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The History of Cuivre River State Park

By Clay Steward

Located in Troy, Missouri, Cuivre River State Park is a public recreation area covering more than 6,400 acres northeast of the city in the Lincoln Hills region of northeast Missouri. The state park’s rugged landscapes range from native grasslands to limestone bluffs overlooking the forests. The park offers an extensive system of hiking trails plus swimming and camping facilities and is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

     According to nationalmap.gov, Cuivre River began as a federal recreation demonstration area in the 1930s when workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Project Administration constructed roads, bridges, group camps, and a picnic shelter. In 1946, the state took possession of the park. In 1985, two national historic districts, Camp Sherwood Forest and the Cuivre River State Park Administrative Area, were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

     The district of Camp Sherwood Forest encompasses 52 buildings and structures constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1934 and 1936. They include the amphitheater, council circle, dining lodge, central restroom/shower, cook’s quarters, administration building, recreation hall and the director’s lodge. The district also includes cabins and associated kitchen and latrine units at Ancaster Village, Nottingham Village and Fountaindale Village.

     The Cuivre River State park Administrative Area encompasses six buildings and structures constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Projects Administration between 1934 and 1941. They are Cul Bridge, a shelter/restroom, a wellhouse, a warehouse, a service building and a park office.

     Cuivre River State Park offers two campgrounds, backpack camping, fishing, swimming and canoeing, hiking trails, cycling trails and horseback riding. There are 12 hiking trails. Big Sugar Creek Trail (3.75 miles), Blackhawk Point Trail (5.75 miles), Blazing Star Trail ( 2 miles), Cuivre River trail (11.25 miles), Frenchman’s Bluff Trail (1.5 miles), Hamilton Hollow Trail (.9 miles), Lakeside Trail (3.5 miles), Lone Spring Trail ( 5.2 miles), Mossy Hill Trail (.8 miles), Old Schoolhouse Trail ( 3.85 miles), Prairie Trail (.3 miles) and the Turkey Hollow Trail (.8 miles).

     Cuivre River State park has two campgrounds with reservable basic, electric/sewer/water campsites, an equestrian campground, three organized group camps and a special-use camping area. You can reserve your campsite up to 12 months in advance. Cuivre River State Park may be a ways away from Wayne County but there are plenty of beautiful outdoor activities that will make your trip well worth it.

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