I asked my friend Carl who travels quite a bit to write a blog entry we could use on this site. He contributed the attached article below on Don Robinson State Park.
Why is The Don Robinson Missouri State Park special? First let’s start with who is Don Robinson.
Don was born in 1927 and grew up in suburban St. Louis. He made his fortune manufacturing and selling “OFF” stain and spot remover on late night TV. An extremely frugal bachelor all his life, Don wanted to live with few neighbors. In the mid 1960’s he purchased the first 320 acres in Jefferson County for $21,000. He would add to this until reaching his goal equaling the 843 acres of Central Park in New York City. In 1978 he moved from St. Louis to his property in Cedar Hill where he manufactured his “OFF” spot remover. The land and trust for perpetual upkeep was bequeathed to the state following Don’s death in 2012.
Don Robinson is Missouri’s 51st state park opened January 2017 and located in Jefferson County. A few of the botanical and stone treasures are the abundance of plant diversity and St. Peter sandstone uses. Believe it or not, 552 plant species, 40 fish species, and 106 moss species (including Christmas Moss) were identified in the park. St. Peter sandstone is unique in that it can be used for glass manufacturing, extraction of oil (fracking), and enriching the soil with a lower PH (higher acid) leading to abundant primitive plant life. This sandstone is 99% pure silica grains and was formed 450 million years ago.
Sandstone Canyon Trail (the only trail I took) is 4.0 miles long loop with forested hillsides, open glades and glacial flowers. One of many different trees on this hike is a “Shaggy Bark Hickory Tree”. Bats hide from predators under the bark. This hike is flat and paved for 0.6 miles and then becomes quite hilly with a 270 foot elevation gain with rocks, roots and downed vegetation comprising the trail. A heavily damaged dam can be seen from the trail and if you take a spur, you can descend into a deep canyon.
LaBarque Hills Trail is a 2.40 mile loop with a moderate rating (same as the trail above). This trail has many rock formations exposed in outcroppings throughout.
Hope you enjoy your hiking in Missouri’s 51 state park!