Photo by David Carson, [email protected] Newberry, the Natural Resource Manager at Echo Bluff State Park south of Salem, Mo.stands at a scenic outlook in the park as he gives a tour to the media Friday, July 22, 2016.

Roger Dillon, editor of the Shannon County Current Wave newspaper, said some seemed to oppose the park merely because Nixon was for it.“That’s taking politics too far,” Dillon said. Some are going to work for the state park.”Guest Services is the company that has the hospitality contract for the park. Janet Fossey, 64, is a clerk in the gift shop and said she was happy about it.“It’s unheard of that jobs here pay above minimum wage, and you can get benefits,” she said.

“If it does half of what it is projected to do, it will be a good thing. Missouri Parks plans to staff six full-time employees there and as many as 20 seasonal workers. Some local businesses landed some of the work.“It was really good for us,” said Tammie Hanger, of Eminence-based Crider Brothers Lime Co., which produced crushed rock for concrete and landscaping.

Dating to 1929, thousands of children came from all over to explore trails, caves and streams there.

More recently, the isolated camp became a giant outdoor music venue owned by the leader of a Grateful Dead tribute band from St.

It’s in the far western end of his district, which includes several impoverished counties stretching to the Bootheel.“We need economic development,” he said.

“It’s just a huge shot in the arm in Shannon County and surrounding counties.”He said the park would bring “new money” in, including “first-class travelers” on their way to Branson.The park is also free to visit for day use, and campsites cost a night during the busy season.“If you don’t want to stay in the lodge, you can primitive camp and still have nice showers and stuff,” he said.“They have all the price levels, in my opinion, taken care of.”Stacy and Michelle Smith, of Carr’s Grocery and Canoe Rental near Round Spring Campground, are on board, but with one caveat: that the investment brings demand rather than competition.Cowen, the presiding commissioner, said the county noticed a 10 percent jump in sales tax revenue in the past year. “It’s probably 60 percent of our business the last couple years.”Still, some question the money thrown at the project. A million bridge was built over Sinking Creek inside the park, while they say a new bridge is badly needed on Highway 19 just outside the park.“I wish they’d made a park citizens of Shannon County and their visitors could afford to use,” said Barbara Lynn, stopping by the courthouse on a recent day. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, said the park would be a boon to the area.Outfitters were still uncertain, they said, if they will have direct access to Echo Bluff or if the park will have its own outfitter.