In March 2011 former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon came to Thousand Hills State Park to announce a $100,000 Recreational Trails Program Grant for the first phase of the trail, a paved, ADA-accessible, .61-mile section connecting the marina to the Campground #1.
Phase 1 was funded through through both the Recreational Trails Program and generous donations from across the community and opened in 2015.
In October 2022, Missouri Governor Mike Parson came to Thousand Hills State Park with with Senator Cindy O’Laughlin, Representatives Danny Busick and Greg Sharpe, and Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Dru Buntin for the Phase 2 Ribbon Cutting.
Phase 2 completes the approximately 1.3 mile ADA-accessible paved trail connecting the marina, dining lodge, cabins, swim beach, petroglyph site, and park office to the two park campsites. In honor of a generous donation from long-time Kirksville resident Carolyn Bagley Harding the trail has been named in her honor.
At the ceremony, Governor Parson emphasized the need for citizens to come together to make projects like this happen as well as the importance of bringing investment to “the northern part of the state from I-70 across the state on up.”
The first phase of the FLATS trail in Kirksville, Phase 3.1, is a .7 mile paved, ADA-accessible segment from the FLATS-Theta Psi Trailhead starting at the corner of Osteopathy Street and Missouri Street and extending west through the woods along Missouri Street.
Phase 3.1 opened in 2021 was funded through a $184,615 Recreational Trails Program grant, generous donations from across the community, and a major donation from the Adair County SB40 Developmental Disability Board.
FLATS-Theta Psi Trailhead
Alta Planning and Design, a national firm dedicated to active transportation, designed the FLATS-Theta Psi Trailhead to be constructed in stages using diverse funding sources.
Key amenities include a nature playscape, a parking lot, a pavilion funded through a Missouri Department of Conservation grant and a major donation from Alliant Bank, multiple FLATS petroglyph benches, and an ADA-accessible restroom.
The historic and storied Theta Psi Fraternity donated the land for the trailhead. Each time we’re there we think of the many events at the barn, not least its role in a vibrant live music scene in Kirksville.
Kirksville Rotary Nature Playscape
The nature playscape provides a natural play area where kids can get outside, climb to their hearts’ content, and play in as many ways to play as their imaginations can come up with. The playscape was developed to provide a comparable experience and access for people of all ages and abilities.
Three Kirksville Rotary clubs teamed up to receive the largest Rotary District 6040 Statewide Grant ever awarded, and have provided countless hours of sweat equity to make this project a reality.
FLATS Downtown Connector
In April 2023 the City of Kirksville was awarded a $271,103 federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant to construct a paved multimodal sidewalk connecting downtown Kirksville to Phase 3.1 along the north side of Washington Street. Construction will begin in 2025.
Why Start in The Park?
Prior to the opening of these Phases 1 and 2, park users had to walk or bike on two-lane roads without shoulders to get from the campgrounds to the central attractions of the park. Phase 1 connects these attractions, provides safe and direct access to the center of the park, and brings us closer to the ultimate goal of directly connecting Kirksville and Thousand Hills State Park.