For several decades the residents of Jasper County worked for a state park, assisted and encouraged by a former resident and conservationist, Sam Parr. In 1960, 72 acres of land approximately 3 miles northeast of Newton were acquired by the Department of Natural Resources and the Jasper County Conservation Area became a reality. Additional acquisitions have brought the total acreage to 1,180, including a 183-acre lake. After the death of Sam Parr in 1966, the General Assembly changed the name from Jasper County to Sam Parr. The site was formally dedicated on May 12, 1972.