I had an opportunity to check out the new Dardenne Creek Blueway recently, and I recommend it to all kayakers and canoers out there! St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano and County Councilwoman Nancy Schneider joined me, and we toured this new water way. While it’s just a 3.5-mile jaunt, it connects the County’s Riverside Landing Park to the City of St. Peters’ 370 Lakeside Park where there are numerous activities for those who love to be outdoors.
Riverside Landing, located at 101 Riverport Lane where Dardenne Creek and the Mississippi River connect, is now open after months of park development. The 7.73-acre parkland is a unique outdoor recreational area with a new entrance off Huster Road. It features 13 large and five small RV sites; a dump station for RV sanitary lines; six primitive tent campsites; a free, ADA-accessible boat ramp for access to the Mississippi River; an open play area with a scenic overlook plaza; and parking for 59 boat trailers. The park also offers an iPaddle station where visitors can rent kayaks on-site.
Located at 1000 Lakeside Park Drive, 370 Lakeside Park is 500 acres with a 140-acre recreational lake for fishing and boating, RV park, group campground, sprayground, archery range, biking/hiking trails, and dog parks. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, bikes, and surreys are available to rent.
This jaunt, however, is just the beginning of a nearly 19-mile trek that will go from Bluebird Meadow Park in Dardenne Prairie to Riverside Landing Park in St. Charles. It will be in five phases, as indicated on the map below, with the first phase now complete.
St. Charles County Parks first purchased Riverside Landing in 2018 with funds from the local use tax approved in 1997 for the sole purpose of park land acquisition, development, operations, and maintenance. We immediately began planning for this water trail, but debris and litter impeded the connection and flow between the creek and the river. Because of the hard work of the County Parks Department, the 3.5-mile Phase 1 has been made accessible. Staff collected and disposed of four dumpsters – 16 cubic yards – of floating plastic bottles and other trash from Dardenne Creek. They already have begun work on Phase 2, from Lone Wolff Park to 370 Lakeside Park, but it is a big undertaking. And cleanup isn’t just to clear the way for boaters.
Approximately 1,300 miles of streams, including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and our developing blueways, flow through St. Charles County. These waterways provide drinking water resources, floodwater pathways, wildlife habitat and numerous recreational and economic opportunities. Our community’s waters are home to deer, turkeys, foxes and hundreds of migratory birds and songbirds and other animals. Many daily activities affect water quality, locally and downstream, and it’s the responsibility of all of us to protect them.
The County’s Community Development Department developed a Stream Care Guide to educate residents about how everything we do in our watersheds, or drainage basins, has the potential to affect our county’s tourism, flooding, tax dollars and the beauty of life’s most important natural resource. I encourage you to read the guide, which you can find at sccmo.org/StreamCareGuide.
St. Charles County Parks and waterways are popular for residents and visitors alike. The new Dardenne Creek Blueway and connecting park is one of our many great assets. Please enjoy them and help us keep them clean for others.