State parks add three new ‘Missouri Masterpieces’

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BRANSON MO NEWS: Show ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideOzark Mountain State Park includes nearly two miles of Roark Creek.(Photo: Missouri Department of Natural Resources)Carl Bonnell drove his all-terrain vehicle up the steep, grassy hillside and parked at the treeless top to admire the spectacular view.“Every time I come up here, I see something new,” said Bonnell, who is a superintendent for Missouri State Parks. “There’s potential to do a lot of neat things up here.”The dominant feature standing on the horizon, high above the forested mountains just showing autumn colors, was the Shepherd of the Hills Inspiration Tower, a landmark on the Branson entertainment strip in Taney County.The tower is part of the complex that features an outdoor play of Harold Bell Wright’s 1907 book about Ozarks folklore.“Old Matt and Aunt Mollie probably traipsed through these very hills,’ Bonnell said of the book’s real-life characters.The hills, as tall as 1,300 feet and bald of trees at the top, are known as knobs locally. They gave the name “baldknobbers” to hooded vigilante groups, who were said to meet on the barren hilltops. The Baldknobbers also is the name of one of the oldest entertainment families on …


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