Save Rock Bridge State Park's Wild Area

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The Gans Creek Wild Area within Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is a beloved and important resource for the citizens of Missouri, but its future is seriously threatened by a proposed high-density housing development. The development of this property is contingent on the City of Columbia approving annexation of this property from Boone County into the City. The citizens of Missouri, as signed on this petition, urge the City of Columbia to reject annexation of the proposed Canton Estates development in order to fulfill its responsibility to protect this unique and important resource for current users and for generations to come.

Rock Bridge Memorial Park contains a wide diversity of natural and cultural resources, including some of the state’s best examples of karst topography, restored grasslands, forests and streams, and is home to the endangered gray bat and pink planarian, a flatworm found only within the park's boundaries. Gans Creek Wild area is a specially protected 750-acre area within the larger Park. One of only 12 Wild Areas in the state, Gans Creek Wild Area is protected to "provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and recreation and to preserve and protect this important natural heritage." Wild Areas like Gans Greek are also important to the health of our citizens. Increasing scientific evidence shows that time in nature is directly correlated with increased well-being, and the current global pandemic has heightened this notion in the minds of so many. 

Gans Creek, one of only five Outstanding State Resource Waters within Boone County and 44 within the state, takes center stage within the Wild Area. These high-quality waters are recognized for their significant aesthetic, recreational, and scientific value. Preserving this unique ecosystem holds significant ecological importance.

The proposed high-density housing development will include approximately 113 residential lots directly adjacent to the Wild Area, without an adequate buffer for protection. Current City regulations provide no additional guidance or requirements for sensitive areas. If the development moves forward as planned, expert opinion suggests that runoff will have a significant negative impact to the health of the watershed. Further, the protected wilderness experience of the Wild Area itself is threatened by the proposed development, which is denser than any current development on the existing State Park's boundary.

Allowing this development as proposed will have long-term consequences and rob future citizens of healthy waters and critical recreation opportunities.