Most of us spend our days connected to the Internet in one way or another, whether through our home or office computer, an iPad or other tablet, our cell phone, or other devices. We have become accustomed to quick communication through email, Facebook or Twitter. We immediately search for answers to questions that arise or keep up on the latest news. Internet has become an integral part of our lives. It is no surprise, then, that even when we “get away” to the out-of-doors when camping we are reluctant to be cut off from Internet access.
In early June 2012 the Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced that they will be adding complimentary Wi-Fi to many of Missouri’s state parks. The eleven state parks that initially offered free wireless Internet service mostly provide access throughout the park, but in some cases it is only available at designated hotspots. The department will continue to add Wi-Fi services to more campgrounds throughout the summer. The parks that had service in June were:
- Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon
- Montauk State Park near Salem
- Table Rock State Park near Branson
- Meramec State Park near Sullivan
- Sam A. Baker State Park near Patterson
- Dr. Edmund A. Babler State Park in Wildwood
- Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park near Middlebrook
- Onondaga Cave State Park near Leasburg
- Long Branch State Park near Macon
- Finger Lakes State Park near Columbia
In 2010 the department conducted a survey in which visitors to Missouri campgrounds indicated that having the ability to stay connected was important. They felt that having Internet access might cause them to camp more often and could lead them to extend their stays at campgrounds.
Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks stated, “State parks are great places to get away from a hectic schedule but our campers also requested the ability to stay connected. We listened to our customers and are adding complimentary WiFi to the many services we already provide in our state park campgrounds.”
Missouri state parks are continually being upgraded to meet the demands of today’s camping families. The 40 state park campgrounds offer a wide variety of sites and services, everything from primitive, basic sites to sites with modern amenities such as electric, sewers and water. In fact, over 70 percent of the campsites have electricity available. Other amenities often found are modern restrooms, hot showers, trailer dumping stations, coin-operated laundry or firewood. Full information regarding the amenities and services at each campground is available at the Missouri State Parks website. The Missouri State Parks are part of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.