Kirksville Rotary Club Grant Completes Trailhead Lighting

Lighting at the FLATS-Theta Psi Trailhead received a serious upgrade thanks to the support of the Kirksville Rotary Club, which secured a $2,500 District 6040 Matching Grant and raised an additional $2,500 match for that grant.

These funds were used to match part of the Missouri Department of Conservation Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Partnership Grant FLATS received, bringing the total raised to $10,000.

Thanks to the Kirksville Rotary Club and Compass Electric for funding and installing this critical–and beautiful–piece of the trailhead and to Ameren for donating the light poles.

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FLATS Phase 2 Opening Brings Governor to Northeast Missouri

Governor Mike Parson visited Thousand Hills State Park Tuesday, October 18 to celebrate the FLATS Phase 2 ribbon cutting with Senator Cindy O’Laughlin, Representatives Danny Busick and Greg Sharpe, and Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Dru Buntin.

Phase 2 completes the approximately 1.3 mile 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 how people need 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.” FLATS is living proof that the governor hit the nail on the head on both points.

Senator O’Laughlin drove home the economic benefits of the project that have motivated FLATS from the start: “Every investment that is made here gets paid back to us in triple form.” Director Buntin added that “these projects keep the state moving forward and have helped establish Missouri as a top destination for business expansion.”

And Representative Busick summed it all up saying, “a walking trail is a great thing.”

Director Buntin also made an exciting announcement about a project FLATS has initiated with the Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation: A five-mile natural surface trail connecting Campground #1 and the Thousand Hills Trailhead in Big Creek Conservation Area. “The completion of this trail will,” Buntin explained, “create a full loop for Thousand Hills Trail users.”

In other words, you’ll soon be able to hike or mountain bike a full fifteen-mile loop around beautiful Forest Lake! This is a true game-changer for outdoor recreation, public health, and tourism in northeast Missouri. Stay tuned for a map and expected opening date.

As Governor Parson said, “This is Missouri’s best, right here.”

Attending the ceremony were City Manager Mari Macomber, Director of Tourism Sharon Swehla, ATSU Vice President and General Counsel Matt Heeren, Park Superintendent Ryan Persinger, Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Mike Sutherland, FLATS board members Susan Dublin, Ted Frushour, and Debi Boughton, and representatives from design firm Klingner and Associates and construction firm S&A Equipment and Builders.

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Phase 2 Construction Moving Fast

Progress has been fast and furious on Phase 2, which adds another .71 miles to the FLATS system.

This will extend Phase 1 – which connects the marina to Campground #2 – to the beautiful new park office, the pedestrian lanes on Big Loop Trail, the Thousand Hills Trail Head, and Campground #1.

With Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3.1 (which runs along Missouri St. west from Osteopathy), we’ve completed over two miles of the system.

Photo Credit: Ray Jagger


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Truman Students Raise $15,707 for FLATS for Homecoming Week

FLATS was honored to be Truman’s 2021 Homecoming philanthropy and is deeply grateful that so many organizations stepped up in amazing ways to raise no less than $15,707 to help keep FLATS moving forward!

All told thirty-two campus organizations helped fundraise with many hosting multiple events. We won’t list every last one, but here are a few! Alpha Gamma Delta sold and then delivered over 100 treats from To Die For Bakery. Members of at least three organizations let themselves be “dunked” for three dollars apiece. Delta Zeta hosted a date night at Mi Casa restaurant, which shared part of the proceeds from each meal. National honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi sold custom-made earrings made by one of their members. And a Delta Chi got his head shaved after receiving the most donations of anyone in the fraternity!

Thanks to the amazing Homecoming Committee and all the organizations that participated: Sigma Alpha, Beta Omega Beta, Phi Sigma Pi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Cardinal Key, Phi Lambda Phi, National Education Association (NEA), Phi Sigma Kappa, National Association of Black Accountants, Delta Zeta, Sigma Kappa, Delta Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Tau Lambda Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Lambda, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Gamma Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Alpha Sigma Gamma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Beta Theta Pi, Alpha Gamma Rho, Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Beta Sigma, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Sigma Tau Gamma, Association of Black Collegians, KLIFE, and the Elementary Education Club.

Pictured (L-R): Rebecca Conover (Homecoming Advisor), Heidi Speth (Advancement Office Representative), JaLisa Wines (Public Relations Coordinator), Ashley Burgess (Design and Outreach Coordinator), Maggie Hart (Philanthropy Coordinator), Jesse Wren (Homecoming Coordinator), Katy Noland (Homecoming Director), Austin Graham (Lip Sync Coordinator), Liz Christal (Events Coordinator), Xoe Zuber (Ceremony Coordinator).

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Join us for the 11th Annual FLATS Trail Half Marathon

The FLATS Trail Half Marathon is firmly in its second decade and has become a destination race for runners from across the country with folks from over 23 states coming to Adair County to experience our trails!

This year features a $500 prize for a new male or female course record, live music, soft-tissue massage, FLATS Trail Pale Ale (courtesy of the Kirksville Guild of Brewers), and most of all the chance to enjoy the beautiful Thousand Hills Trail and then, after the race, the chance to kick back and celebrate your run at Jackson Stables.

Register now (and learn more about the race) at, or contact us if you’d like to volunteer!

As always, we couldn’t do it without our incredible sponsors, Northeast Regional Medical Center, KTVO, Kirksville Motor Company, Visit Kirksville, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, New Concepts Open MRI, West Winery at Jackson Stables, Lakeside Dining Marina & Cabins, The DuKum Inn, Golden Eagle Distributing, Missouri State Parks, Missouri Department of Conservation, Smoothie King, Running Wild, Gordon-Motter Construction, Bellacino’s, Hy-Vee, and the Kirksville Guild of Brewers.

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Register Today for the Royal Oaks Sunrise Trail Race

After a break in 2020, the Royal Oaks Sunrise Trail Race 10k run and 3 mile walk is back on Saturday, August 28 with a 6:30 am sharp start!

We created this race to help get folks out on our beautiful trails in Big Creek Conservation Area and Thousand Hills State Park, and with its rock bottom $10 entry fee you might as well register now at (remember to set your alarm too).

The 10k starts at the Royal Oaks Trail Head on the south end of Big Creek Conservation Area, runs north along Royal Oaks Ridge for about 1.5 miles, then takes the Rainbow Basin Loop counter-clockwise before returning to the Royal Oaks Trail Head while the 3 mile course runs south 1.5 miles on Royal Oaks Ridge then returns back.

And this year you also have a chance to purchase a FLATS Trucker Hat when you register thanks to the incredible support of official race hotel Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

As always many thanks to all the volunteers, to the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Missouri State Parks for maintaining these trails so we can all enjoy them.

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Kirksville Rotary Clubs Team Up to Create Nature Playscape

Kirksville Rotary, which has supported FLATS in countless ways over the years, has done it again. All three of the local clubs teamed up to receive the largest Rotary District 6040 Statewide Grant ever awarded making it possible to build a beautiful nature playscape at the FLATS-Theta Psi Trail Head on the southwest corner of Osteopathy and Missouri.

Not only did Rotary secure funds to pay for construction and purchase a massive play log, dozens of amazing boulders quarried in northeast Missouri, and some huge local tree trunks with this grant, they also brought volunteers armed with heavy equipment, truckloads of rock, and tools to plan, clear, grade, and build much of the playscape. Thanks to their hundreds of hours of service local kids (and adults) now have access to an incredible, unique, and fun resource.

The nature playscape anchors Phase 3.1 of the Forest Lake Area Trail System, a .7 mile paved ADA-accessible path, providing 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, designed by Alta Planning and Design, Inc., was developed to provide a comparable experience and access for people of all ages and abilities.

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F*L*A*T*S Trail Half Marathon

F*L*A*T*S Trail Half Marathon

Saturday October 17, 2020 @ 8:30am

Thousand Hills State Park

Register Here!

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FLATS Uncle Sam 5K Run & 1.2 Mile Walk

Support the Forest Lake Area Trail System by running the FLATS Uncle Sam 5k (map) or walking the 1.2 mile course! Or run on your own route, VIRTUALLY.

Register at ACTIVE.COM

For more info on the All-American Red, White and Blue Festival 2020 visit

Online registration closes at 9:00 am Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Event details and schedule

Race and walk start at 9:00 am on Friday, July 3 at the DuKum Inn with a staggered 5k start to allow social distancing. All walkers will start separately from runners at 9:00 am.

Watch your email for start instructions and your individual runner start time. Runners who are not present at their assigned start time will not be allowed to run. 

Drive by packet pick-up Thursday, July 2 from noon to 6:00 pm at the Dukum Inn. There will be no race day packet pick-up or registration!

It could be hot so please plan accordingly!

All entrants receive a half buff, which can be worn as a face cover, and a handteen. Please bring a hydration device or fill your handteen before the race as we will be unable to provide hydration before the race or on the course.

Age Groups (5K only): 18 & under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+. Results will be posted at and on the Forest Lake Area Trail System Facebook page

Complimentary post-race beverages outside the DuKum if possible.

Thanks to our incredible sponsors Northeast Regional Medical Center, DuKum Inn, AT Still University, the City of Kirksville, and Visit Kirksville.

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Adair County SB40 Donation Supports Inclusive Trail Design

FLATS board members Debi Boughton, Randy Smith, and Dan Martin were honored to accept a generous $30,000 donation from the Adair County SB40 Developmental Disability Board.

These funds made it possible to begin construction of Phase 3.1 of the Forest Lake Trail System and develop a range of inclusive features at the FLATS-Theta Psi Trailhead at the corner of Missouri and Osteopathy.

These features include an .7 mile paved ADA-accessible trail and an innovative nature playscape that Alta Planning and Design, LLC, developed to provide a comparable outdoor play opportunity for people of all ages and abilities.

The Mission of the Adair County SB40 is to engage in advocacy, promote inclusion, and provide essential resources to assist people with developmental disabilities to live self-determined lives.

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