In the fall of 1921, a group of people in Yankton, South Dakota, got together to continue their pursuit of constructing a bridge across the Missouri River.They felt the timing for tackling such a significant project couldn’t be better. World War I was over, the world was recovering from the Spanish Influenza crisis—which was considered to be the worst pandemic ever, and break downs in the supply chain across the American continent left the moving of goods and services in shambles. What became known as the “Meridian Bridge Boosters” put their resources to work to raise funds and complete the construction of a bridge they believed was going to help with Yankton’s progress, enhance the region’s quality of life, and improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. By 1924, the Meridian Bridge was completed and the vision seen by those dedicated individuals had been achieved.
We fast forward 100 years and recognize those same experiences from 1919 to 1921 are happening now. What is different is our vision.The Missouri River is no longer an obstacle; instead, it is a vital component to our overall quality of life. The Friends of the Missouri National Recreational River (FMNRR) is a present day “Booster” that is putting together resources toward making the Missouri National Recreational River (MNRR) better. Starting in 2022, FOMNRR’s Missouri River Events Committee is back and hosting the Missouri River Watershed School Festival, Lake Yankton Outdoor Festival, and a Missouri River Cleanup. In addition, planning and outreach initiatives will begin for the NPS/MNRR proposed South Entrance Meridian Bridge Improvement Project. FOMNRR will continue its pursuit of new MNRR access and habitat conservation opportunities, and strive to serve as the local leader in reconnecting people and communities to the Missouri River.
Just like the “Meridian Bridge Boosters” of 1921, FOMNRR recognizes that issues happening around us today also create opportunities. The only thing we really need are other people to “get-on-the-bandwagon” with us. The Meridian Bridge Boosters took three years to build a bridge—maybe in 2024, we, too, can celebrate the achievements from our vision. And who knows, maybe in 2121 there will still be a FOMNRR organization to “Booster” what we’ve created 100 years earlier.