Our mission is to conserve and increase appreciation of the Katy Trail and the last 100 miles of the Missouri River Valley — as a premier regional asset — through education, events, and collaborative projects.
Building on the investment and land conservation efforts of the Katy Land Trust, Magnificent Missouri supports conservation, economic development, and historic preservation efforts in communities along the Missouri River and Katy Trail in St. Louis, St. Charles, Montgomery, Warren, Gasconade, and Franklin counties.
Magnificent Missouri began in 2012 as two friends — both farmers who love the countryside — discussed new ways to draw attention to Missouri conservation issues. Dan Burkhardt (Bethlehem Valley Farm & Vineyards) and John McPheeters (Bowood Farms & Garden Center) realized that the best way to entice Missourians to focus on the rural landscape around them was through a conservation celebration featuring amazing local food prepared by award-winning chefs.
Key to early success were Chef Gerard Craft, Feast Magazine publisher Catherine Neville and the late Jack Galmiche of the Nine Network of Public Media. With a supporting cast like this, conservation caught the attention of St. Louisans!
From the outset, Magnificent Missouri chose to focus on conserving and advocating for the last 100 miles of the Missouri River Valley. This unique corridor includes the confluence of our two greatest American rivers; the beginning of the Katy Trail, the country’s longest bike path; and the first American Viticultural Area in Augusta, Missouri.
We build on the work of the Katy Land Trust, led by Dan and Connie Burkhardt, which has demonstrated that bold projects throughout the corridor are what makes a difference. Investments by Dan and Connie in historic building restoration, including the Peers Store and the Treloar Mercantile, provides visitors with an experience that will inspire a whole new level of enthusiasm.
In 2019, Ralph Pfremmer became our first Executive Director, working to expand the impact of our work, partnering with organizations and communities throughout the Missouri River Valley.
We invite you to come along for the ride as we enhance, conserve, and explore this exciting area — the big backyard of St. Louis where enjoying the outdoors is the natural thing to do.