Missouri’s state park system, which on multiple occasions has been ranked as one of the top four state park systems in the nation, contains 91 state parks and historic sites. West Plains is fortunate to be close to four state parks.
Mammoth Spring (Arkansas) 36.5170074,-91.5960565
- 216 million gallons of water per day
- 10-acre lake
- 1886 Frisco Train Depot & Museum
- Arkansas Welcome Center
Mammoth Spring State Park, a National Natural Landmark, is Arkansas’ largest spring and one of the world’s largest springs. It forms a 10-acre lake then runs over a dam to start the Spring RIver.
Native Americans, particularly the Osage, inhabited the Mammoth Spring area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. Recorded local history dates to the early 1800s, when settlers called the spring “Head of the River.” In 1850, geologist David Dale Owen examined the spring itself, and the area became a tourist attraction. The first industry in the region was a simple wooden-wheel gristmill. While settlement was slow, a town did emerge just west of the spring, and the coming of the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway (Frisco) in 1883 launched an era of progress.
The 225-foot milldam provided power for a large flour production company, and the railroad brought tourists. A fifty-six-room resort and many cabins welcomed summer guests. One of the earliest national fish hatcheries was established there in 1903.
In 1925, the Arkansas-Missouri Power Company bought rights to the dam and built a hydroelectric plant there that provided power until 1972. Mammoth Spring was approved as a state park in 1957. ~ https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/mammoth-spring-state-park-1238/