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MPRA is the legislative voice for parks and recreation in Missouri.

MPRA works to ensure the growth and improve the quality and accessibility of urban and rural parks, open spaces, recreational lands, facilities, and programs. We promote research and information dissemination on park, conservation, health and wellness, recreation, and leisure issues.

MPRA strives to maintain high standards of professional ethics and practices, promoting continuing education for its membership. The association encourages the support of college and university curricula to enhance research and assure a well-trained stream of future professionals.

MPRA cooperates with public, private, and volunteer agencies to assure provision of quality park, recreation and conservation programs.

2023 State Legislative Priorities

Building Healthy Individuals and Communities 

OBESITY Public parks and recreation facilities offer low cost opportunities for citizens of every age, ability, and income level to increase their level of physical activity, improve nutrition, and better connect with the natural environment, thereby preventing chronic and costly health problems. MPRA encourages the adoption of statute revisions that would allow local parks and recreation departments to increase recreational opportunities for its citizens, regardless of income level. “52% of people who visit park/recreation facilities do so to exercise.”

SMOKING MPRA has endorsed initiatives to create smoke-free environments for all citizens and support the increase of tobacco tax, currently the lowest in the nation, which would encourage smoking cessation. Additionally, we support the use of the increased tax revenue to be used for programs that promote healthy and active lifestyles.

ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE Alcohol and drug use is widespread and ranks as one of the nation’s most serious health problems. The problem should be addressed at the individual, community, state, and national levels, working together to lessen the demand for alcohol and other drugs. MPRA stands ready to cooperate fully to assist our communities to promote a drug-free society.

FUNDING The state should take the lead in developing policies, practices, and funding infrastructure to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles that best utilize parks and recreation facilities that currently exist. We recommend support for making parks and recreation agencies eligible for all state programs targeting youth and adults for healthy physical activities, development of life skills, environmental education, and crime prevention/intervention programs.

FUNDING INITIATIVES MPRA supports a comprehensive bonding package that provides increased funding for Missouri state parks and trails, along with its higher education institutions. Parks and trails provide an enriched quality of life for all Missourians regardless of geography or socioeconomic status. Modernized, state-of-the-art facilities prepare Missouri students for real world experiences and allow for a seamless transition into the workplace. Support for such initiatives will enhance the lives of all Missouri citizens. MPRA encourages elected officials to consider the specific differences between capital expenditures and maintenance when considering bonding decisions.

Funding for Tourism

Communities across Missouri benefit from visitors who not only learn about all there is to offer in the state, but also contribute significantly to the local economy. The robust marketing of tourism opportunities is critical to drawing those visitors to every part of Missouri, and the Dept. of Tourism is the logical source of those efforts. MPRA supports the restoration of funding to the Missouri Dept. of Tourism, returning to 2016 levels. “Tourism in Missouri generated $1.4 billion in local and state tax revenue in FY2016.”

Tax Initiatives

Missouri's cities rely upon sales and property taxes for general fund, operations, and capital improvements. MPRA urges the Missouri General Assembly to respect the voice of local voters by requiring sales taxes that are collected from online sales to be apportioned by the Missouri State Revenue Department to funded entities in Missouri in exactly the same apportionment as sales taxes collected locally within Missouri.


Access to safe, well-maintained community connections is a priority for Missouri’s citizens. In 2013-14, Missouri was named the “Best Trails State” by American Trails, reflecting the efforts put into the development of major trail systems, including Katy Trail State Park. Such systems, soon to include the Rock Island corridor, contribute significantly to local economies, support conservation, promote alternative transportation, and connect communities to nature and to each other. MPRA supports initiatives that enable local and state agencies to develop and promote trail connections across Missouri. “Walking is the #1 preferred form of exercise for Americans.”  

Environmental Stewardship

The State of Missouri should help take the lead in supporting and implementing practices statewide, which protect human life, preserve the environment, and conserve valuable natural resources. Municipal, county, and state parks and recreation departments assist in promoting a commitment to clean air, water, the wise use of our natural resources, and stewardship of public and private lands. We oppose any changes to the makeup of the Conservation Commission or to the process by which the Commission is appointed. We oppose any attempts to infringe on constitutional mandate under which the Commission carries out its mission. Any disposal of public lands for use(s) other than public recreation should be cautiously considered and be approved by a vote of the public.

MPRA Legislative and Critical Issues Committee Members

Mike Snyder, Chair  Columbia

Bob Belote  Springfield

Katie Buford  Nixa

Matt Crouse  Nixa

Brian Nowotny  Jackson County

Chad Shoemaker  Mexico Area

Chad Unterreiner  Mexico

Chris Deal  Warrensburg

Clark Allen  Poplar Bluff Area

Ryan Graham  St. Charles County

Alyssa Groeteke  St. Louis County

Jim Kent  St. Louis Area

Paul Kettenbach  St. Louis County

John Shelton  Lebanon

Michael Biedenstein  St. Louis Area

Rodney Sadler  Kirksville

Vicki Ventrella-Meyer  Bridgeton

William Lockwood  Jefferson City Area

Brittanie Propes  Parkville

Tera Baker  Bridgeton

Troy Bock  Moberly

MPRA Officers

President, Jeff Stubblefield  Maryville

President-Elect, Dave Musgrave Ferguson

Immediate Past President, Gabe Huffington Columbia

Secretary/Treasurer, Nate Williams Excelsior Springs

Executive Director, Gary Gates

Assistant Executive Director, Sarah Veile

Legislative Representative, Kyna Iman, LLC