"Three and one-quarter acres. That's what the Missouri Department of Conservation has acquired in Jasper County since the passage of a...sales tax in 1976." The Joplin Globe found that while residents of the southwest Missouri county have generated millions of dollars for the Department of Conversation through such sales taxes -- they receive almost none of the benefits that were supposed to come with public lands. "No other county has less department-owned land," despite Jasper County ranking ninth out of Missouri's 114 counties in terms of sales-tax revenue generated for the Department of Conservation. This series takes a look at this disparity, and what is -- or is not -- being done about it on the state level. Officials with the Department of Conservation say their "aggressive acquisition phase has come to an end," and that they are more concerned with maintaining existing land they already own in the state -- leaving Jasper County in a position of continuing to foot the bill for benefits it will likely never see. The series also examines the pressure facing local landowners from urban residents looking for a place to hunt; with no public land in the county, many residents find themselves constantly "chasing away people who are hunting on their property" without permission.
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