To promote tourism and encourage visitors to experience other recreational areas of the Black River, AmerenUE has placed full-page advertisements in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star newspapers this weekend, when the popular Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in southern Missouri reopens. The park will formally open for limited day use at 8 a.m. May 27.
In addition to print advertisements, AmerenUE has created and maintains a special Web site to help the businesses operating near the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park to get the word out about the many recreational attractions unaffected by flooding from the Dec. 14 breach of the AmerenUE Taum Sauk Plant upper reservoir.
The Web site, www.experienceblackriver.com, offers contact information for everything from canoe rentals to ice cream parlors and includes links to other sites that offer additional information about restoration activities at the park. Another Ameren Web site, www.ameren.com/taumsauk, provides updates and photos of the restoration efforts and other information related to the breach.
Accessible features in the park include a half-mile interpretive trail to view the boulder field near the park's entrance off Highway N. Visitors also will be able to tour the park from their cars and walk to the signature narrows, or shut-ins, of volcanic rock formations.
Picnic tables, toilets and drinking water will be available for day use, and the park store will be open. However, camping will not be allowed this year. Portions of the park\-including stream restoration that is under way\-will be fenced off from the public. The park is expected to be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the fall.
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
Built in 1963, AmerenUE's Taum Sauk is a "pumped-storage" hydroelectric plant. It stored water from the Black River in an upper reservoir, built atop1,590- foot-high Proffit Mountain, and released the water to generate electricity when power is needed. The water flowed down a mile-long tunnel inside the mountain, turning turbine-generators to produce electricity. When power demand was low, the same turbines ran in reverse to pump water back to the upper reservoir.
On December 14, 2006, the AmerenUE Taum Sauk Plant experienced a breach in its 1.5 billion-gallon upper reservoir that caused flooding in the Johnson's Shut- Ins area.
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