Missouri parks department may get into canoe rental business

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An artist’s rendering of the proposed lodge to be built at the former site of Camp Zoe. It is expected to be completed by the end of the summer. (Huy Mach, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

EMINENCE, MO (KTVI) – The Missouri State Parks Department is set to open Echo Bluff State Park, located near the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Shannon County, later this summer.

The department is looking to obtain a permit to rent canoes to accommodate guests who may be interested in floating along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers. According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it’s a move that may not sit too well with state politicians and local canoe rental businesses.

Missouri issues just 15 canoe rental permits each year, putting the state in competition against small businesses. A spokeswoman for the state parks department said they would only own the permit and leave day-to-day operations with an as yet to be announced company.

In 2013, the state bought the property–once known as Camp Zoe–at auction for $640,000.