Happy Trails

A nature center in Branson is in the works. Find out how the Branson community is coming together to get the project going, and how you can help, too.

Imagine a place in Branson that specializes in eco-sustainability and features a green roof with native plants, environmental exhibits, tours given to students, an outdoor amphitheater and a series of winding trails. This is what city engineer David Miller is excited about. The addition of a Branson Nature Center will occupy four acres on the corner of Highway 76 and Fall Creek Road, just north of the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. Miller and others working on the project toured the Springfield Nature Center and Wildcat Glades in Joplin to get an idea of what the Branson Nature Center should include. “We want to build a showplace for good environmental concepts,” says Miller.

In September, Great River Engineering of Springfield donated a rendering of a possible nature center, and several locals are behind the project, including Alderman Rick Davis and fellow project manager Roger Clark. Currently, the project leaders are taking the next step to acquire corporate partners for the project. Miller and the team are reaching out to philanthropic and state organizations. Possible contenders include the Audobon Society, the Department of Natural Resources, the Branson School District, Silver Dollar City and Taney County. The next step, according to Miller, is to form a community task force to meet regularly and to set a timeline for the project. “The sooner, the better,” says Miller. “It may be a three-year project, it may be a ten-year project. With the economy the way it is, there’s nothing driving it.” But Miller and his team are working to change that.

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