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      Park gets high tech with improvements

      If you enjoy spending time at Long Branch State Park in Macon County, you have probably noticed some of the improvements this year. A new seawall near the beach, Youth Corps, prescribed burns, and improved sites in the campground are just a few of this year's projects so far.

      An open house was held Saturday to discuss the status of current projects, as well as what is in the plans when funding permits.

      â??If we have the funding, we would like to see four cabins at least added in our campground for people that have no equipment or little camping equipment but would like the opportunity. We would like to see rental slips and rental boats here at our marina for people that donâ??t have boats but would like to have the chance to be out in the water. We would like to get our older campground loop into 50 amps instead of the 30 amps and possibly have full hookups. But we need to expand our sewer system first which is our lagoon out in the middle,â?? said Naturalist Elizabeth Bradley.

      Also up and running now at the park is the new free Wi-Fi internet services located at various locations throughout the park.

      â??Our Wi-Fi was made available at Long Branch State Park beginning in May and we finally have all the kinks out of it up to about last week. A lot of the campers really enjoy it because a lot of them come from out of state and really enjoy Missouri and are able to keep up with news, their own personal business, and keep in contact with their families,â?? Bradley said.

      There are 11 Missouri parks that currently offer this service and the feedback from visitors had been really good with many excited about the new addition.

      â??I think that installing Wi-Fi at the campground is a really good idea because itâ??s really convenient and a lot of people bring their laptops but didnâ??t realize they could have Wi-Fi here,â?? said Long Branch State Park visitor Skylar Neisen.

      The Wi-Fi was added after a 2010 survey showed people would camp more often, and stay longer, if Internet connections were available.

      Missouri Parks were recently voted the country's favorite state parks to visit in the Annual Readers Choice Awards.