Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry

Forest Park Forever Turns 25

Initial efforts raised money to make improvements to existing facilities within Forest Park

July 1, 2011 | 2 min reading time

This article is 13 years old. It was published on July 1, 2011.

Forest Park Forever, a private, nonprofit organization, was founded in 1986 to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of America's great urban public parks, for the enjoyment of all -- now and forever.  Last month the organization celebrated its 25th anniversary as well as the 135th anniversary of Forest Park's opening.

In 1995, the City of St. Louis adopted a master plan for Forest Park.  A public/private partnership was formed and Forest Park Forever and the City embarked on an effort to raise $94 million in public and private funds to make improvements to the park.  The success of the public/private restoration of Forest Park has become a national model for urban park renewal.

A new Forest Park Forever strategic plan was adopted in 2009 to guide the park in these post-restoration years.  The plan has five key goals for Forest Park going forward:

  1. Prioritizing the visitor's experience
  2. clarifying and expanding the role of Forest Park Forever to sustain and maintain the park at the highest standards of excellence
  3. seeking financial stability and sustainability for the park
  4. attracting quality leadership
  5. building community awareness and support for sustaining Forest Park at its current high level of restoration.

On June 24, 1876, then-Presiding Judge of St. Louis County Chauncy F. Shultz said at the opening ceremony, "I present to you, the people of St. Louis, this large and beautiful Forest Park for the enjoyment of yourselves, your children and your children's children forever."  Over the years the keepers of Forest Park have preserved it and seen to its needs.  As the needs changed, the keepers have made the necessary changes.  That tradition continues to the present day for ourselves, our children and our children's children.

Reminder about Forest Park App

You can explore Forest Park now with the Forest Park App, available at the iTunes App Store.

Created by Paradigm New Media Group, 20% of all proceeds from this app will benefit Forest Park Forever. The app will help you navigate the park, locate and learn about park attractions and find a place to eat or rest.  New updates are applied on a regular basis, so download the Forest Park App for your iPhone or iPad and start exploring Forest Park today!

Here's more info.