Thousand Hills State Park

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Thousand Hills State Park
Missouri State Park
Aerial view of Thousand Hills
swim beach & cabins area
Country United States
State Missouri
County Adair
Elevation814 ft (248 m) [1]
Coordinates 40°10′30″N92°35′21″W / 40.17500°N 92.58917°W / 40.17500; -92.58917 Coordinates: 40°10′30″N92°35′21″W / 40.17500°N 92.58917°W / 40.17500; -92.58917   [1]
Area3,079.70 acres (1,246 ha) [2]
Established1952 [3]
Management Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Visitation332,299 (2017) [2]
USA Missouri location map.svg
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Location in Missouri
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Thousand Hills State Park (the US)
Website: Thousand Hills State Park
Thousand Hills State Park Petroglyphs Archeological Site
Thousand Hills Petroglyphs 1.jpg
Shelter protecting petroglyphs
at Thousand Hills State Park
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Nearest city Kirksville, Missouri
Area9.9 acres (4.0 ha)
NRHP reference # 70000320
Added to NRHPJanuary 23, 1970

Thousand Hills State Park is a public recreation area covering some 3,000 acres (1,200 ha)two miles (3.2 km) west of Kirksville in Adair County, Missouri. The state park features 703-acre (284 ha) Forrest Lake and Native American petroglyphs. [4]

Kirksville, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Kirksville is a city in and the county seat of Adair County, Missouri, United States. Located in the Benton Township, its population was 17,505 at the 2010 census. Kirksville is home to two colleges: Truman State University and A.T. Still University.

Adair County, Missouri County in the United States

Adair County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 25,607. Its county seat is Kirksville. The county was organized January 29, 1841, and named for Governor John Adair of Kentucky.

Missouri State of the United States of America

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.



In 1950, the nearby city of Kirksville was in need of a larger and more reliable water supply than the Chariton River could provide. Following voter passage of a special bond issue, land was acquired to construct a dam across Big Creek, a tributary of the Chariton. [5] Upon completion in summer 1952, the new body of water was named Forrest Lake in honor of Missouri Governor Forrest Smith. The family of local physician George Laughlin donated 1,100 acres (450 ha) surrounding the lake for the establishment of a recreation area. The city of Kirksville matched the donation by purchasing an additional 1,150 acres (470 ha). The lands were presented to the state of Missouri free of charge in return for the promise of establishing a state park. Upon its official dedication in July 1953, it was named Thousand Hills State Park, in honor of Doctor Laughlin's Thousand Hills Farm that had formerly occupied the land. [6]

Chariton River river in the United States of America

The Chariton River is a 218-mile-long (351 km) tributary to the Missouri River in southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri. The river forms in southeastern Clarke County, Iowa. It is dammed at 11,000-acre (45 km2) Rathbun Reservoir in Appanoose County, Iowa and then flows 30 miles (48 km) before entering Missouri where it forms the boundary between Putnam and Schuyler counties. It enters the Missouri River in Chariton County near Keytesville. 112 miles (180 km) are in Missouri and 106 miles (171 km) are in Iowa. The river has been called Missouri's "Grand Divide" because streams west of the Chariton flow into the Missouri and streams east of it flow into the Mississippi River.

Forrest Smith American politician

Forrest Smith was the 42nd Governor of Missouri. He was a Democrat.


A series of Native American rock carvings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are protected in an enclosed observation and interpretation center. The carvings are estimated to date back at least 1,500 years. [4]

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

Activities and amenities

The park's lake is used for fishing, swimming, and both motorized and non-motorized boating. A marina offers boat and equipment rentals. Two campgrounds provide a total of 57 campsites. Overnight accommodations are also offered at seven duplex cabins. Trails are available for hiking and bicycling and include the Forest Lake Trail, which is being developed in cooperation with the community volunteer organization FLATS (Forest Lake Area Trail System). [7]

The ultimate goal of the Forest Lake Area Trail System (FLATS) is to develop a trail system connecting Kirksville and Thousand Hills State Park. The first phase of the trail is a ten-foot wide concrete trail between the Petroglyph Site and Marina in Thousand Hills State Park. FLATS’ long-term mission is to support the use, development, promotion, and maintenance of trails in Adair County.

Annual events

The park hosts an annual bass tournament in spring. [8] The NEMO Triathlon formerly held in September was discontinued in 2017. [9]

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  1. 1 2 "Thousand Hills State Park". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  2. 1 2 "Thousand Hills State Park: Data Sheet" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. November 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  3. "State Park Land Acquisition Summary". Missouri State Parks. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "Thousand Hills State Park". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  5. We Would Just Like To Say Thank You by Chris Sieren & David Snyder, The Chariton Collector, Spring 1984
  6. A Book of Adair County History, Published by the Kirksville-Adair County Bicentennial Committee, 1976
  7. "Thousand Hills State Park: Trails". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  8. Berry, Kaitlin (May 17, 2014). "Annual tournament gets kids 'hooked' on fishing". Heartland Connection. Kirksville, Mo.: KTVO-TV. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  9. Hunsicker, Jason (November 6, 2017). "NEMO Triathlon ends its run after 33 years". Kirksville Daily Express. Kirksville, Mo. Retrieved April 30, 2018.