Experience Valley Water Mill Park

Trees near the Lake

The Valley Water Mill Park is a scaled-down recreation of the Ozark Mountains, with a 13-acre lake,  sinkholes, caves, and variety of habitats. A 1.5-mile hiking track around the lake in this park northeast of Springfield. Additionally, there are accessible fishing piers, a boardwalk, learning stations, a pavilion for an outdoor classroom and offices for the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks.

Fishing, hiking, and exploring are all allowed at Valley Water Mill Park every day from sunrise until nightfall. At dusk, the parking lot gate is shut. Restrooms are located at the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks facility on the park’s southern edge. No swimming, wading, or boating is permitted since the lake contributes to Springfield’s supply of drinking water.

Water Mill Park History

The first dam at Valley Water Mill was constructed in the 1850s to run the grain mill McCracken Mill. The South Dry Sac, which served as Springfield’s primary water source in the late 1800s, received the water that was released from the dam before immediately going underground and resurfacing at Fulbright Spring. A higher dam was constructed immediately after the mill’s land and lake were sold to a private waterworks firm in 1899. In 1957, Valley Water Mill Lake and the surrounding area were purchased by Springfield’s City Utilities. Several times, most recently in 2008, the dam has been renovated and restored. In 2006, the 70-acre plot was turned into a park that is now managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

Meaningful Partnerships

A fantastic example of a community cooperation is Valley Water Mill Park, where several groups work together to provide enjoyment, education, and environmental care. The park is run on a long-term lease from Springfield-Greene County Park Board and is owned by City Utilities of Springfield. The lake is cooperatively managed by City Utilities and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks runs its operations out of the LEED-certified Watershed Center, which opened at Valley Water Mill Park in 2012. The organization’s goal is to maintain and enhance the water resources in Greene County and Springfield via effective watershed management and education.

Fishing & Wildlife

The park’s fishing piers and boardwalks are both totally accessible, and fishing is a well-liked sport there. Bass, bluegill, and catfish are among the fish that the Missouri Department of Conservation supplies and keeps an eye on in the lake. Late fall and early spring are the ideal periods to fish in the lake. Wading or boating is prohibited. You must have a fishing license.

Hikers may explore the park’s side paths as well as the 1.5-mile hiking track that around the lake. The paths cross several different types of terrain, including glades, woodlands, bluffs, and stream beds. There are 399 different plant species in the park, according to the Springfield Plateau Master Naturalists.

Visit Valley Water Mill Park to feel elevated and have an experience of a lifetime at this place.

Read some related articles here for more information on select tourist attractions in Springfield Missouri.

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