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Council allows Missouri Department of Conservation to operate Wildcat Park center

The Joplin City Council has approved an ordinance to allow the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to operate the Center in Wildcat Park.

In 2003, the City, MDC, and Audubon agreed that Audubon would and the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center. In 2005, the city entered into a ground lease with the Conservation Department for the approximate 58-acre area known as Wildcat Park.

Last year, Audubon gave notice to MDC that it wanted to terminate the assignment.

At last night’s meeting, (Monday, May 20, 2019) the City approved one ordinance authorizing the termination of the earlier agreement that included the Audubon Society.

A second ordinance allowed the City of Joplin to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Wildcat Glades Friends Group, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation . . . for the purpose of establishing responsibilities in maintaining and operating Wildcat Park . . . .

Is the park still popular as it ever was?

“If you go out on a Sunday afternoon and it’s sunny, you’ll see the trail is packed,” says Steve Gaarder of the Wildcat Glades Friends Group. “Its getting heavy use. We want to encourage that and make sure that’s a safe experience for people.”

Gaarder says his group will work with the MDC from now on to maintain the trail near Shoal Creek on the south side of Joplin.

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