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Current and Jack's Fork Rivers

-- Last Updated: Nov-09-13 3:01 PM EST --

For those who paddle the Current and Jack's Fork Rivers in Missouri, or entertain thoughts of doing so in the future, please be advised that the National Park Service, which administers the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, has just released a draft management plan that outlines alternative proposed changes to the existing management plan that dates back to the 1980s and early 1990s.

The draft management plan is a nauseatingly lengthy government document (534 pages in length) that can be accessed in the form of a pdf file here: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=158&projectID=15793&documentID=56208

I read as much of it as I could stand (until I got a migraine and threw up in my mouth). From the point of view of paddlers, I think the most important aspects of the proposed changes are those that would impact the current river use management plan that was adopted in 1989. There are three alternative proposals which would restrict motorized boat traffic on the Jack's Fork and Current River from what is currently permitted.

"Alternative A" would restrict motorized boat traffic the most, prohibiting it on the Jack's Fork entirely and on the Current River down to Two Rivers during peak season, and down to Round Spring in the off-season.

"Alternative B", which is favored by the NPS would restrict motorized boat traffic less, and "Alternative C" less still.

There is a table summarizing key differences among the alternatives here:
http://www.riverhillstraveler.com/DGMP/Section%2013-Alternativecomparisontable.pdf

and another table summarizing the motorboat horsepower limits for the different alternatives here:
http://www.riverhillstraveler.com/DGMP/motorizedvsnonmotorized.pdf

The draft management plan is open for public comment until Jan 8, 2014. If you would like to support one of the proposed management plan changes, or the status quo please go to this National Park Service website and register a comment:
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=158&projectID=15793&documentID=56208

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Comments

  • More info on draft management plan
    -- Last Updated: Nov-10-13 2:06 PM EST --

    I have tried, at considerable peril, to digest a bit more of the NPS draft management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

    The three alternative proposals of course involve much more than the river management plan changes that were summarized in the links I provided above.

    I realize that few people are going to be inclined to wade through this 500+ page document so I have tried to summarize key differences between the three alternative proposals. Most of this info is taken from Table 13 of the draft management plan, pp. 145-150, which can be accessed through this site: http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=158&projectID=15793&documentID=56208

    Alternative "A" key points:

    The percentage of land in the ONSR that would be zoned as either "natural" or "primitive" would total 95.4%.

    60/40 horsepower engines would be prohibited throughout the ONSR on the Current and Jack's Fork (note that 60/40 hp engines are currently being tolerated on some stretches of the ONSR but they are against the letter of the law. It is unclear to me if and when the NPS would enforce the law if the "No Action" alternative is adopted).

    The 6 existing designated campgrounds would be preserved, but as far as I can tell, no new campgrounds would be developed.

    Some river access points open for concession floating would be closed and reconditioned and new ones might be opened, but the total number of access points for concession floating would decrease.

    As many as 25 miles of new horseback riding trails would be developed, but there would be no new stream crossings for horseback trails.

    Illegally developed roads would be closed. Vehicular access to all gravel bars would be eliminated. Gravel bar access would be walk-in or by boat only. Roads to primitive campsites would be removed. There would be no horse camping.

    Alternative "B" ("favored" by the NPS) key points:

    Percentage of ONSR lands zoned "natural" or "primitive" would totl 88.4%.

    60/40 horsepower outboard motors would be allowed on some stretches of river (they are currently tolerated on some stretches of river but technically speaking, they are against the law).

    There would be up to 20 new concession access points for float trips (while some existing concession access points might be closed) but the total number of concession access points would remain the same, or decrease.

    There would be up to 35 miles of new horseback riding trails including new stream crossings.

    A 25 campsite horse campground may be established (it is not clear to me where this would be).

    Two new designated campgrounds may be provided, at Akers on the upper Current, and at Blue Spring on the upper Jack's Fork.

    A "learning center" may be constructed at Powder Mill.

    Roads to primitive campsites would be removed. The number of gravel bars accessible to vehicles would be "designated" and reduced from the existing number.

    Alternative "C" key points:

    The percentage of ONSR lands zoned as "natural" or "primitive" would total 34.7% (that's right, thirty four point seven percent). 59,6% if lands would be zoned for "resource-based recreation" and the remaining 5.2% zoned "developed".

    60/40 horsepower outboard motors would be allowed on some sections of the rivers.

    Up to 45 miles of new horseback riding trails may be developed including new stream crossings.
    A 25 campsite horse campground may be established on the Jack's Fork River.

    Two new designated campgrounds may be established at Akers (Current River) and Blue Spring (Jack's Fork River).

    Existing vehicular access to gravel bar sites and overnight camping would continue to be allowed. Roads to primitive campsites would be removed and replaced with hiking trails.

    "Additional facilities would be necessary to accommodate
    higher levels and different types of visitor use. There would
    be more types of designated camping opportunities,
    including primitive, semiprimitive, semideveloped, and
    developed sites. There would also be more boat ramps and
    trails for hiking and horseback riding"

    (the last paragraph is taken verbatim from the draft management plan document).

    Sorry for the length of this post, but believe me, it is better than trying to read the parent document.

  • The bottom line...............
    -- Last Updated: Nov-10-13 11:51 PM EST --

    Alternative A is, in my opinion, without any doubt, the smart choice of "paddlers".

    Alternative C is, in my opinion, without any doubt, the choice of those who view the river as nothing more than a place to use, to increase their personal income/fortune.

    The people who cater to the "horse people" & all the money involved with that; horses, trailers, tack, feed, fuel, rental stalls, liquor sales, food sales, etc. They want more trails & more river crossings. Bet money on it; they have been & continue to lobby for alternative C.

    Those who cater to the weekend "river dorks/drunks" & all that goes with that: canoe/kayak/raft rental, shuttle fees, liquor sales, food sales, etc. They want more accesses, and more campgrounds.Bet money on it; they have been & continue to lobby for alternative C.

    Those who cater to the "jon boat jockeys" & all that goes with that: boat sales, trailers, motors, maintenance on boats & motors,parts, fuel, liquor sales, etc. They want more accesses, and they want the freedom to use higher horsepower motors. Bet money on it; they have been & continue to lobby for alternative C.

    Those who cater to the travel trailers & all that goes with that: trailer sales, maintenance, fuel, food, repairs, liquor sales. They want more/larger campgrounds with electric hookup & sewage disposal available. Bet money on it; they have been & continue to lobby for alternative C.

    Add to that those who want more land along the riverway opened to construction of the river Mcmansions. Real estate, builders, roofers, concrete companies, gas & electric companies, road builders, insurance agents, gravel companies, building suppliers, etc.

    Those people will never quit, until they get what they want. And sooner or later; they'll get it!What do they want? More money flowing into their pockets.
    The river? Screw the river! They don't give a tinker's dam about that river, and what happens to it! The river just presents opportunities for the greedy.
    Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive at best.

    BOB

    P.S. Want to see what greed has done to the lower Jack's Fork River. Paddle from Eminence to where it joins the Current River at the Two Rivers access.
    Check out the 2,000 plus horse barns/stalls for rent on river left, just below Emminence. As you continue downstream; check out the condition & the smell of the river. Looks & smells like a horse sewer.

    Not to worry; the NPS is taking care of it; they've been "studying it" for about 15 years.
    The river is polluted, but the horse business is great.

  • Well, I agree with you Bob,
    pretty much anyway, which I find slightly alarming.

    I did leave a comment in favor of "Alternative A". I have to point out that "Alternative B" which is favored by the NPS is perhaps not entirely onerous.

    It would allow 60/40 hp outboard motors, but only in areas where they are currently being "tolerated". It would restrict power boats significantly more than the current river management plan does, prohibiting all power boats on the Jack's Fork down to West Eminence and the Current down to Round Spring during peak season. It would still allow power boats as high as Pulltite and Bay Creek in the off-season.

    Alternative "B" allows for the possibility that the Akers campground might reopen (which some might view as a good thing) as well as a new campground at Blue Spring. It also proposes to reduce vehicular access to gravel bars from what is currently permitted.

    I have no objection to a "learning center" at Powder Mill as proposed in Alternative B. I am much less excited about new horse trails crossing the river and a possible 25 campsite horse campground opening on the river God knows where.

    It is a minor point, but restricting motor traffic up to Pulltite during the off-season could work against our "Fall Ozark Rendezvous" gathering. When I called the ONSR last year to clarify whether or not the water would remain on at Pulltite through mid October (in view of the sequester) I was assured that it would remain on until the end of "gigging season" sometime in January.

    Now I know next to nothing about gigging, but I am pretty sure it is traditionally conducted from powered craft, and if such are prohibited above Round Spring, it is perhaps likely that there would be no giggers at Pulltite and no water after the campground season is officially over.

    I'm not trying to tell anyone which alternative to support, but it seems to me that "Alternative C" if adopted, could drastically change the nature of ONSR, IMO for the worse.
  • Actually...
    those people don't even like alternative C. They want "no action". they like things as they are, with little plan for protection of the resource.

    Our illustrious idiot of a House representative supports the no action alternative. He said something to the effect that he would fight "park service encroachment on our public lands". HUH???? Hey, doofus, those public lands are administered by the Park Service, and they wouldn't BE public lands if the Park Service hadn't come along and bought them up.

    As much as I love my native Ozarks, I sure do dislike a whole lot of the people living there.
  • My view so far
    -- Last Updated: Nov-11-13 1:58 AM EST --

    I am still trying to digest the differences among the plans. So far I am leaning toward Plan A, except for the following provision (which is also in Plan B and Plan C):

    “Camping on gravel bars would be allowed in designated campsites only.”

    This is a direct quote from table 13 - the alternative comparison table found on page 126 of the draft plan. Under the non-action alternative “campers would continue to be allowed to locate their own campsites on gravel bars.”

    I will explore this further but one of the objectives in my comments will be to continue to allow paddlers and hikers to locate our own campsites on gravel bars and not be restricted to gravel bar camping only in designated campsites. However, my comments will support restricting other campers (drive in, ATV, horseback, etc.) to designated campsites only.

    We do have until January to submit our comments, so I have more time to study the draft plan before submitting my comments.

    I can understand why some paddlers may think it’s not worth their effort to submit comments because the moneyed interests always win. Well, they didn’t win when the Ozark Scenic Riverways was created, and they didn’t win their attempts to dam up the Grand Canyon or the Buffalo River.

    It’s true that they usually win. It’s true they will keep trying. It’s also true that we have to win every time and they only have to win once because when they win the resource we are trying to protect (in this case the Current and Jack Fork) will be forever changed for the worse.

    But goddamn it we have to f--k--g keep trying because if we don’t comment and keep trying to protect what we love then they will surely win and the Current and Jacks Fork will be worse off forever.

  • I Will Make My Voice Heard
    Heck, I'm probably on the FBI's "Surveillance roster" as I have been VERY vocal about my concerns on his stances to our illustrious "Teabagger" representative, Jason Smith. I'm certain he'd promote logging it, mining it, and building 5-Star hotels on the banks if he could pull it off? So, PLEASE, any of you whom use the Riverways or would like to visit, let your voice be heard!
  • Good point
    Yes, others have noticed the entry in the table of proposed alternatives that states "Camping on gravel bars would be allowed in designated campsites only".

    Again, this applies to all three of the alternative management plans "A", "B", and "C". I have not as yet found in the text of the document clarification of this statement as to whether this applies to paddlers on overnight river trips, and if so, which gravel bars would constitute "designated campsites" and where would they be located. The index of the document has no entries for either "gravel bars" or "camping".

    There is a facebook page for the Current, Jack's Fork, and Eleven Point Rivers and others have posted queries requesting clarification on this issue.
  • That's it buddy
    You're going on the "No Paddle" list straightaway.
  • and will promptly be sent a
    horse.
  • Thank you VERY MUCH
    for posting this. It's immensely helpful to those of us disinclined to wade through all the BS to get to the really informative stuff you provided. I'll paste the link on the ACC web site and put something about this in the next newsletter.
  • Funny!
    Heheheheh
  • Hey Terry
    If it's a good horse you could trade it straight up for the Colden canoe of your choice - how does a Starfire sound?

    Oh, by the way welcome to the club. I've been on the FBI surveillance list since 1969 when I circulated McGovern-Hatfield petitions to end the war while stationed in Minot. A year later we were under surveillance when we picketed Spiro Agnew at a campaign stop in Minot. I still have the peace flag I was carrying.
  • Aha, so
    does that make you a pusillanimous pussyfooter, a hopeless, hysterical hypochondriac of history, or just a plain, old nattering nabob of negativism?
  • Nope...
    In the plan, it specifically states that the gravel bar camping will be restricted to designated sites only, EXCEPT FOR PRIMITIVE CAMPING. In other words, in all three alternatives, camping as it is done while floating--setting up your tent on any gravel bar you come to--will still be allowed. What this provision is trying to stop is the nimrods who pull their campers out onto gravel bars that are accessible by the often unauthorized roads. Unfortunately, this wasn't pointed out in the news releases, so it's one of the things that has gotten a lot of people up in arms and is being exploited by the "aginners" who don't like the Park Service doing anything to control them.
  • Vic
    Vic is a fan of Charlie Daniels; a loyal follower of brother John Birch, a member of the Antioch Baptist church, and has a commie flag tacked up in his garage.

    :^)
    BOB


  • You might be right
    -- Last Updated: Nov-11-13 2:14 PM EST --

    but if you actually read this in the draft management plan can you support it with a page reference?

    I certainly have yet to find in the document anything that clearly says that. On the contrary, what I have found thus far argues that gravel bar camping would only be allowed in designated areas.

    I can refer you to Table 5, titled "Recreation Activities by Management Zone" which appears on page 49 of the plan. The fourth entry down in the "Activity" column is "Camping on Gravel Bars" and it carries the footnote "camping on gravel bars would only be allowed in designated areas." This applies to all of the river-based management zones, "non-motorized river", "seasonal mixed-use river", and "mixed-use river". As far as I can tell thus far the "designated areas" are not specified anywhere in the document.

    Table 13 titled "Summary of Key Differences Among the Alternatives" says the same thing. In that table the row entry "gravel bar camping" which appears on page 126 states "Camping on gravel bars would be allowed in designated campsites only" and that is the same for all three proposals "A", "B", and "C".

    As for camping being unrestricted in areas zoned "Primitive", even if that is true it won't help much in terms of camping on gravel bars accessible from the river. If you look at the land management zoning map for the proposed "Alternative A" that appears on page 67 you will see that even under that alternative, which has far and away the most land zoned "Primitive", only a small portion of the Current River above Round Spring would be zoned that way, just above and below Pulltite. None of the Jack's Fork below Bay Creek would be zoned "Primitive".

    And if you look at the zoning map for "Alternative B" (favored by the NPS) on page 75 you will see that virtually none of the Current River (except for the aforementioned area near Pulltite) all the way down to Robert's Field would be so zoned. Under "Alternative B" the only portion of the Jack's Fork that would be zoned "Primitive" would be a portion of the stretch between Blue Spring and Rymers.

    Under "Alternative C" (zoning map on page 81) you will find that none of the Current River would be zoned "Primitive" and the only part of the Jack's Fork that would be would again be a stretch between Blue Spring and Rymers.

    It may be that the intent of the NPS is indeed to restrict gravel bar camping only for vehicular access but as far as I, and others, can tell so far, that is not spelled out clearly anywhere in the document.

    Jo Shaper, who is the assistant editor of "River Hills Traveler Blog - Trav Talk" (http://rhtrav.com/wordpress/draft-gmp-issued-nps-prefers-alternative-b/comment-page-1/#comment-29407) has made phone inquiries regarding this issue but has not yet received a definite answer. Here is a response she made earlier today to a query I posted on the blog:

    "I asked for clarification on that Friday from the park’s information officer (in two phone calls) and was told that the “designated gravel bars” applied to drive-in party sites, and that the use of gravel bars by boat float campers needed to be clarified. I gave her my example that, in 1996, my husband, brother and I floated from Akers to Van Buren, and we never stayed in any designated campsite during the week because none of them were convenient to making 10-12 miles a day, plus we felt it actually safer NOT be at a developed campsite. If you read the document under Alternative A, it talks about preserving the character of remote float camping, but doesn’t go into any details. Remote float camping certainly would not entail herding people into designated sites. That defeats the purpose.

    During my phone conversation, the information officer had an off the phone conversation with a co-worker; the gist of their discussion was it was directed against the drive in gravel bars, not the remote leave no trace float campers, but that was unofficial information.

    After reading the interpretation in the story published yesterday in the Kansas City Star, I sent off an email re-asking the question to the Park’s fire information officer, whom I have been told is the guru on this document.

    Today is a federal holiday, so won’t get an answer until tomorrow, but will post when I do. -Jo Schaper asst. editor
    - See more at: http://rhtrav.com/wordpress/draft-gmp-issued-nps-prefers-alternative-b/comment-page-1/#comment-29407"

    Here is a link to the Kansas City Star article:
    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/11/08/4607395/plan-calls-for-new-missouri-riverways.html

    There has also been considerable discussion to the topic of gravel bar camping by river trippers on the Facebook page for the Current River, Jack's Fork, and Eleven Point, which interested parties can check out if they wish.



  • But
    he is a mastermind in the ways of espionage.
  • Does the...
    ...body come attached with the head?

    No message...or is it? (OK! OK! Kill the scratchy violins play'n Nino Rota stuff!)
  • I did think of that...
    but didn't want to go there...

    Speaking of this group they all need to plan a retirement home on the Current River that allows geezers to paddle. And comes with a line of rockers on the bankside porch of course so they can continue their "conversation"

    Because of the requirements, they will have to fund it. I don't think such an animal exists.
  • Inquiring mind wants to know?
    -- Last Updated: Nov-11-13 7:11 PM EST --

    Where is all the money for those horse trails, trail camps, trail maintenance & upkeep, a learning center, 2 new campgrounds, and staff to man them, going to come from anyway?

    They currently don't have the staffing necessary to man the fancy new Ranger stations at Akers Ferry, or Pulltite?
    Those 2 edifices to government spending, the re-engineering cost, and cost overruns resulted in the addition of about 5 showers, and 5 bathrooms.
    Those projects only cost several million dollars!
    That some pretty damn expensive bathrooms!

    Ranger presence on the river to curb the stupidity of the river dorks, dopers, 4 wheelers, goat ropers, and jon boat jockeys?
    Virtually non-existent. I personally have not seen a ranger on the river in the past 2 years.
    Solution: Build more horse trails, horse trail camps, campgrounds, learning centers, parking lots, bathrooms, and shower stalls?

    I think what is needed is a merry go round at Two Rivers, a water park at Akers with a plume ride, a big roller coaster with a neat name at Round Springs, a go cart track at Cedar Grove, and zip wires strung over the river every 5 miles. Maybe a dirt bike track at Blue Spring?

    That's what it's all about; screw that scenic riverway theme; we're talking Worlds of Fun!

    All the ONSR really needs is a "community organizer", and a multi million dollar website that doesn't work! That would be a start.......

    BOB

  • Bob is mostly right
    I haven't seen a ranger on the Current River EVER, but I've only been paddling the Current since 1993. But I betcha if we had the Fall Ozark Rendezvous on the Current this year during the shut down we would have seen some.

    Also, I have to admit to liking some of Charlie Daniels stuff (can't bitch at The Devil Went Down to Georgia), but I would not call myself a big Charlie Daniels fan the same way I call myself a big fan of The Band.

    I'm definitely not fan of John Birch, and never have or will belong to any Baptist church for obvious reasons. As for that commie stuff, have you heard my iPod playlist Songs of the Wobblies?
  • Page 40:
    -- Last Updated: Nov-11-13 10:45 PM EST --

    Under the heading:

    Factor 3: Provide Desirable Visitor Experiences and Services

    All three action alternatives would share the following actions:

    (Down toward the bottom of the list)

    Restrict gravel bar camping to designated campsites only--except for primitive camping)

    This has nothing to do with zones marked "primitive". Primitive camping is usually meant to signify tent camping with no services, exactly what you do float camping on gravel bars. Yes, they should have spelled this out in each alternative, but it's there, and the employees appear to agree with that interpretation in their remarks to Jo. I would be VERY surprised if the higher ups don't agree as well.

  • Charlie Daniels
    On peace signs, long hair, commie flags, and brother John Birch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=952h-AJ3Bcg
  • Thanks for the reference
    Yes, I had noticed that but it is not entirely clear to me that the NPS will define "primitive camping" the same way that you have, to include camping on gravel bars by river trippers, in view of the fact that in several other places in the document they have stated that camping on gravel bars will be permitted in designated sites only.

    I hope they do, of course, but I think this needs to be clearly spelled out by Superintendent Black. Hopefully, Jo will receive an official response soon.
  • Primitive camping
    is a pretty well defined term, I think we're safe. I would consider gravel bar camping sacrosanct in the ONSR.
    I'm confident these plans won't restrict it. Even if they wanted to, it's largely unenforceable. I don't see NPS running a jon boat up and down the river after nightfall.
    Bob's right about one thing. County and state officials will lobby for the rights of those who spend the most money in their districts.
    And that's not primitive camping floaters.
  • I have alot less confidence in the NPS
    to do the "right thing" than I used to.

    During the recent government shutdown there were many examples of the National Park Service going "above and beyond the call of duty" to shut down features when it would have cost nothing to anyone not to do so.

    As for the ONSR, during the recent government shutdown Superintendent Black went on record to say the the NPS would not close the Current and Jack's Fork Rivers, not because it was the right thing to keep access open, but because he had been advised that he did not have the authority legally to do so. Of course, all access to the rivers was closed except in areas in which a county road abutted the river to allow access. Black did say that any river trippers who somehow managed to magically get on the river who were found camping overnight on gravel bars would be asked to leave.

    That was probably unenforceable as well, which in my opinion was an excellent reason for the Superintendent not to go on record saying the gravel bars were closed. Especially in view of the fact that the NPS jurisdiction over gravel bars that are below the high water mark is very much in question.

    So I for one would like to see this point clarified in writing rather than trusting to the "good intentions" of the NPS.
  • Short version of the plan!
    Jo and the crew at River Hills Traveler have done an outstanding job of shrinking the plan to 17 pages with an outstanding comparison and maps.
    http://rhtrav.com/wordpress/which-alternative-do-you-prefer-on-the-draft-riverways-gmp/

    SYOTW
    Randy
  • Yeah right Vic..............
    Next thing you know; you'll be telling us you don't have a commie flag tacked up on the wall in your garage.......because you don't even have a garage.

    And if we don't believe you; we should call & ask your wife.

    :^/
    BOB
  • OK, OK, I get it now
    -- Last Updated: Nov-12-13 11:47 PM EST --

    Forgot about that song. Thanks for the link Pete.

    My only Charlie Daniels album is my old vinyl version of The Charlie Daniels Band A Decade of Hits from the early 80's. Haven't listened to my LPs in at least 10 years, so I forgot about "Uneasy Rider." Now I gotta see if I can digitize that LP and get that stuff on my iPod.

    I'm not a fan of his more recent stuff that I've heard on the radio -- a bit too jingoistic for me.

    Now John Prine's "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" is more my style. We used to sing it in the barracks all the time (along with "Illegal Smile").

  • Clarification on gravel bar access
    -- Last Updated: Nov-13-13 12:39 PM EST --

    Jo Schaper of River Hills Traveler has received official clarification from the NPS regarding paddler access to gravel bars: http://rhtrav.com/wordpress/gravel-bar-camping-by-boaters-on-riverways-to-be-unchanged/#more-15460

    In case you have difficulty accessing the site or don't wish to:

    "By Jo Schaper

    According to an email we received this morning from Dena Matteson, NPS park spokesman on the Draft General Management Plan said (and we quote) that none of the alternatives would change gravel bar camping where the gravel bar is accessed by boat, canoe, kayak, or tube. draftgmp

    Matteson said:

    “…we have found that the language in the draft GMP is confusing regarding gravel bar camping. None of the alternatives in the Draft GMP were intended to imply that all gravel bar camping was going to be restricted to designated sites only. Upon closer review of the document we discovered that this has been made unclear because it is discussed under the “Land-Based Recreation” section of each alternative, which is supposed to be specifically addressing gravel bar camping on gravel bars that are accessed by vehicles.

    “This is unclear and understandably confusing. It has also been translated inaccurately to a couple of other places in the Draft GMP, such as Table 5 and Table 13. Those statements will need to be edited to something such as: “Camping on gravel bars accessed by vehicles would be allowed only in designated campsites.” These would actually be great points for folks to provide comments on – that the Draft GMP is unclear and confusing on this subject, so that we can make sure it is addressed before the final is issued.

    So essentially, river access to gravel bars (e.g. by boat, canoe, kayak, raft, tube) will not change under any of the alternatives. However, camping on gravel bars that are accessed by vehicles would be allowed only in designated campsites. Please share this with your readers. We certainly understand the upset and anxiety that have developed and would like to put everyone’s fears about it to rest.”
    - See more at: http://rhtrav.com/wordpress/gravel-bar-camping-by-boaters-on-riverways-to-be-unchanged/#sthash.MYbUQm2g.dpuf"

    I had already commented on the unclear language pertaining to gravel bar camping in the draft document as NPS spokesperson Matteson suggests. It would be helpful if others did so as well when posting comments in support of one of the action alternatives. The site to post official comments to the NPS on the draft management plan for ONSR is here:

    http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?documentID=56208

  • Not cool
    Hmmmm.
    So folks not aware of this "coming correction" are currently providing comments and taking surveys without that info. NPS knows that gravel bar camping is a flashpoint. As soon as people read that gravel bar camping is restricted to designated sites on plans A, B and C, heck even Jo's much appreciated spreadsheet states this, and they see that the only plan that allows it is "no action", they won't even bother reading further.
    I'm afraid they will be be overwhelmingly in favor of no action. I think we (primitive camping floaters) will be unwitting accomplices to the river abusers and profiteers that Al refers to above.
    Call me skeptical that this was a simple oversight.
  • Outside the Alternative Boxes?
    Pete,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    A quick look leaves me asking: is NPS stuck with the choice of just one of the alternatives or are there mix and match possibilites? Can some of the best features of Alt. A be matched with some of the best of "B"?

    I am a little suspect of the "preferred" plan. Kind of easy for NPS to try to hit the middle path by presenting extremes on both sides while sneaking in some features that really don't square with the entire concept of National Scenic Rivers. This is especially the case with expanding motorized watercraft where NPS has already allowed it to creep past the allowed zones. Might as well just go ahead and legalize cannabis consumption on the river according to this logic. I can then set up my "NRS" concession -- Natural River Shaman, guide service. Slide to Power Off.
  • Good question
    Since the NPS calls the management plan proposal a "draft", one might assume that there would be some potential to modify the various action alternatives if there was great public pressure to do so.

    A number of folks have expressed the suspicion that the NPS has basically already decided what they want to do (or rather what they want Congress to authorize them to do and appropriate funding for) and that the whole public discussion thing is just for appearances sake so they can say they moved ahead with public support. But perhaps that is an overly cynical view.

    In addition to the public comment webpage that I provided a link to in several posts above, there will be three public meetings to educate the public and discuss the draft management plan.

    Here is a (lengthy) excerpt taken from the "Friends of Ozark Riverways" Facebook page:

    "Ozark Riverways Provides Clarification on
    Draft General Management Plan

    VAN BUREN MO: Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Bill Black encourages public review and comment on the Draft General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental Statement (Draft Plan), which became available on November 8. The Draft Plan may be reviewed online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/ozar. Comments may also be submitted on this website.

    Once the Draft Plan was released for public review, the park recognized the need for clarification on several issues related to the plan and the public meeting format. According to Superintendent Black, “We are aware that information on gravel bar camping in the document has caused confusion, and we would like to clarify that. Access from the river to gravel bars will not change under any of the alternatives. However, drive-in camping on gravel bars would be allowed only in designated campsites. Examples of places where this would occur are Logyard and the existing campsites at Two Rivers.”

    Another point for clarification relates to primitive campsites. The NPS preferred alternative proposes that some roads to primitive sites may be closed, however this information was transferred incorrectly to one of the tables in the document.

    Additionally, Black says, “Because this is the “Draft” Plan, we recognize that there are going to be details we need to adjust or clarify. This is the intent of public review - to help us identify where we need to make those adjustments.”

    Superintendent Black invites everyone who is interested in learning more about the Draft Plan to attend one of the public meetings. “We want to reassure everyone that the primary purpose for the open houses is to provide information and answer questions. If you are unable to attend an open house, it will not limit your opportunity to comment on the Draft Plan. We are encouraging that public comments be submitted online, which can be done at any time through the end of the review period. For added convenience, there will be computer stations available at the open houses for those who would like to submit their comments at that time. If those options aren’t convenient, we still welcome an old-fashioned letter to the park.”

    The public comment period will be open through January 8, 2014.

    Three public meetings have been scheduled at this time. Each will consist of an open house session for asking questions and sharing information. In Van Buren and Kirkwood, the open houses will be followed by wilderness hearings in order to allow individuals to express their opinions about the proposed wilderness designation. Currently, public meetings are scheduled for:

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013
    Van Buren Youth & Community Center
    Intersection of Business Highway 60 and D Highway, Van Buren, MO 63965
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Open House
    8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wilderness Hearing

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013
    Salem City Hall Auditorium
    202 North Washington, Salem, MO 65560
    10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Open House

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013
    Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center
    11715 Cragwold Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Open House
    8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Wilderness Hearing

    As always, we look forward to hearing from the public and encourage all to visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/ozar or our Facebook page for further updates. For more information, please contact Dena Matteson at (573) 323-8028 or dena_matteson@nps.gov.

    Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

    -NPS-
    --
    Faye Walmsley
    Chief of Interpretation and Public Information Officer
    Ozark National Scenic Riverways
    P. O. Box 490
    Van Buren, MO 63965
    (573) 323-4844"
  • Zones for Motorized Watercraft
    Anyone have any sense of what the proposals for expanding the zones for motorized watercraft would actually look and sound like?

    I have been fortunate not to have experienced any of this during my few and limited trips on the Current in October.
    So, I don't know how much motorized traffic has been occurring already (Plan A). Plan B does seem to be a significant expansion. Allowing 60 HP jet boats access all the way to Round Spring? The stretch from Round Spring to Two Rivers does give one a feeling of being truly remote in an incredibly beautiful wilderness setting -- just as fine as many stretches on the Buffalo. Tranquility would be seriously breached and undermined by the noise created by gas engines.

    I realize the NPS is in the hot seat here attempting to ride the rough edge between the interests of those seeking near wilderness experiences and the interests of those who are attempting to make livings, grow businesses, create jobs, and carry on local outdoor tradition (e.g. sucker gigging). And attempting to do this in an increasingly crowded world populated by people hungry for outdoor experiences. Without undermining the quality of the natural environment by affording more access via increased development. In an area where anti government sentiment dominates.

    I can only make it as simple as Henry David Thoreau did, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." I continue to come back to this as my one guiding light. We gotta have faith in the wild seed.

    Placing all of this in the context of a civilization that grows increasingly unsustainable perhaps puts all of this in the proper perspective of folly chasing folly.
  • I think you misinterpreted Lou
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 8:59 AM EST --

    The "no action" alternative described in the draft management plan represents the status quo with regards to river and land management use.

    Action alternative "A" would limit motor powered craft usage very significantly from what is permitted now. In fact, all of the management plan action alternatives would limit motor traffic on some of the upper stretches of the rivers (down to Akers on the Current and down to Rymers on the Jack's Fork) from what is currently allowed.

    Refer to this table from the draft management plan which appears on page 48: http://www.riverhillstraveler.com/DGMP/motorizedvsnonmotorized.pdf

    The first column titled "No-action alternative" shows the horsepower limits which are currently permitted by the NPS. This reflects the current river management plan that dates back to 1989. But there is a caveat. The 60/40 hp motors which are currently being allowed on the rivers are actually prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations but this has not been enforced by the NPS. Action alternatives "B" and "C" would formally allow these motors on certain stretches of the river as shown in the table.

    Here is an except from page 47 of the draft management plan:

    "During public scoping meetings it became
    apparent a major topic of public interest
    was in the size of motors currently allowed
    on the rivers. Existing park regulations (36
    CFR 7.83(a) (2), see appendix C) prohibits
    the use of motors rated higher than 40 hp
    by the manufacturer from Big Springs
    upriver to Alley Springs and Round
    Springs. However, for many years the
    National Riverways has interpreted the
    regulations as allowing (and the public has
    been using) motors rated up to 60 hp if
    they were equipped with a jet powered
    prop that effectively lowered the usable
    horsepower to 40 hp. The National Park
    Service has recently been advised that this
    interpretation of the regulations is in
    variance with the Code of Federal
    Regulations. This issue has been included in
    this comprehensive planning process
    because the discussion of motor size could
    logically include a range of alternatives for
    how the public recreates on and uses the
    rivers."

    I am a relative newcomer to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. I have paddled most of the Jack's Fork from the Prongs down to West Eminence, and all of the Current from Baptist Camp down to Two Rivers and thus far I have relatively infrequently encountered power boats. I haven't had any really unpleasant encounters with power boat users in the ONSR (and I certainly have elsewhere) but most of my trips have either been in the off-season or during weekdays. I have heard some pretty loud gigging boats at night at Pulltite in October but the din was rather brief in duration.

    I imagine that power boats are encountered much more frequently on the lower stretches of the rivers and on weekend days in peak season.

    It would seem that none of the action alternatives would likely result in paddlers being more likely to encounter power boats unless enactment of one of the action proposals somehow encouraged more power boat users to come to the rivers.

  • OK
    Pete,

    Thanks.

    I got "A" mixed up with the no action plan. But, I consider "A" to be highly preferable to "B" regarding the motorized craft. The barn door may be open now but no need to make it any wider.

  • I agree
    As a paddler, I find action alternative "A" preferable to "B" and vastly preferable to "C".

    I guess my position might be considered selfish by power boat users, but I would really prefer not to encounter the noise and wakes that go along with power boats. One usually hears them coming long before they are seen, and very often the same boat is encountered twice, once going upstream and once going back down. There are relatively few places left in the Midwest where one can paddle a river free from the sounds and smells of powerboats and the Current and Jack's Fork are two of them, and being spring fed they can be paddled year round. There are many places for power boaters to go.
  • Power Boats
    Noise and wakes are a problem, but some power boaters are downright dangerous.

    I specifically recall one incident on the Current in mid October and the river was low. We were between Bee Bluff and Two Rivers paddling loaded canoes. I was the third canoe in line paddling downriver in the narrow channel.

    We heard, but could not see, a power boat coming upstream around a bend. As he became visible he was approaching our lead canoe at a high rate of speed and yelling "get out of the road."

    There was no place for us to go except in the channel because the river was so low. Even if we had taken to the shallows we would have run aground before being able to get out of his way.

    At the last second he decided not to collide with our lead canoe and veered off to the shallows as he cussed us in language I had not heard since growing up in New York City. He barely missed ramming the lead canoe head on.

    So, my comments are going to support the power boat limitations of Plan A. I really don't see the need for 40hp above Two Rivers. Aside from a few idiots like the one we encountered above, the responsible power boater I have seen above Two River are primarily fishing. I believe they can easily move among their fishing spots with less than 40hp motors placing paddlers in jeopardy.

    In my experience power boat motor horsepower is like boundary bag capacity. Whatever capacity you have you will use. So for a lighter load, use a smaller bag. For lower speed use less horsepower.

  • Yeah
    I have had more encounters of that type with power boaters than I would have liked. I have been lucky thus far on the Current and Jack's Fork.

    I should probably say that it is only a minority of power boaters who behave in a way that is at best rude and at worst dangerous to paddlers, but the yahoos certainly stick in your mind.

    I lived for a number of years on Tim's Ford Lake in Tennessee, and it did seem at times that the power boat operators' IQs were inversely proportional to the horsepower of their motors.

    On a narrow river, when I hear a powerboat coming I will try to get over next to the bank before it appears, just in case the driver happens to be a jackass, but as you point out, that is not always possible.
  • powertrip paddlers
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 6:04 PM EST --

    I've never had any problems with any power boaters on any river, or horse riders. I've been purposely rammed by canoers though, and found several paddlers to be of the arrogant or unfriendly persuasion. I don't particulary want to see many people everytime I go out, but they are there and have as much right to be there as I do. If I wanted privacy, I would buy my own land...it's cheap in the Ozarks...and put up no trespassing signs. If you don't want to encounter other users take up another hobby in a place that isn't so popular. Backpacking in the Ozarks requires physical effort, more than sitting in a boat and steering. Try mountain biking, rock climbing whatever. Maybe paddlers are just as lazy as they accuse the powerboaters of being. A river like the Current is a lazy man's river, and will attract lazy people. It's not like it takes a high IQ or knowledge of technology to steer a canoe or kayak on the Current or Jacks Fork, the indians did it long before white man arrived in Missouri, and they built their canoes, they didn't purchase a storebought petroleum product with a mastercard and immediately cop an attitude that they are some kind of wilderness voyageur. Fact it requires more knowledge to work a motor boat as it has parts and requires registation licenses. The paddlers bother them more than they bother the paddlers because they have to be on the lookout and have the liability of injury to worry about. Powerboaters could arguably be smarter than paddlers, they have a larger investment in the vehicle for starters. They can take their whole family out for a pleasant day, and some of those family members might be feeble, handicapped, or elderly.

  • discourteous paddlers
    There is no question that one encounters loud, unruly and discourteous paddlers on the Jack's Fork and Current Rivers. That has been the experience of many others who post here who paddle the ONSR and it is addressed in the draft management plan as well.

    In my experience, these people have always been patrons of canoe liveries, not that there are not many well-mannered canoe livery clients as well. But paddlers simply don't have the potential to endanger others' safety the way a power boater can.

    As I said before, I have not encountered a power boater who exhibited malicious behavior on the Current or Jack's Fork Rivers. But I have elsewhere, particularly on lakes in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

    I have had power boaters pass me at high speed unnecessarily closely many times. I have had some deliberately set a course straight at me and veer off at the last moment. I have twice had power boaters come at me at speed and turn quickly in close proximity in an attempt to throw up a big wake to swamp my canoe. Objecting to behavior of this type does not constitute a "power trip".

    It might interest you to know that there are quite a few paddlers who are mountain bikers as well. I am one, and in years past I did quite a bit of road biking. A number of times I had drivers zoom past me when I was as far onto the shoulder as I could get, at very high speed coming as close to my bike as they could. I also have had bottles and other objects thrown at me from passing cars.

    Obviously, only a tiny minority of drivers engage in truly nefarious behavior like this, just as a tiny fraction of power boaters engage in the types of activities I described. But those who do certainly don't manifest high IQ.
  • It looks like you are missing the point
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 8:03 PM EST --

    The NPS is proposing possible policy changes, and considering that it is a National Scenic Riverway, naturally some people on a paddling message board are going to prefer that the new plans do not include less stringent rules regarding power boats. The fact that some people here have had bad experiences with a few power boaters (and it looks very clear to me that it's been with a "few"), is no reason to act as if that means they are in actuality bad-mouthing the whole bunch. Going one step farther, the idea that powerboaters must somehow be smarter than paddlers, or that naturally they are more careful than paddlers just makes no sense. Applying that form of logic would lead one to conclude that drivers on the road would be smarter and more safety conscious too, which we all know would be ridiculous. Within any recreational group you'll find the whole range of personalities and behaviors. Speaking for myself, I can say that the vast majority of powerboaters I've run across are "regular people" like us who don't want to cause anyone any grief, but I've also noticed that when the careless ones among them screw up, the results are a lot more catastrophic than what happens when an unskilled paddler simply bumps his canoe into a rock or another boat (brilliant observation, huh?). Fortunately, the powerboat wrecks I've observed were more humorous than dangerous, at least once they were over and done with (though in each case not at all humorous to the boat's owner), but on a small river like the Current it's not hard to imagine the danger level to others on the water being a lot greater. Think about it. What's wrong with horsepower limits based on the size of the river? They put speed limits on small winding roads and residential streets for the same reason. On rivers, speed limits can't be enforced, but rules regarding the size of the motor can be.

  • Me too
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 8:31 PM EST --

    Within the small minority of powerboaters who've I've considered rude or stupid, many of them got some sort of a thrill out of passing by at high speed really closely, and driver and passengers all crane their necks to see the expected carnage in their wake. I've found the best way to deal with them is by "not even noticing" them and continuing calmly on as if this sort of thing happened every few minutes or so. And yes, the ones who do that sort of thing are just plain stupid, and whether that's in I.Q. or actions, it makes no difference to me. Still, I'm not lumping all powerboaters, or even a significant proportion of them into that category, but such people ARE out there.

  • More on "more knowledge" being required
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 8:08 PM EST --

    You say running a power boat requires more knowledge than paddling, but I say it's not necessarily so. First off, most powerboaters don't know any more about the workings of their machines than most drivers know about fixing their own cars. That's obvious.

    Second, the one comment I hear from powerboaters more than any other is "that looks like a lot of work". That's what I frequently hear from them when I'm out rowing, which actually is easier, in terms of overall exertion, than paddling. Anyway, it's obvious that those folks have a distorted view of what small, human-powered boats are all about, and actually, I've had to bite my tongue a few times to keep myself from replying "in your case, it looks like it must be a lot of work to just crawl out of your boat onto the dock" (Oh, did *I* just think about saying that?). Fortunately, what I can say in the defense of MOST powerboaters is that what I hear a lot more often from them is "nice boat!" But it really takes no special skill or knowledge to drive a power boat "from here to there" which is all they are doing. Doing it well in difficult conditions would be a different story, but how many have ever had to do that? Like drivers on the road, the usual way to deal with difficult conditions is to just go slower (and the ones that don't sometimes end up a bit like the drivers you see in the ditch during a snowstorm).

    Finally, anyone I've ever met who refers to going down the river by "steering" has been ignorant of the nuances of what a good paddler can do. There are plenty of folks who can make a canoe dance, and they didn't learn to do that in a day, or even just a few years. The powerboater who basically knows how to turn a steering wheel and operate two levers (or to just operate a twist-grip tiller) is not necessarily any different in skill level than the canoe-paddler who only maneuvers by switching which side he paddles on and/or dragging his paddle like a rudder. In fact, a first-time powerboater doesn't ever go weaving all over the water and bumping into obstacles like a first-time canoer does, yet the power boat takes more skill?

  • powertrip paddlers
    -- Last Updated: Nov-16-13 9:29 PM EST --

    I hope there aren't too many changes made. Minor adjustments here and there, and some additions and improvements sounds okay enough. Some of those who were discussing in the backrooms their plot to get non-paddler users off the river were alarmed when the possiblity of them not being able to gravel bar camp came about! Typos in three places! Hmmm.

    We all want to be able to continue to access the river No one is getting very wealthy there using the river for their gain, hauling canoes, serving food, selling horse tack and hay, paying increasing insurance, meeting more stringent regulations. Many of them should have some right to do make a few dollars, considering how much land was taken, the manners in which was taken, the land removed from the tax rolls of the counties, the increasing regulations put on it, the direction the park has taken towards more restrictions in the name of the environment and being a national monument istead of a recreational riverway like was promissed to the locals. The massaged pro-NPS figures that assume no visitor dollars and visits would come to the Current River if it wasn't a protected National Park with those brown national park signs and rangers...would probably be more than the paltry $39 chump change per visit.

    I don't particularly enjoy seeing big homes built on the hlls overlooking the park, but that's not part of the park. Same with powerlines and cellphone towers. You have to keep in mind that other riverways never thought up the great idea to turn their land into a park and preserve and sell it all off for pennies on the dollar forced to relocate so they would eventually not even be able to drive their pickup down to the same gravel bar and set up a lounge chair and have a cold beverage w/o some snobs telling them they are destroying the environment and their tranquility for disturbing some gravel that will wash away after the next rain.

  • notes about boats..,
    On rivers like the Current, the "powerboats" are all jet boats. Putting a jet lower unit on an outboard motor reduces the horsepower that the motor actually produces to propel the craft by about 1/3. So a motor with a 60 hp engine is actually putting out the energy of 40 hp to move the boat. That's why motors up to a rated 60 hp have been allowed in the 40 hp limit sections of the river, but apparently that was not the way it was supposed to be.

    Now, at least one manufacturer (Mercury) is rating their factory jet outboards for the true hp that they are producing, so while limiting the hp to 40 at the engine will reduce the power actually produced with many outboards, the Mercs will still be as powerful as what was being allowed before.

    It's generally believed that a motor rated for 40 hp at the engine (which is about 25-30 hp at the pump, what it's actually producing to move the boat) is about the least amount of power you can have and still have an efficient jet engine. On the Eleven Point River, there's a 25 hp limit, and while some of the people using jetboats on it are using 25 hp motors (which are putting out about 17-18 hp at the jet pump), others are using 40 hp engines and trying to say that they're only putting out 25 at the pump, or they're "re-labeling" their engines so that they say they're 25 hp.

    I own a jetboat. I use it almost entirely from October to April, on rivers in the Ozarks the size of the Current, for fishing. I don't like to use it on the popular rivers in the summer because I don't want to have to worry about having an accident with the numbers of people canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and tubing. I am surprised there have not been more accidents on these rivers, because of the inability of many of the other users to move fast enough to get out of the way of a jetboat coming around a blind bend in fast, shallow water. What non-boaters don't always understand is, while jetboats can run in about 5-6 inches of water, the channels they can run are often narrow and winding. A jet operates by sucking in water from the bottom of the motor's "foot", and jetting it out. If the boater has to slow down or stop in a riffle in order to avoid hitting something (like a canoeist), the boat comes off plane and sinks six inches or more, and if the motor is still running when the "foot" comes within 6 inches of the bottom when it's not moving fast, it sucks up gravel and rocks which can really damage the jet pump. That's why boaters don't want to have to slow down going up or down a riffle, and why a few of them will push the envelope and buzz by you dangerously close.

    Another reason jetboaters don't always slow down when passing canoes and kayaks, is that the boat throws less wake while on plane that it does when it slows enough to come off plane. Slowing down makes the boat sink lower in the water and throw a much larger wake, and the only way to avoid it is to slow down to idling speed, something that few boaters want to do because it means they are barely making any headway.

    When a river like the Current between Round Spring and Two Rivers is at summertime levels, it is not easy to run in a jetboat. Because jet outboards have to run at nearly full speed to stay on plane and run shallow, and because so little of the motor (and boat) is actually in the water when going fast, it is not easy to control sharp turns. The boat wants to slide sideways instead of turning, almost like you're on ice. So it isn't as easy to maneuver in shallow water as what the non-boater might think.

    I hope this helps some of the paddlers on here to understand jetboats a little better. Personally, even though I own a jetboat, I'd be very happy with alternative A. I've only fished the Current above Two Rivers once out of my jetboat, though I often fish it from Powdermill downstream in the winter.
  • Power boaters on the Current
    -- Last Updated: Nov-17-13 10:15 AM EST --

    The major problem with power boaters on the Current River is that the vast majority of them are are under the influence of alcohol. No doubt, a very high percentage of them are legally drunk. If they were stopped, and had to submit to tests that a drunk on the highway had to submit too; they would be found to be legally drunk.
    I have never seen one power boat stopped for careless, or reckless operation.
    I have never seen one power boater submitting to any test for drunkenness.
    Along with the ownership of a power boat comes the responsibility of operating the power boat in a safe & responsbile manner, and NOT being drunk (or stoned) when you are operating that power boat.

    Face the facts. For every jonboat that is being used for fishing on the Current river; there are at least 99 jon boats being used to go from point A to point B, as fast as they can.

    Canoes cause more problems for power boaters than power boaters cause for canoes? That's about like saying that cars create more problems for trailer trucks on the interstate than trailer trucks create for cars. Power boaters are not going to stop using the Current river; neither are the canoes. Cars are not going to stop using the interstate; neither are the trailer trucks.
    Deal with it...........
    In both cases(interstate/river), the solution is the same; aggressive enforcement of laws on the books. Get those who are drunk, stoned, careless, reckless, going to fast, or who are too aggressive off the interstates & the river.
    Enforce the laws that are already in the books aggressively. And while they're at it; those in charge of enforcement need to keep the 4x4 pickups, 4 wheelers, dirt bikes, and horses OUT of the river.

    Obviously, NPS can't do it; not even with help from Missouri Conservation Agents, Highway Patrolmen, and County Sheriff Deputies. Park Rangers are woefuly understaffed. Solution; more campgrounds, more primitive/horse campgrounds, more interepretive centers? I think not!

    All the blame for problems can't be placed on any particular group. The problem as I see it is the lack of enforcement by those responsible for law enforcement on the Current river. The river was allowed to gain the reputation as a "party river. Money rolled in, and those making it, love it. Enforcement became lax; problems got worse. In some cases, non enforcement of laws, or looking the other way became the norm. The party river reputation, and atmosphere is still hangin' on.

    Too many come for the party; too few to really enjoy the river. Family groups are wise to stay home, or go elsewhere, and more & more they do.


    BOB

    P.S. I don't fancy myself a voyageur, did not buy my canoe with a Mastercard, and I don't think I'm on some powertrip. I have done quite a bit of backpacking, rock climbing, caving, and I do ride a hybrid bike these days. I don't think I'm lazy.
    Having multiple college degrees; I don't think I qualify as lacking in IQ.

    I took my first trip on the Current river when I was 4 years old; that was 1946. That trip was in a wood jon boat with NO motor. It was poled; motors weren't/aren't necessary.

    Many such trips (hundreds) followed that one. I first soloed a canoe on the Current river when I was 13 years old; 2 cousins & I in 3 old beater Grumman 17 footers, and we didn't wearing pfds(I do now). I have spent more than 2 years of my life camped on Current & Eleven Point river gravel bars, and have paddled in excess of 3,000 miles on the Current river alone.
    Many members of my family & relatives of my family have lived(since the 1950s), and still live in Ripley County, and close to the Current River.
    While I don't have all the answers; 3 thing I know for sure. 1. I have a pretty good idea of what goes down in that area. 2. I didn't just fall off the damn pumpkin wagon. 3. Those responsible for the river need to get the drunks & dopers off the river; no matter what they paddle, drive, or ride. That will assist in curing the need for expansion because the drunks & dopers will migrate elsewhere in droves. Family groups, and more people who fish might come back to the river if that happened. The politicians & money men won't allow that to happen.

  • Thanks for the info
    -- Last Updated: Nov-17-13 8:31 AM EST --

    Yes, many of us are aware that planing boats raise less wake than when they settle down in the water. I was not aware of some of the nuances of jet boat engines, however.

    Of course, as Vic's experience indicates, canoes are sometimes limited to the same channel as the power boats at lower water levels or in shallows and can't necessarily get out of the way quickly either.

    And canoes paddled by livery customers sometimes handle even more clumsily and skid worse in turns than jet boats do.

    What you say suggests that there is some danger in paddle craft and power boats sharing the same stream bed in the narrower, shallower upper reaches of these rivers. Since the upper Current and Jack's Fork are virtually ideally suited for paddlers, especially overnight river trippers, and not all that well-suited for power boaters, it seems reasonable to preserve them for the former use.

  • NPS mismanagement of ONSR
    -- Last Updated: Nov-17-13 11:27 AM EST --

    READ THIS:


    A Legacy of Neglect: The Ozark National Scenic Riverway

    www.georgewright.org/282 flader.pdf

    What happens to a national scenic riverway when the government agency in charge passes the buck, denies problems, ignores problems, allows problems to continue, does decades of paper studies w/o follow up action, and yields to local business & political pressure.

  • Thanks Bob
    -- Last Updated: Nov-17-13 1:05 PM EST --

    Very interesting read. It sounds as if the National Park Service's stewardship of the ONSR has been a bit lacking to say the least.

    Perhaps a new management plan is long overdue. But a plan isn't worth much if the will and means by which to enact and enforce it are lacking.

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