Bennett Spring State Park

(Photo courtesy

As KSMU reported last month, Missouri's state parks saw an overall six percent increase in attendance in 2014 compared to the previous year. In fact, Bennett Spring State Park, 12 miles west of Lebanon, saw an increase of 15%, to nearly 786,000 visitors last year. Now, on the cold, rainy Wednesday last week when I visited the park, you wouldn't have known it... as I walked down toward the Hatchery Outfall No.001, I saw three--count 'em, three--faithful anglers fly-fishing for the park's famous trout.  

Scott Harvey / KSMU

18.5 million people visited Missouri state parks in 2014. Governor Jay Nixon noted Tuesday that figure marks a six percent increase from the year before, and a 25 percent increase since 2008.

In the Ozarks, destinations like Roaring River, Bennett Spring and Current River state parks saw increases in tourism by 10, 15, and 35 percent, respectively.