Wednesday, July 23, 2014

North Riverfront Park

North Riverfront Park is 1 of 108 St. Louis parks.  This massive 250 acre park was placed into ordinance in 1980.  This is the northernmost park in St. Louis on the eastern edge of the Riverview Neighborhood.



This park is great for two reasons.  First, of all the parks, this one has the best relationship with and access to the Mississippi River.  This is the spot most popular with fishermen.  Guys drive and walk right up to the banks and fish for mainly buffalo.  This local delicacy, usually fried as described to me by the guy I talked to.  You cast with heavy test line and poles that look like they are intended for the ocean.  These fish get big.



We chatted about river fish being part of the area and how Kram Fish (around since 1904) in the Columbus Square neighborhood has just about everything you could ever want to eat that comes out of local rivers.


The other thing great about this park is the fact that the 10.8 mile North Riverfront Trail that connects the old Laclede Power Building at Lenore K. Sullivan and Biddle just north of the Arch to the old Route 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge, goes right through the park.

 Trailhead just north of the Arch


Old Chain of Rocks Bridge:  northern terminus of the Riverfront Trail

Great Rivers Greenway, the awesome regional institution connecting the metropolitan areas with hundreds of miles of trails has worked to rehabilitate this trail from 2005-2007 and there is now good signage and public art to keep this gritty, real, industrial trail interesting.





 Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing





There is a dedicated rest stop at North Riverfront Park.







The park is just east of Bob Cassilly's Cementland.



The park is largely the bike trail, the river and a lot of mowed grass/weeds that takes an army of workers to mow/weedwack.  I was there on a day when the city was working and it just seems so obvious that this land should be an extension of the River, a natural landscape.  A controlled burn and native grass re-installment would remove the need for mowing, allowing the Park's Dept to focus efforts on the neighborhood parks.  It would also provide a habitat for the plants and animals that are native to the area and it would provide a beautiful "break" between Riverview Boulevard (Speedway) and the Mississippi River.  It would hold up and anchor the soil during the rare flooding as well.


one of many tractors required to...mow

I totally understand there are spots that should be reserved for picnics/concerts/gatherings, etc.  But, the vast majority of the acres should go no-mow.  It just seems so obvious.

I would love to see Great Rivers collaborate with the City to do a native prairie restoration on the vast fields of grass/weeds.

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