Matt Blunt has announced that the State of Missouri will begin developing the nation’s longest river water trail in honor of famed explorers Lewis and Clark.

“This will tap into the growing nature and adventure tourism trade by encouraging and facilitating the use of the Missouri River by canoeists and kayakers,” Blunt said. “More than 500 miles of the Missouri River borders or bisects the state, offering us an unprecedented tourism and economic development opportunity.”

At 500 miles, the Lewis and Clark Water Trail would be the nation’s longest river water trail. The water trail could emulate the tourism and economic success of Katy Trail State Park, the nation’s longest developed rails-to-trails project.

More than 300,000 people use the Katy Trail each year. “Many communities along the Katy Trail have seen a resurgence due to tourism traffic,” Blunt said. “The Lewis and Clark Water Trail is expected to have a similar effect on river towns.”

With more than 150 miles of Katy Trail State Park’s 225 miles along the river, many amenities already exist to support the water trail in this area.

Blunt has directed the Missouri Departments of Natural Resources, Conservation, and the Division of Tourism to develop an information campaign for Missourians and state visitors. River access points and the locations of campsites, bed and breakfast establishments, points of historic or natural interest, and outfitters will soon be available through an Internet site and printed materials.

Missouri Families Are Encouraged to Plan for Emergencies


JEFFERSON CITY, (SLFP.com), September 24, 2006 – As part of National Preparedness Month, Gov. Matt Blunt reminds Missourians to talk about family plans and put together the supplies that may be needed during an emergency.

“This is a good time for families to sit down and develop a plan to deal with emergency situations large or small, determine how they will reach one another if they are separated during an emergency and gather the supplies needed in the event of an emergency,” Blunt said.

National Preparedness Month, held each September and coordinated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, encourages Americans to prepare for emergencies of all kinds in their homes, businesses, schools and communities. The goal is to educate Americans about the importance of emergency preparedness and encourage individuals to take action.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Ready in 3 program reminds Missourians what they can do at home, school and work to prepare for emergencies. Ready in 3 provides three simple steps to prepare for an emergency situation and takes less than a half hour to complete. The Ready 3 Internet site, www.dhss.mo.gov/Ready_in_3, provides more detail and offers free materials and tools to help Missourians prepare for emergencies.

“The purpose of Ready in 3 is to help Missourians be ready should a major emergency or terrorism attack occur. We can’t predict what will happen, but we can be prepared,” said Julie Eckstein, DHSS director.

Throughout the year, DHSS works with Citizen Corps Councils, other state agencies, local public health agencies, emergency responders, the Missouri General Assembly, employers, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups, and the American Red Cross to raise awareness on the importance of planning in advance of emergencies.

Dorothy Anderson, a child-care provider in Caruthersville, believes emergency planning saves lives. In April 2006 as a tornado swept through her town, Dorothy and the four children in her care sat in the hallway of her home while the tornado passed. Dorothy’s home was completely destroyed yet no one was injured. Dorothy said that practicing tornado drills routinely saved their lives.

Even before the explosive storms in late July that severed power to over 700,000 in the St. Louis area for days, the Creve Coeur Fire District started educating residents on the importance of planning in advance of emergencies. “The resources and tools provided through the Ready in 3 program have given us the opportunity to educate our community, employees and their families about steps they can take now to prepare for emergencies of all kinds. This program clearly defines steps Missourians can take to protect their friends and family when an emergency does occur,” said William Brandes, Chief of the Creve Coeur Fire District.

The Ready in 3 program is part of ongoing efforts to improve the state’s ability to respond to emergencies or disasters. “Every individual, every family, every household has a critical role to play in emergency preparedness,” added Eckstein.