and 2019. Angela da Silva, Gregory S. Carr and Mariah L. Richardson have written these plays for local actors, musicians and storytellers to bring to life through poetry, music and reenactments. The event will also feature music, games for children, a gospel choir competition sponsored by Praise 95.1 radio, as well as food, drinks, and artisan goods/crafts for purchase.

“This year is a milestone of black history that must be elevated and celebrated,” says Angela da Silva, Adjunct Professor at Lindenwood University, director of the National Black Tourism Network, historical reenactor director, and Mary Meachum event manager. “It’s important for all of us to not only recognize 400 years of hardship and sacrifice but also honor the incredible contributions black people have made to this country since 1619.”

The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site is located on the Mississippi River Greenway on the banks of the Mississippi River, just north of Merchant’s Bridge in North St. Louis City (28 East Grand St. Louis, Missouri 63147). The site commemorates the work of Mary Meachum, a free woman of color who guided many slaves to freedom by helping them to cross over to the free state of Illinois, and later helped to spearhead education efforts for men, women and children of color in St. Louis.

Open to all ages, this event is free, and is a partnership of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, National Black Tourism Network, Youth & Family Center, National Underground Railroad Network, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis County Library, St. Charles County Parks and the Historic Daniel Boone Home, Great Rivers Greenway, Missouri Division of Tourism,. For more information, visit www.MaryMeachum.org.


Area Residents Invited to Free Ancestry Workshop at St. Louis Central Library Sat. April 27

Panel of experts will offer strategies and inspiration for people of color to trace their ancestry in America

As part of the Africans to Americans: 400 Years of History event, the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing Celebration and St. Louis Public Library’s Genealogy Room are co-hosting a free workshop to help people of color trace their ancestry in America. Typical genealogical research strategies often fail when applied to enslaved African Americans. Area residents can learn the value of tracing one’s family history and how to get started from a panel of experts. The event will be held from 10:30- 5-:00 pm at the St. Louis Central Library Auditorium (lower level) located at 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis 63103.

Dr. Gina Paige, National Expert and found of African Ancestry will give the keynote address. The Ancestry Workshop schedule and speaker lineup is as follows:

Auditorium Lobby for Public Consults

  • 10:30 – 12:30 Open for Public Consultations
    Area residents can bring DNA results or family tree for consultation with Association of African Ancestored Researchers & the St. Louis Public Library’s Genealogy Room.
  • Auditorium for Speaker Event
    12:35 Introduction of Speakers – All Speakers on stage
  • 12:40 Connie Eller, “Walk the Dirt”- Learn more about the value of tracing family history and visiting the places where ancestors lived from past to present.
  • 1:10 Christopher Nordmann, “Locating Your Slave Ancestor’s Owner: A Case Study”- Trace an African American family in freedom back to slavery from Missouri to Kentucky to Virginia using a variety of records.
  • 1:40 LaDonna Garner, “Recording Families is Recording Local History”- Family groupings form neighborhoods, and neighborhoods shape into communities. Learn why it is important to preserve the artifacts of these communities to maintain a blueprint of local history.
  • 2:10 Daniel Lilienkamp, “Manuscript Collections: A Tool for Finding Your Enslaved African American Ancestors”- Learn why typical U.S. genealogical research strategies often fail when applied to enslaved African Americans and how to begin researching slave owning families’ detailed plantation records to trace ancestry. (Followed by question and answers.)
  • 3:30 Keynote Address – Dr. Gina Paige, founder of African Ancestry
  • 4:30: Michael Butler DNA Reveal (St. Louis City recorder of Deeds) Dr. Paige will take audience questions following the reveal of the ancestry results of a St. Louis personage.

The Ancestry Workshop is free. For updates follow the event on Facebook here. To learn more about Dr. Gina Paige and African Ancestry visit http://www.africanancestry.com/home/

Bike Rides for Older Adults

It’s never too late to enjoy the fun and proven health benefits of bicycling!

Think you’re too old to ride a bike? Think again! It’s never too late to enjoy the health benefits (and fun!) of cycling. But don’t just take our word for it; the results of a recent Mayo Clinic study may motivate you to get back on a bike!

Researchers monitored the effects of different exercise regimens on healthy (but sedentary) men and women over the age of 64 and under the age of 30. After twelve weeks, the subjects who did interval workouts while pedaling a bicycle showed the greatest increase in the number and health of muscle cell “power generators”—the mitochondria. An unexpected finding was this positive effect was even more pronounced among the older cyclists. What does this mean for you? According to the study’s lead author, the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging can be ‘corrected” with exercise in the form of interval training. Are you ready to get back on a bike yet?

Bike Riding as Interval Training
Interval training is any workout that alternates bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. Many activities can be turned into an interval workout. However, a bike ride can deliver all the fitness benefits of interval training along with a healthy dose of fresh air, fun, and ever-changing scenery. So where do you begin…?

Back in the Saddle Again: Bike Rides for Older Adults in the St. Louis Region
With more than 125 miles of greenway across our region, you can take your pick of scenic routes, natural areas and parks to explore and enjoy. Click here to see a list of all the greenways.  If you would rather ride with a group, there are a number of options for older adults and those who are new to cycling:

City of Chesterfield Parks, Recreation and Arts
The City of Chesterfield offers weekly group bike rides for adults age 55 and older. They ride on greenways across the regional as well as the KATY Trail.  The rides are free and designed to accommodate people of all fitness levels. They ride on the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 9:30am. Click here to download the 2019 schedule. Contact olderadults@chesterfield.mo.us  or call 636.812.9500 to be placed on their mailing list.

AARP Boomers and Bikes
AARP offers free, guided bike rides on greenways  one Saturday each month, May through October. Must be 50 years or older and wear a helmet. Visit their website for the complete schedule and to pre-register.

St. Louis Recreational Cyclists
St. Louis Recreational Cyclists is a bicycling group that offers “both moderate and more challenging group rides” in the metropolitan St. Louis area. Visit their website to learn more.

Women’s Cycling Community of Greater St. Louis
The Women’s Cycling Community (WC2) offers group rides on greenways, trails and roads around the region. They welcome all levels of riders from beginners needing a mentor to experienced. Find riding buddies, cycling tips, social events and adventures for women of all ages and abilities across the region. Visit their “meetup” web site to learn more.

If you know of other group rides for older adults or those who are new to cycling, tell us here.


Adventures With an Older Adult Group Bike Ride: Bike Stop Café to Bike Stop Cafe

Curious what a group bike ride is like? Mary Klauke, recreation specialist with the City of Chesterfield Parks, Recreation and Arts tells all:

“In spring 2017, we kicked off our inaugural season of weekly bike rides for adults age 55 and older on the Missouri Greenway: Monarch Chesterfield Levee. We had a really enthusiastic group of people ranging from 53 to 82 years old. Some of the participants had been riding for years; others were just getting back on a bike. We made it clear that everyone was welcome to set their own pace. We also wanted everyone to determine how far they wanted to go.

After several weeks, our group wanted to see some new sites so I organized rides on Grant’s Trail, the Al Foster Trail in the Meramec Greenway, Creve Coeur Park to Centennial Greenway and the KATY Trail.

We continued riding every Monday through the summer. It was exciting to see everyone increase their speed and endurance. By September we were ready for a “graduation ride.” I planned a trip that took us 18.3 miles from the Bike Stop Café in Chesterfield to the Bike Stop Café in St. Charles on the KATY Trail.

We met at the Chesterfield Bike Stop Café at Taubman Prestige Outlets near the food court.  After a little rain, the sun came out (along with a full rainbow!) and we enjoyed a beautiful ride across the Missouri River to the KATY Trail. We took a pit stop and cookie and pie break at Thies Farms on Greens Bottom Road parallel to the trail. Seven miles further down the KATY Trail we pulled off and enjoyed a delicious lunch on the patio at Bike Stop Café in St. Charles. A few people opted to take the Bike Stop Café Shuttle back to Chesterfield and the rest of the group enjoyed the 18 mile return trip (for a total of 36 miles) back to their cars. It was a great way to cap off our inaugural season!”(Contact olderadults@chesterfield.mo.us to be placed on their mailing list.)

Does that sound like fun?

Plan your own Bike Stop Cafe to Bike Stop Cafe Trip here!

Greenway Getaway: Confluence of Meramec and Western Greenways

THE BLUEBELLS ARE BLOOMING! THE BLUEBELLS ARE BLOOMING!

If you’ve never explored the confluence of the Western and Meramec Greenways, now is the time to plan a trip!  There are a variety of things to see and do along the way, so we’ve compiled a list of options so you can build your own adventure.


Meramec Greenway: Glencoe to Sherman Beach Park
This greenway stretches from Sherman Beach in southwest St. Louis County along the river to Glencoe with a spur north called Rock Hollow. There are several trails that connect along this stretch of the Meramec Greenway, making it possible to walk or bike for several miles on paved and unpaved paths surrounding the Meramec River. You will enjoy outstanding views of the river and riverfront forest as you connect to Rockwoods Reservation, Sherman Beach and Castlewood State Park.



Rock Hollow Trail. (2.2 miles)

Lots of Bluebells to be found along Rock Hollow!

This 2.2 mile spur (paved) stretches from atop Ridge Road, 2.2 miles down the bluff where it connects to the Meramec Greenway and Al Foster Trail. If you love a hill, you will love this paved spur!  You can park at Ridge Meadows Elementary School (777 Ridge Rd, Ballwin, MO 63021) and walk or ride your bike down the hill and back for a round trip of 4.4 miles. Once you reach the bottom of the trail, you can also connect to the Al Foster Trail.

One word of caution: if you are pushing a stroller, or riding with younger children—the trip back up the hill may not be as much fun! Another option is to connect to the Rock Hollow trail via the Al Foster trail.   Park at the trailhead (225 Grand Ave, Wildwood, MO 63038) by the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad, and walk one mile on the Al Foster Trail to its connection with the Rock Hollow Trail.


Al Foster Trail (5.5 miles)
Lots of Bluebells blooming along the Al Foster Trail!

The Al Foster Trail lies within the Meramec Greenway and stretches from the trailhead on Grand Avenue near the intersection of Old State road and Highway 109 by the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific miniature railroad to Sherman Beach. It offers amazing view of the Meramec River and soaring limestone bluffs.  Please note that the trail surface for the first 3 miles from Glencoe to Sherman beach is made of compacted rock. As it nears Castlewood Park, it transitions from rock to dirt and narrows significantly. If you are on a bike you will need to turn around at Sherman Beach. You can use a road bike on the Al Foster Trail (with narrower tires), just be careful after it rains and use caution when crossing the Wabash, Frisco and Pacific railroad tracks.  A complete trail washout has occurred at the Castlewood Narrows section of the trail within Castlewood State Park. Choose your shoes accordingly!



Western  Greenway: Rockwoods Reservation to Meramec Greenway (1.6 miles)

The master plan for this greenway is to connect the Meramec and Missouri Greenways. There is a 1.6 mile asphalt trail that currently extends from Grand Avenue between Glencoe City Park (421 Grand Avenue, Glencoe, MO 63038) and the Al Foster Trail head to Rockwoods Reservation.

 

Also known as the Hamilton Carr Trail, it features two tunnels; one under Old State road and the other under Highway 109. This makes it much safer to cross these busy roads. Once you reach Rockwoods Reservation, you can explore one of six hiking trails within this conservation area.  Click here for more information about Rockwoods Reservation.


Other things to know when planning your trip:
The Trailhead and parking for both the Western Greenway and Meramec Greenway is located at 225 Grand Avenue, Wildwood, MO 63038.

There is a playground and restrooms at Glencoe City Park, 421 Grand Avenue in Glencoe. This is just .25 miles down the street from the Al Foster Trailhead at 225 Grand Ave, Wildwood, MO 63038.

The Wabash, Frisco and Pacific Railroad operates every Sunday from 11 am to 4:15 pm, May through October.  Learn more here.

The area surrounding the Al Foster Memorial Trail has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Many songbird and woodland warbler species are drawn to nest and feed in the secluded forest habitat.

Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash.

Spring Ephemerals and Wildflowers: Now Showing on a Greenway Near You!

If you want to enjoy spring’s loveliest—and most fleeting—display of colorful wildflowers, it’s time to plan a trip to a greenway near you! April and May are peak showtime for a variety of colorful perennials emerging from their winter slumber.

Thanks to the longer days and warming temperatures, little splashes of color will soon appear on the forest floor and along the banks of creeks and streams. Known as “spring ephemerals,” these wildflowers bloom early, linger briefly, and disappear before the trees are leafed out. This dazzling show of spring color is only a limited engagement, so take time to see the flowers before they are gone. No ticket is required to visit a greenway, and you’re guaranteed a front row seat whether you are on foot or bike!

Here are a few of the native wildflowers you can see along the greenways this spring:

Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

One of the most stunning early spring wildflowers! Buds are pink, turning to light blue blooms. Plants grow up to two feet tall and are often found in large groups.

Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Pink, sometimes white spring wildflower that resembles a series of miniature white knee breeches hanging on a clothes line. (Note: these can be irritating to your skin. Do not touch!)

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

These are the most widely distributed early spring flower in Missouri. White or pink with distinct pink veining on the petals.

Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia verna)

The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are 2-lipped: the upper lip is 2-lobed and white; the lower lip is 3-lobed and sky blue (rarely purple or white). This is one of the few Missouri wildflowers that is truly “blue.”

Wake Robin or Trillium (Trillium sessile)

The flower of wake robin, or trillium, has 3 petals and 3 sepals, and 3 leaves that subtend the solitary flower. The petal color varies in this common woodland spring wildflower, but it is most commonly brownish or maroon.

Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

As pretty as this wildflower is, the common name “Jacob’s Ladder” comes from its leaves, which made people think of the story from Genesis in which Jacob dreams of a ladder reaching up to heaven.


Best Greenways for Viewing Wildflowers

Some of the greenways provide better habitat than others for spring ephemerals and wildflowers. Those that meander through forests, across bottom land, or other conservation areas are your best bet for a colorful show. Take your pick of the following (or plan to visit them all this spring!):

Busch Greenway: Katy Trail to Missouri Research Park to August A. Busch Conservation Area
Where to look: There are two prime viewing spots along this greenway; the forest bottom between Missouri Research Park and the Katy Trail as well as the portion of the greenway that meanders through the Weldon Spring Conservation Area.

Deer Creek Greenway: Deer Creek Park
Where to look: We have been working with a variety of partners to clear out invasive honeysuckle along Deer Creek. Look for wildflowers along the banks and edge of Deer Creek. You can also see some Missouri native plants in Lorraine Davis Park.

Meramec Greenway: Glencoe to Sherman Beach Park
Where to look: The bottomland forest along Rock Hollow Trail is known for its showy display of bluebells. You can find all of the wildflowers listed above along this greenway.

 


Please Don’t Pick the Wildflowers!

Because these flowers are so beautiful, it can be tempting to want to pick them or dig them up for transplanting. Not only is this unsightly, it also removes an important food source for pollinators and other animals. Because the plant’s life cycle is so short, animals that might eat the foliage have only a brief opportunity to consume them.  Enjoy the flowers, snap a picture, and leave them where they are! If you would like to add beautiful native flowers to your garden, you can find ethical plant nurseries and other resources here.

Wildflower photos and plant information are all courtesy of the  Missouri Department of Conservation. To learn more about what plants and animals to look for during every season, visit their website here.

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge Closed for Repairs March 18-May 4, 2019

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge will be temporarily closed to all visitors March 18-May 4, 2019 so we can make repairs to the substructure of the bridge’s concrete deck. This work is necessary to increase the service life of this historic structure. As an alternate route, you can use the bicycle and pedestrian path on the McKinley Bridge to travel across the Mississippi River.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as we maintain your investment in the greenways! Please keep in mind that all work is weather dependent. Check back here or follow our Facebook page for updates.