Land and Life in the Ozarks--Ozarks Tourism and Recreation Industry

Land and Life in the Ozarks--Ozarks Tourism and Recreation Industry

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(dulcimer music playing) [Announcer] The Southwest Missouri State  University Department of Geography-Geology   presents Land and Life in the Ozarks.  This course is one of several units   of study offered in Ozark Regional Studies at SMSU   and is designed to enhance appreciation  of the cultural heritage of this region. [Rafferty] The lecture today deals with an  important aspect of the Ozark economy--the   tourist and recreation industry. In today's  lecture I want to cover three points--first,  

the location of the Ozarks with reference to  its tourist market, then I'll talk about the   economic importance of the tourist recreation  industry focusing primarily on Missouri where   data is available. And then we'll do  a reconnaissance of the major tourist   and recreation attractions in the Ozark region by  tourist recreation region as outlined in the text.   By way of perspective I should I think mention  that the recreation industry really began   before the turn of the century in  the Ozarks. In the 1880s and 1890s   a number of health spas were opened  in the region. This was a time when   springs and spas were popular in the United  States. It seemed that each spring virtually in  

the United States tried to ape the tremendous  development at Saratoga Springs in New York.   I suppose the most successful of these spas was  Eureka Springs in Arkansas and in this slide   we see an early view of Eureka Springs. Really I  think this picture was taken in the 1930s, but you   can see some of the bath houses in the downtown  area, and of course a large and rather elegant   hotel was built at Eureka Springs. The railroads  of course brought people into these resorts and   float fishing became popular on the White  River and on the James River, before the White River was dammed and  before the James River was polluted.   The real era of tourist development began  in the 1920s when the automobile which,   if we can see the next slide, I managed to find an  old picture of the open touring car in the Ozarks,   but the automobile opened up the area and as roads  were improved of course tourism became important.   The limiting factor, of course, was the  small number of good roads that they.  

that the tourists could travel on. Next I'd like to talk a little bit about the  Ozark tourism resource base in relation to   the market area. The Ozarks is the only  hill district in the midsection of the   United States and this is important. Because  for the flatlanders around the Ozarks it's a  

long ways to travel to a similar location. It's  a long ways back to the Appalachians in the east,   and quite a distance farther to  the Rocky Mountains to the west.   If we could have the next slide then,  this is a map that shows the location of   national parks and national forests in the  United States. You've seen it before but   you can see that the Ozark region is really the  only area where a lot of public land is available   and it's close to large population centers too.  So we're talking about 800 miles to the east to   find similar kinds of open land, and likewise you  all the way to the Rocky Mountains to the west.  

In the next slide we see the Ozark  region in relation to major cities.   Within a day's drive, and here on this  map, you see Kansas City, St. Louis,   Tulsa in the southwest, but within a day's  drive are cities like Chicago--fairly   convenient days drive to the Ozarks--Little Rock to the south,   Memphis, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Topeka,  Dallas/Fort Worth, so a large population   potential market at least around the Ozarks. Now  as far as the economic importance of the Ozarks   of tourism and recreation to the Ozarks, it's  difficult to get data that pertains to the Ozarks,   that the reason being is that nobody bothers  to collect it for the Ozark region per se.   State tourism commissions collect data  on tourists, and surprisingly they really   weren't that interested in doing much  research until fairly recent times.  

The best data that I could find by writing to  the tourism commissions and in the various states   in the Ozarks came from Missouri. Prior  to, that is in former years, the tourism   commissions functioned primarily as information  agencies and advertising agencies of the state.   But I think we can extrapolate  some of the data from Missouri and make   it apply to the Ozarks. If we can have  the next slide we see that the origin of   tourists in Missouri comes  from states adjacent to it.   In fact Missouri is her own best customer. 40.7  percent of the tourist visitors in Missouri are  

Missourians. But I think if you look at this  map a little in some detail you'll see that   the largest numbers are from states with large  populations such as Illinois, which provides 15   percent of the total. But then on the other hand  you have states such as Kentucky and Tennessee   which supply fewer visitors because they have  similar recreational resources. There's really  

no reason for a Kentuckian or Tennessean to come  to the Ozarks for lakes and hills because he has   the same type of resources available in his home  state. Likewise on the other hand Kansas which had   has a smaller population has no tourist  recreation resources similar to the Ozarks, so   they send a substantial percentage of the visitors  to the state of Missouri and presumably most of   them or many of them at least go to the Ozark  region. This graph that you're looking at now   was compiled by the federal  government and it shows the   demand, projected demand, for various types  of tourist recreation activities. The three   stages on each graph there or each line  represents the level of recreational   use in 1960, in 1976, and then projected to the  year 2000. And just going from the top and without  

putting in figures, we see, I'll just read the  categories from the top--driving for pleasure,   then swimming, the next category is outdoor  sports, then picnicking, fishing, hunting,   camping, and boating. I think if you look at the  graph in each case you see that by the year 2000   the usage of in each of these categories will  have at least doubled and sometimes tripled.   Well what this means, I guess, is that since  the Ozarks has good tourists or good resources   in these categories, the future for tourism and  recreation is apparently bright over the long run.   In the next slide we see statistics which  don't show up all together good here.  

In Missouri there were 28,800,000 visitors  or travelers in Missouri during 1974.   This is the most recent data that I could  obtain. Now the statistics for their   expenditures are impressive. The average  tourist in Missouri spent $16.50 a day.  

The average stay was four days, and the group  or the family average size was three. Well if   you do a little multiplication $16.50 times  four days times three people, that's $187.50   per tourist visit by a family visiting the state.  In the next slide we see that the gross sales from   tourism is now over $2 billion in Missouri. Now  I would assume that much of this is in the Ozarks   region because that's where a lot of  the tourist attractions are found.   Notice that the increase  since 1972 is substantial.  

And this is a growing part of the sector of  the economy, and perhaps partly responsible   for the population growth that has occurred  in the Ozarks. In the next slide we see some   interesting statistics as to how the tourist  dollar is spent. It is spent or spread fairly   widely. Transportation accounts for 36.4 cents of  the tourist dollar that is spent; food, 21 cents;   lodging, 17.5 cents; gifts, 6/10 of a cent;  entertainment, 6.3 cents of every tourist dollar;   and incidentals which would include I suppose  fishing equipment, boating equipment, and hunting   equipment, and so on, 18.4 cents of the tourist  dollar. The next slide shows that out of state  

visitors spent $900 million of the $2 billion  that were spent in the state. Now this represents   new money which does stimulate the economy in  secondary industries and services, or I guess what   an economist would refer to as a basic tourism  and then it is a basic industry to the region. Then so much for the importance of the tourist  recreation industry. Next I'd like to turn to   the recreation regions of the  state. If we can look at the map,  

I'll point out, this is the same map that is in  your text and I'll be looking we'll be looking   at a series of slides, I wanted to point this out  on the map before we start into the slide so by   way of orientation. I have identified tourist  recreation regions as areas of concentration of   tourist activities and recreation activities. I've  identified five of these regions in the Ozarks and   certainly they don't include all of the tourist  and recreation attractions, but they represent   concentrations of these activities. The first that  we'll be looking at is the Interstate 44 region   where a number of tourist attractions have been  developed along the interstate. It's not that   the attractions are so spectacular; there are some  interesting ones there, but simply the volume of   traffic here is a major factor in creating this  tourist recreation area. The next one we'll look  

at is the Lake of the Ozarks region, and of course  the Lake of the Ozarks is the focus for this   well-established tourist recreation region.  The largest of the regions we'll look at   then, the third one, is the Ozark playground  region which includes not only some large cities   such as Springfield and Joplin, but its main  focus of attraction is in the lake district,   including lakes like Bull Shoals and Taneycomo  and Table Rock and Beaver and Grand Lake of the   Cherokees in Oklahoma and other lakes. Then  we'll look at the Big Springs area which is a   developing tourist recreation area in the  interior Ozarks, and then finish up with the St.  

Francois region, which includes the St. Francois  Mountains, the old lead belt, and Ste. Genevieve.   I have some shots of developing tourist recreation  areas such as Dogpatch and the area around   Mountain View in Arkansas. If we have in the first  slide we see here the first of the slides that   in the I-44 tourist recreation  region. This is Meramec Caverns.   Inside Meramec Caverns is one of  the more spectacular attractions is   what's known as the stage curtains, interesting  cave travertine. This next picture you're looking  

at now is the jungle room in Meramec Caverns, also  has some interesting stalactites and stalagmites.   This material is simply referred to  as drip stone or cave travertine.   Nearby is the Onondaga cave. This is a shot  of the lily pad room in Onondaga Cave.  

And the next one is the shot of the cathedral  hall in Onondaga Cave. Of course these are   major attractions in that area. Then if we can  look at the first slide for the Lake of the Ozarks   region. One of the major attractions in the Lake  of the Ozarks region is simply its rugged terrain,   and there's abundance of open space and wooded  hills and steep bluffs such as you see along   the meander loop here in the Gasconade River. And  in the fall of the year, plenty of good hunting.   During deer season this region attracts many  hunters from Kansas City and St. Louis and even   out of state hunters. In the spring we see here  a shot of Bennett Springs opening day. It's a  

trout hatchery, and of course the sport  fishermen are out in full strength during   the early spring. In the next slide we see  Bagnell Dam, which is really the key to   this whole tourist recreation region. The  dam was constructed in the late 1920s,   and of course the lake provides the focus for  much of the tourist development. One of the   most elegant of the tourist recreation resorts on  the lake is Tan-Tar-A, and here we see a view of   Tan-Tar-A. It's a planned tourist recreation  development and in the next picture we see a  

rather interesting picture of this at  night. Nearby are country music halls,   gift shops, and motels, amusement parks,  which really make us 54 Highway a tourist   strip development, which in some respects  detracts from the beauty of the region.   Here we see the state capital at Jefferson City  which is outside the Lake of the Ozarks region,   but close by and annually this attracts a  number of tourists to see the capital and the   city of Jefferson City. In the next slide  we see another of these outlying tourist   attractions. This is at Hermann, Missouri, which  is a center for German settlement and here we see   people dressed in the local, or in the native  costumes of the Germans. The town has  

interesting architecture and the old wineries  are open during the Maifest and the Oktoberfest. The first of the slides for the Ozark  playground association is a scene of   in the National Cemetery at  Springfield. Springfield is sort of the   gateway to this region, and it has a number of  attractions the National Cemetery of course is   where the soldiers who were killed at Wilson's  Creek battle in the Civil War are buried.   The Wilson Creek Battlefield National Park is  south and west of the city. Spring is a good time  

for a visit to this area and because the dogwood  and redbud are in bloom during this season.   Likewise in the fall of the year a number of,  hundreds really, hundreds of tourists visit this   section of the state because of the fall colors  particularly blending in with the glade lands.   Camping and outdoor activities abound and there  are good facilities for group camping such as   this scene you see here of  Camp Arrowhead near Marshfield,   but church camps are also very numerous. The large springs such as the one that we see  in the next slide at Roaring River are not only   scenic attractions but also they're good  camping locations and a great location for   sport fishing at the trout hatchery there.  The lakes are the focus for many of the

attractions, and in this next slide we see a  view of Table Rock but also the other lakes   in that vicinity are major attractions, including  the lakes in Oklahoma. I suppose the outstanding   attraction of this area is Silver Dollar City,  which we see in the next view. This is an aerial   view and the area in the city has been expanded  considerably since this time. In the same area   is Shepherd of the Hills farm and several country  music halls and a tourist strip development   on Highway 76 between Silver Dollar City and  Branson. At Silver Dollar City we see several   traditional practices or occupations in the  Ozarks that have been preserved. It's developed  

as a midwestern Williamsburg or on that theme.  Wagon manufacturing is another of the crafts that   have been preserved at Silver Dollar City. In the  next slide we see Hollister which is located on   Taneycomo Lake across the lake from Branson. It  was one of the towns that was established after  

Powersite Dam was built in 1914. Has the English  half timber design on the buildings. There are   some sort of off-beat tourist attractions. The  mine dumps in the tri-state district are locations   that amateur geologists and history buffs  enjoy visiting. Seems that each town has some   attraction in the summer months. One of the  more unusual ones is the snake hunt at Chadwick.  

Mostly they catch copperheads and sometimes  if they're short of snakes they borrow a few,   import a few, from Oklahoma. Western  diamondbacks are not native to the area   but they do show up in the attraction  there. But no one really cares because,   as you see in the next picture, there's plenty  of local country music and ice cream, and   the politicians are out gathering votes and  everyone has a good time. Here we see   one of I suppose somewhat controversial tourist  attraction. This is the Christ of the Ozarks   at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Nearby is an outdoor  pavilion where the Passion Play is enacted.  

The region also has a number of attractive mills  such as you see here at Riverdale on the Finley   River, a favorite place for tourists to visit  not only for the scenery, but for the water   that's there for swimming and for fishing. In  the Big Springs area in the interior Ozarks,   I suppose the most popular sport is the float  trip. And here we see canoes going down the   Jacks Fork. The Jacks Fork and Current River  have been set aside as part of the National  

Scenic Riverways as has the Buffalo River in  Arkansas. This is a controversial move. Many of   the local residents feel that the area would have  been preserved better had it been retained under   private control. These interior Ozark streams are  quite attractive, and in the next slide we see   there's plenty of room for camping and the  fishing isn't bad and cooking fish over an   open fire attracts a lot of visitors to the area.  They're good swimming streams and here we see some   visitors from Kansas enjoying the tremendously  cold water at Blue Springs on the North Fork   River. They make good family streams because the  rivers, they do have the riffles and they're fun   to run but they're safe and you can walk out of  them; in most locations they're quite shallow   for the most part. This area is being developed  now and in the next slide we see the moonshine  

still that the Park Service has established at  Alley Springs. And this is drawing attractions,   nearby is the bluegrass festival, which you see  a sign here, that this takes place around the   Fourth of July, so the area is beginning  to develop as a tourist recreation area.   The next region we'll look at  is the St. Francois region and   one of the things that's very popular in the St. Francois  region is getting out and driving around in the   rugged terrain. Jeep rallies are very popular  at Lesterville. This attracts the all-terrain   vehicle enthusiasts almost weekly to this area.  Many of them come in from the St. Louis area. Also  

other attractions in this area would include  the Elephant Rocks which we see in this picture,   hiking and the scenic view from  there, the Johnson Shut-Ins,   Taum Sauk Reservoir is a good place and there is  a fine museum there at the reservoir. Here we see   a mine tour at Bonne Terre and a mine museum,  which attracts not only the amateur geologist   but also the person that's interested  in the history of the old lead belt.   Here we see a view of Ste. Genevieve where the  French 18th century architecture is preserved.  

I suppose the best example in the Midwest.  There are also interesting old ghost towns   in this area. This is Wittenberg in Perry County,   and many people enjoy simply traveling  and going through these old towns.   In the Arkansas Ozarks and in the Boston Mountains  there's really very little in the way of tourist   development but it's an interesting place to  drive through, and here we see in the next slide   that you can, if you get off the road  far enough, find some actual authentic   handicraft industries. But to find  authentic handicraft industries   you really have to get onto the side roads.  And south of Harrison there is a developing   theme park. This is Dogpatch with Daisy Mae and  Li'l Abner and Marryin' Sam welcoming the crowd.  

This is I suppose the main tourist attraction  that's located actually in the Boston Mountains.   In the next view we see one of the popular  rides at Dogpatch. This is Earthquake McGoon's   Brain Buster, I believe, or Brain Rattler  I believe is what they refer to it as.   Another area that is developing and it's  outside the other tourist recreation areas is   in the vicinity of Mountain View, Arkansas. The  natural attraction here is Blanchard Springs which   is to the north of Mountain View, which you see  here, and also Blanchard Caverns which has been   developed by the National Park Service. It's one  of the most spectacular caverns in the Ozarks. The  

limitation I suppose is the fact that it's located  somewhat remote and as roads are improved into   this area it will undoubtedly develop as a major  tourist attraction. Close by of course is Mountain   View where the Ozark Folk Center is located. Here  the federal government has spent a substantial   amount of money on this development. And in  each of these pavilions that you see here are  

individual handicraft industries where you can  see the people engaged in manufacturing musical   instruments and all sorts of handicrafts  that once were important in the area.   One of these we see in the next view a corn shuck  doll, or corn husk doll I guess is the proper   word. But there are a number of these handicrafts  in the in this area--manufacturing of lye soap and   chairs and baskets and so on. An interesting  thing about the Ozark Folk Center is that they   actually carry on instruction in some of the  early day instruments such as the dulcimer   as you see in this picture.  There's also instruction in  

playing the fiddle and the fiddler here  is a man by the name of Fate Morrison.   And then even some of the more exotic  types of musical instruments. Here we   see people "pickin' bow" as it's referred to,  and there's always some type of entertainment   at the center--square dancing and other  types of dancing going on all the time.   This area is not developed as much commercially  as have areas in more accessible regions. In concluding I think I should say  that the tourist recreation industry   is not without its drawbacks and in some ways  it's controversial because as more people   come into the area, and it simply means that the  tourist recreation resources will be used more   intensively, and not everyone  is in agreement with this.   It follows that deterioration of the resources  will simply have to come as more people are using   them. You can't have your cake and eat it too.  Overdevelopment is also a serious problem as  

more second home developments are laid out than  are actually needed; this destroys some of the   habitat and some of the scenic beauty of the area.  And of course as dams and reservoirs are built,   these can only be built at the  expense of good float streams. This will then conclude my presentation on  the tourist recreation industry of the Ozarks.   In the next lecture I have a guest, Dr. William  Cheek of the Department of Geography and Geology   and he'll talk about his favorite  topic on the Ozarks--manufacturing. (music playing) [Announcer] For course information  concerning Land and Life in the Ozarks,   contact Dr. Milton Rafferty,  Department Head, Geography-Geology,  

Southwest Missouri State University,  Springfield Missouri, 65802.

2021-03-02 02:33

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