843 acre tract of LaBarque Hills becomes new state park
UPDATED 12:46 p.m. We’ve added a photo of Mr. Robinson, a link to a KETC video interview and an aerial map to the area.
(Photos from Hilda Young Conservation Area, located nearby in the LaBarque Hills, by Jo Schaper)
Due to the generosity of Don Robinson, the 87th Missouri state park has just become reality.
And it is almost in Jo’s back yard, just a few miles southeast of Pacific. Mr. Robinson, age 84, who became wealthy from a stain removing product he manufactured called “Off”, died in the Pacific Care Center on Monday March 19. With his passing, the property he lived on in the LaBarque Hills in extreme northwest Jefferson County becomes the newest addition to the Missouri state park system, although it will be some time before it is officially opened to the public.
The LaBarque Hills are a unique topographic and geological feature of the northwest Jefferson County/northeast Franklin County area. The landscape is rugged, with knobby hills and steep ridges, featuring the near pristine and species diverse LaBarque Creek which winds its way across the St. Peter sandstone bedrock, carving shallow caves, and small waterfalls, supporting an acidic soil-based ecosystem directly adjacent to the more alkaline limestone topography.
Despite its nearness to St. Louis, the area is inhabited, but has remained largely undeveloped due to the rugged terrain. LaBarque Creek Conservation Area, Hilda Young Conservation Area, and the Labarque Creek Natural Area are nearby. The new park adjoins the St. Joseph’s Hill Infirmary/Black Madonna Grotto and Shrine, a religious based nursing home serving both laypeople and aged religious run by the Franciscan brothers.
Robinson’s tract is on the upper part of the watershed, near LaBarque Creek Conservation Area and adjoining the Infirmary property.
KETC interview with Mr. Robinson. Link courtesy of www.mostateparks.com
We heard the news Monday, however, STLToday.com provided more details, both on Mr. Robinson and the property transfer.
(Jo Note: Though I didn’t realize OFF was a local product until last night, I heard somewhere that Mr. Robinson put his address on his product, I was curious. I actually found a mostly used up tube on my laundry table: here is the visual evidence.)