Expect a rejuvenated Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park now that the legal issues have been resolved. Natural Resources Department Director Doyle Childers says the settlement with AmerenUE will clear the way for a new Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, while remembering December 14th, 2005 when a billion gallons of water broke free from the Taum Saulk Reservoir, down Proffit Mountain and into the park.
Childers says the re-opened park will include interpretive signs explaining the disaster. A scar down Proffit Mountain will remain visible.
The flood swept away the superintendent’s house. Jerry Toops, his wife and three children, have recovered from their injuries. The family reached their own settlement with Ameren. Its terms have not been disclosed. The superintendent’s residence will be rebuilt, but not at the same location. All that was left of the old house was the foundation which has been filled in.
Surveys of visitors convinced the State Natural Resources Department to move the campground. Childers says about 70% of the visitors admitted that they would be nervous if the campground were rebuilt at the same location. It will be rebuilt, only it will be rebuilt a mile away at Goggins Mountain. Childers says adjustments were made by DNR to allay any such fears.
Childers says the state reached the best settlement it could to not only rebuild Johnson’s Shut-Ins, but to develop a new park on the Current River on the east side of the state and to extend the Katy Trail to Kansas City on the west side of the state. It says all of that will provide compensation for the damages done to the state park system.