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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

Vol 9 No 11, Friday, November 1st 2013

Swirling South in Giant Meandering Loops...

...she dives into the verdant and fantastically fertile Mississippi Delta… mind-boggling swaths of muddy landscapes… the longest free-flowing water trail in the continental United States, over 1155 miles from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico (including the Middle Miss from the Missouri River confluence)… This is the land that gave birth to the Delta Blues, and was once the cotton kingdom of the world… she carves elegant S-curves through deep woods… Her forest was once America’s Amazon, millions of acres of deep woods now removed for farmland… Coming to you from the Pawnee Hills, the Alleghenies, the Kentucky Bluegrass, down through the Missouri Bootheel and along the fantastically candy-colored Tennessee Chickasaw Bluffs, flowing past the mouth of the wild Arkansas River (more bears than humans), and into the luxuriant Louisiana Delta… Here she swells to fullness and proudly ambles along through bottomlands, batture and battlefields… connecting cities, states, public lands, festivals and all of the people and businesses found along her way...

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The Gator

Wakes Up!

Today!

Friday November 1st

Rivergator:

Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River

Goes Live!

We Quapaws have been busy as beavers this year updating, upgrading and expanded the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River. Go check it out at www.rivergator.org and enjoy the new maps, new photos, and new text describing America’s greatest waterway!

2013 Features:

*All new full color maps of the Middle and Lower Mississippi River

*113,000 words describing the Lower Mississippi

*Hundreds of new photos for each section

*The Rivergator now covers 413 miles of the Lower Mississippi from the Caruthersville Harbor Mile 850 to the Mouth of Yazoo River in Vicksburg Mile 437

*3 New Sections: Caruthersville to Memphis, Memphis to Helena, and Greenville to Vicksburg

*Reference Index to quickly access any landing, town, island, back channel, or points of interest along the way

*Four states are now described by the Rivergator: Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi

*Intros to each section from the new Rivergator:

Caruthersville to Memphis

The river here rolls out of the Missouri Bootheel and into the wild floodplain below between Tennessee and Arkansas, it’s so wild that no levees are needed for 60 miles along the left bank side of the river from Moss Island to Memphis! This section is full of tributary rivers with deep woody bottoms, strange colorful mud slides, and dozens of islands and back channels to explore, many protected within wildlife refuges and state parks. There is some heavy industry along the way, a couple of noisy steel plants and a giant power plant (below Osceola), and some busy grain docks and two harbors -- none of which you’ll want to camp near. Nevertheless your hard paddling will be rewarded again and again with fabulous views of the Chickasaw Bluffs along the Western edge of the state of Tennessee and adjacent bottomland hardwood forests, including the colossal cliff-bluffs at Fort Pillow (1st Chickasaw Bluff), the astounding colorful chalky glacier of mud above Richardson’s Landing (2nd Chickasaw Bluff), Meeman-Shelby State Forest (3rd Chickasaw Bluff) and finally the sweeping view of the Memphis skyline, including the Memphis Bridge and the Pyramid, and downtown Memphis (which straddles the 4th Chickasaw Bluff). The vista from the river is unparalleled! Points of interest include Obion RIver, Moss Island Wildlife Management Area, Nucor Yamamato Steel, Island 30/Osceola Back Channel, Hatchie River Bottoms, Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park, Hickman Bar, Loosahatchie and Wolf Rivers, the elegant “M” Bridge and finally the eye-popping view of skyscrapers over the Beale Street Harbor and Landing. The vista from the river is unparalleled! You’ve never seen downtown Memphis if you haven’t viewed it from the river! (Go to www.rivergator.org for the rest of the story!)

Memphis to Helena

After exiting the Missouri Boot-Heel and bouncing along the Chickasaw Bluffs past Memphis, the Mighty Mississippi flows southwesterly in giant meandering loops into the verdant and fantastically fertile Mississippi Delta. This is the land that gave birth to the Delta Blues, and was once the cotton kingdom of the world. Its forest was America’s Amazon, millions of acres of deep woods now removed for farmland. Leaving Tennessee and entering Mississippi the paddler is welcomed by a long line of casinos that rivals Atlantic City, but which you’ll see little evidence of as you paddle behind long chains of islands in the same area, although you should stop for a visit to the Tunica Riverpark Museum. The river carves elegant S-curves through deep woods as it meanders through Commerce Bend, Mhoon Bend and Walnut Bend, and then wanders down through a floodplain fifteen miles wide to the mouth of the St. Francis River. The St. Francis is the biggest west bank tributary downstream of St. Louis. The big river engulfs mind-boggling swaths of muddy landscapes as it is forced southerly by the strange geophysical anomaly Crowley’s Ridge, which parallels the Mississippi out of Missouri. Buck Island invites exploration, picnicking or camping, and Helena, Arkansas commands the base of Crowley’s Ridge. As result of the high ground Helena is the only population in between Memphis and Vicksburg (300 miles) that sits right on the main channel. Visit the Delta Cultural Center, or coordinate your adventure with one of the world’s greatest celebrations of music, the King Biscuit Blues Festival (October). Canoeists, SUPs and kayakers will find provisions, maps, gear, and paddling tips at Quapaw Canoe Company in Helena, as well as water and Wi-Fi. (Go to www.rivergator.org for the rest of the story!)

Greenville to Vicksburg

After leaving the industrious Greenville Harbor and paddling past Warfield Point you’ll quickly round Vaucluse Bend and be propelled under the new Greenville bridge and go flying past some grain elevators in Arkansas. And then you’ll quickly return to the wilds of the Lower Mississippi with nothing but forested islands, big river and big open skies as your scenery. The blues musician Muddy Waters was born near Rolling Fork, and a thriving blues and arts scene survives in Greenville. There are no tributaries along this 100-mile stretch of river, as result the water gets cleaner and cleaner the further downstream you go from Greenville (no point-source pollution), and by the time you enter Vicksburg the sandbars are almost completely free of trash and the water at its cleanest since leaving the state of Minnesota! The Mississippi floodplain forest was once America’s Amazon, but millions of acres of trees have been removed for farmland. Remnants of the deep woods are protected along the river between the levees by the extreme rises and falls of the big river. Giant oxbow lakes are found on either side of the river, notably Chicot Lake (largest oxbow in North America), and the oxbow congregations found at Possum Chute/Old River and Chotard/Albermerle/Eagle Lake/Paw-Paw. The river carves elegant C-curves and S-curves through deep woods as it meanders through Kentucky Bend, Sarah’s Chute, Marshall Cut-Off and then wanders down through its deepest woods above the mouth of the Yazoo River, the “River of Death.” Here the big river engulfs mind-boggling swaths of muddy landscapes as it is forced south-southeasterly by Macon Ridge, which parallels the Mississippi out of Arkansas into Louisiana. The big river slams headlong into the towering Vicksburg bluff at the Yazoo confluence and here ends the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. Possible alternate route through Paw Paw Chute for expert paddlers only. Vicksburg is the best place for resupply and reconnoiter. Paddlers will want to visit the Mississippi River Museum located inside the MV Mississippi towboat, as well as the National Military Park, and Vicksburg’s other offerings. (Go to www.rivergator.org for the rest of the story!)

Rivergator

Lower Mississippi River

Water Trail

--- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ---

November 1, 2013

Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the

Lower Mississippi River

Goes Live at www.rivergator.org

On Friday, November 1, 2013, The Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River goes live at www.rivergator.org covering 413 miles with maps, photos, and detailed description. Public use free of charge. This is the first-ever such guide written by and for canoeists, kayakers, and stand-up-paddleboarders. Five southern states are featured along the route from the Missouri Bootheel, down the Tennessee Chickasaw Bluffs, through the Arkansas River Delta, the Mississippi Delta and the Louisiana Floodplain. The Rivergator Features:

1) All new full color maps of the Middle and Lower Mississippi River

2) 113,000 words describing the Lower Mississippi

3) Hundreds of new photos for each section

4) The Rivergator now covers 413 miles of the Lower Mississippi from the Caruthersville Harbor Mile 850 to the Mouth of Yazoo River in Vicksburg Mile 437

5) Three New Sections: Caruthersville to Memphis, Memphis to Helena, and Greenville to Vicksburg

6) Reference Index to quickly access any landing, town, island, back channel, or points of interest along the way

7) Five states are now described by the Rivergator including Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana

The Rivergator is a 4-year project presented by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation in partnership with the Mississippi River Corridor Tennessee, the National Audubon Society, the Lower Delta Partnership, the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Delta Adventures, Quapaw Canoe Company and the Walton Family Foundation.

The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail described by The Rivergatoris the longest free-flowing water trail in the continental United States, over 1155 miles from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico (including the Middle Miss from the Missouri River confluence). There are thousands of islands, backchannels, side channels and oxbow lakes to explore. The trail connects cities, states, public lands, festivals and all of the people and businesses found along the Lower Miss.

For more information: John Ruskey, john@island63.com or 662-627-4070

Rivergator 2013

celebratory trips

Celebrating the opening of the Rivergator:

Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

November 4-8

Caruthersville to Memphis

November 12-15

Memphis to Helena

November 18-22

Greenville to Vicksburg

What are The Rivergator

Celebratory Trips?

In November 2013 we’ll be running a series of multi-day expeditions to celebrate the opening of the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail from Caruthersville Missouri through Memphis to Vicksburg, Mississippi. By voyageur style canoe. No previous experience necessary, but must enjoy wilderness-style camping and must be willing to paddle! We are reserving 4 seats on every segment for writers, photographers and any journalists who will help us share the story about the beautiful and dynamic Mississippi River and the Rivergator Water Trail describing it!

Please contact John Ruskey, 662-902-7841 or john@island63.com to reserve your seat, and for more information. November 4-8: Caruthersville to Memphis; November 12-15 Memphis to Helena; and November 18-22: Greenville to Vicksburg.

November 4-8

Caruthersville to Memphis

Meet: Monday, November 4 at 9am at Mud Island Memphis. Park your car, shuttle to Caruthersville. Put in around noon. 5 days on river. Return to Mud Island around noon on Friday, November 8th.

November 12-15

Memphis to Helena

Meet: Tuesday, November 12 at 10am in Helena (or 9am in Clarksdale). Park your car, shuttle to Memphis. Put in at noon from Mud Island. 4 days on river. Return to Helena around noon on Friday, November 15th.

November 19-22

Greenville to Vicksburg

Meet: Monday, November 19 at 12noon at Warfield Point State Park, Greenville. Park your car. Board canoe to Vicksburg. 4 days on river. Arrive in Vicksburg around high noon on Friday, November 22nd. Shuttle back to Greenville (3pm).

Itinerary subject to adjustment depending on wind, water levels and prevailing weather conditions.

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

brought to you courtesy of the:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation

For recent stories & news with photos:

www.bigmuddyisland.org