Ignored by it's owners and abused by the public, Grand Falls and the beautiful rock formations that surround its pool, endured irresponsible behavior for many years that relegated it to trash dump status. In 1972 the City of Joplin entered into an agreement with the water company to renew its city park status, but the agreement was only intended to relieve the water company of liability for the property and no effort was made to restore the site. Ignored and abused for another decade, no one needed to give directions to Grand Falls because no one ever asked. It could not be found in Joplin area tourism brochures. Drug pushers, drug users, and participants in underage drinking parties were its only visitors, adding to the litter daily. By the mid-80's it had become the #1 drug hangout in the four state area. And the litter piled up. The founders of Stream Team #48 moved to the Grand Falls area in 1983. As avid canoe enthusiasts, this family had been picking up after inconsiderate floaters on Ozark streams for many years and had witnessed the habitat destruction at areas of easy access and the volume of litter that would accumulate. The worst they had ever seen were child's play when compared to the challenges of Grand Falls.
The first winter was dedicated to getting acquainted with the history, ownership, law enforcement jurisdictions, and agreements of the place. Weekends were spent picking up seemingly endless amounts of broken glass and contemplating how the large items could be disposed of properly. For the next couple of years they suffered a lot of setbacks because they were concentrating on the problem, but were not addressing the cause of the problem. Their attempts at getting some help from law enforcement, city fathers, or the water company fell on deaf ears during this period. However, thanks to the Newton County Sheriff and some imaginative citizen detective work, they were finally able to take a big bite out of the cause and were well on their way to making progress by 1986-87. Shorty thereafter, the City of Joplin came through with trash barrels and regular pickups by the Parks and Recreation Department, and most larger items were moved to the road and hauled off in short order. Missouri Department of Conservation began the Stream Team Program in 1989 and it seemed a perfect fit.
Their son was 10 years old and would spend the next 8 years learning some valuable lessons as a Stream Team Member. Stream Team #48 has dedicated the past 20 years to preserving and improving the integrity of Grand Falls as a tourist attraction, a retreat for local families, and an endless source of possibilities for photographers of all stripes.
Today you will find Grand Falls prominently displayed in Joplin area tourism brochures(often on the cover).