Scenic Missouri

About Scenic Missouri

Scenic Missouri is an organization dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of Missouri’s scenic landscapes and communities. We are the only statewide nonprofit focused on the visual quality of our beautiful state.

Current River

Our History

Scenic Missouri was established in 1993 to address the threat of visual blight caused by the proliferation of billboards plaguing so many cities and regions of our state. Since then, we have become the foremost advocate for, and authority on, scenic conservation issues in Missouri.


  • Scenic Missouri was incorporated as a 501 (c)3 charitable organization.


  • Appeals court rules St. Louis’ ordinance prohibiting new billboards to be unlawful. This made all similar ordinances across the state unenforceable.


  • Working with the Missouri Municipal League and a coalition of 40 statewide and local organizations, Scenic Missouri advocated in the Missouri Legislature for a bill to reinstate local control of billboards. This bill was not passed.
  • Scenic Missouri successfully advocated for 1) a ban on new stacked billboards, 2) the establishment of the Missouri Scenic Byways Program, 3) a State Logo and Tourist Oriented Sign program
  • With polling showing broad bi-partisan support, Scenic Missouri began an initiative campaign to amend the state constitution to reinstate local city and county authority to “regulate outdoor advertising with respect to size, height, spacing, lighting and number.”


  • As a result, the outdoor advertising industry offered legislation authorizing any city or county to regulate billboards with respect to “size, height, spacing, and lighting” and that the regulations may be “more restrictive than state law.” Bill passed and signed into law. Many communities adopted ordinances severely limiting new billboard construction through lengthened spacing requirements.


  • With the outdoor advertising industry continuing to challenge local control, a second initiative petition drive was begun. The Save Our Scenery 2000 Campaign was launched to prohibit new billboards, prohibit vegetation removal for billboard visibility, and clarify local regulatory authority. Nearly $1.5 million was raised. The measure was defeated statewide 51% to 49%, even though it passed in St. Louis and in the eleven counties where most of the billboards were located.


  • After Scenic Missouri announced plans for another petition drive, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America proposed a bill that would, among other things, increase the minimum spacing of billboards in Missouri from 500’ to 1400’. The bill passed in the Missouri legislature in 2002 and was signed into law.


  • The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) proposed rebuilding and expanding I-70 through Missouri, an interstate highway generally considered to be one of the most congested, unsafe, and visually cluttered stretches of roadway in the country. Scenic Missouri responded by publishing “Lewis and Clark Parkway: Two Proposals.” This work provided a set of alternative proposals to expand I-70 that incorporated context-sensitive design
    elements, scenic easements (no billboards), native vegetation in rights of way, rest stops with scenic overlooks, etc.
  • Scenic Missouri worked with citizen advocates in Kansas City to convince the city council to pass a bill prohibiting new digital billboards and adopt zoning changes limiting all new billboards.


  • The outdoor advertising industry successfully advocated for an amendment that allowed many nonconforming billboards to be reset, instead of removed, during highway construction.
  • The spacing requirement in the city of Platte City had the effect of eliminating space for new billboards. The outdoor advertising industry sued. The ordinance was upheld at the circuit and appeals courts and the Missouri Supreme Court refused to consider another appeal. In effect,cities and counties had a tool to stop new billboard construction.


  • Scenic Missouri advocated for a House resolution supporting the rebuild of I-70 using the Lewis and Clark Parkway proposal as a model. HB Resolution 4839 passed the House Transportation Committee unanimously, but due to opposition from the outdoor advertising industry, the Speaker of the House would not send it to the floor for a vote.


  • Scenic Missouri adopted a new three-year strategic plan.


  • House Bill 1115 was filed. The bill would strip cities and counties of the authority to regulate billboards with respect to height, size, spacing, and lighting as granted by the outdoor advertising industry-sponsored legislation in 1998. In collaboration with the Missouri Association of Counties and the Missouri Municipal League, Scenic Missouri opposed the bill and the bill was not given a hearing.


  • Scenic Missouri advocated for the creation of a new scenic byway, the Ozark Run Scenic Byway.
Elephant Rocks

Our Board of Directors

John Hock, Ballwin

Board Members:
Carol Grove, Columbia
Erik Hermanson, Chesterfield
Kyna Iman, Bridgeton
Karl Kruse, Columbia

Board of Advisors:
Gene Bushman, Jefferson City
S. Bryan Cook, Clayton
John C. Danforth, Clayton
William Least Heat-Moon, Columbia
Lotsie Hermann Holton, St. Louis
Peter Herschend, Branson
Robin LaBrunerie, Columbia
John Laney, Lee’s Summit
Pat McLarney, Kansas City
Steve McDowell, FAIA LEED AP, Kansas City
Sondra Murray, Kirksville
Tom Nelson, FAIA, Kansas City
Brad L. Simmons, FAIA, Kirkwood
Hon. Michael L. Wolff, St. Louis

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