In 1989, the developers of Riss Lake donated 49 acres of land at the base of the dam to the City of Parkville along with $25,000 seed money to develop it as a nature sanctuary. In 1992, former Parkville Nature Sanctuary director Jim Reed was asked to form a Parkville Nature Sanctuary Committee to develop and manage the property.
With help from a Missouri Department of Conservation naturalist, trails were laid out to make the area accessible with minimal impact to the land and wildlife habitats. Bridges were built across White Alloe Creek, a boardwalk was constructed over the swampy area, and erosion control devices were incorporated in the trails to minimize damage from human activities. With the help of many volunteers, Scout troops, and service groups the trails became a reality.
In 1997, the Missouri Department of Conservation purchased 68 acres adjacent to the Sanctuary and designated it as the White Alloe Creek Conservation Area. This added a beautiful forested area and more than doubled the area managed by the Parkville Nature Sanctuary. To take advantage of the new area, the “White Tail Trail” was developed in the White Alloe Creek Conservation Area. Many Eagle Scout projects have since enhanced the accessibility of the White Tail Trail with improvements such as graveled paths, wood steps, and switchbacks.
Later the “Bluebird Trail” was cleared according to ADA standards to facilitate access for those with moderate restrictions on their mobility.
The old Girl Scout Cabin location was preserved and restored as a gathering area and in 1999 was fitted with a shelter roof. Still boasting its original brick fireplace, it has become a favorite location for many gatherings, including the enormously popular Halloween “Ghost Stories.”