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Mississippi River Dispatch No 449
Messipi - Diversity and the Big River
Monday, Jan 22, 2018
Clarksdale, Miss ~ Helena, Ark




Messipi: Diversity and the Big River
-- A film by Christopher Battaglia --
Sat Jan 27th 4pm at New Roxy Theater
Clarksdale Film Festival, Jan 26-27th

Messipi: What is wild? How can you both enjoy and protect a wild space? Messipi: Diversity and the Big River explores the wild, modern frontier of the Lower Mississippi River. On board a 29’ voyageur canoe with a crew of raw & ragged river rats, this film follows a journey from the American heartland to the Gulf of Mexico, celebrating the Rivergator, over 54 days in the spring and fall of 2017. The Mississippi River is a complex, dynamic landscape; in order to tell her story, Messipi paints a fresh, maternal portrait of “Old Man River,” using the people, places, flora, fauna, and industry found deeply connected between the levees of this grand natural resource (which also formed the land that gave birth to the blues - the legendary Yazoo-Mississippi Delta).

Rivergator: By creating more public access to the Lower Mississippi River, the Rivergator guides the viewer on a journey that seeks to revive an American frontier, so that ultimately we can bring balance back to our rapidly changing world, and bridge the widening gap between civilization and mother nature.

Messipi Film Bonfire & Celebration: Saturday, Jan 27th, 7-9pm. On the banks of the Sunflower River, behind the Quapaw Canoe Company building, 3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale. We will be sharing photos, videos, artwork, and many adventure stories around the campfire, in celebration of Chris Battaglia’s Film Messippi — from the 2017 Rivergator Expedition.
Expedition artists Boyce Upholt, Chris Battaglia, Rory Doyle and John Ruskey will be donating half of any proceeds back to the Lower Mississippi River Foundation to help support stewardship of the big river through youth engagement and conservation. Boyce Upholt chapbook Walled in Wild for sale $20 each. Chris Battglia 16x20 color photo prints $150 - $200. Rory Doyle 12x18 color photos $175. John Ruskey 18x24 Watercolor Paintings $350 - $1,000. Also Rivergator watercolor map-posters for sale $10 - $25 each.




Rivergator Thank-Yous:

Some important Rivergatorthank-yous I forgot to include in previous Dispatch:



First of all a Mighty Quapaw shout-out to the LMRF --Lower Mississippi River Foundation -- Board of Directors Scott Shirey, Erickson Blakney, Jenn Mohead, Kevin Smith, and Erin Lee (also ex-oficio ShondaWarner and Curtis Boschert) -- without your grit, strength and integrity this project would never have been completed!



Secondly, the Rivergator website is the creation of web spinners and masters John & Lori Moore of 305spin.com (and their dedicated staff in Sedalia, MO, and Steamboat Springs, CO). Our paddles up to John & Lori -- for all of these years together on this journey!



Multi-talented artist Wolf E. Chris Staudinger created graphics and layout for the first series of Rivergator posters including the original 101 miles of the Muddy Waters Wilderness (Helena to Greenville), and the original base map of the project (St. Louis to the Gulf). (PS: both available in theRivergator Map Shop)



Creative guru James Tootle and staff at Sundaram Design of Austin, TX, completed all design work and layout for the last years of the Rivergator including Mississippi River Connects Us All and the beautiful Southern Louisiana map-poster depicting the last 350 miles of river to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atchafalaya River route.



Writers, Authors, Journalists:
The Rivergator is all about sharing the river! Thanks to the many writers who eloquently reported on the modern river, including poet Wang Ping (Kinship of Rivers, Macalester College), Brian Broom (Jackson Clarion Ledger), Alison Jones (No Water, No Life), Dave Shively(Canoe & Kayak Magazine), Bruce Van Wyngarden (Memphis Flyer), Ernest Herndon (Canoeing Mississippi, Canoeing Louisiana, McComb Enterprise Journal), Stephanie Artz, Matt Tyler (Social South), Tom Charlier (Memphis Commercial Appeal), LaNae Abnet (One Woman's River), Dean Klinkenberg (Mississippi Valley Traveler series), Boyce Upholt (Between the Levees), Tom Uhlenbrock (Missouri Division of Tourism), Max Davidson (London Telegraph), Taylor Mitchell (Clarksdale Press Register), Mary Ann Sternberg (Along the River Road, Winding Through Time), Donovan Hohn(Moby Duck), Melissa Block (NPR -National Public Radio), Wallace J Nichols (Blue Mind: Connecting People to Water), AD Miller (Financial Times), Irina Zhorov (WHYY The Pulse), Derrick Jensen (The Myth of Human Supremacy, Resistance Radio),
Julia Holmes (Meeks), Zoie Clift (Arkansas Dept of Parks & Tourism), Jamie Lynn Miller, and Birney Imes (Commercial Dispatch).



Photographers and Film-Makers:
Film-makers and photographers involved include Alan Spearman (As I Am), Lance Murphy (Nobody), David Hanson (Modoc Films: Atchafalaya River), Ralph Pace (Ralph Pace Photography), Joseph Dickinson (Florida State University), Nic Stoltfus (Live Oak Production Group), Maryanne Todd (Legends Magazine), Brad Vest (Memphis Commercial Appeal), Tracy Fredin and John Shepard (Hamline University Center for Global Environmental Education), David Ross (Brickyard: River Made), Mike Brown (Memphis Commercial Appeal), Tom Joynt (Tom Joynt Studio -- helped with all map poster productions), and Chris Battaglia (Village Vitals, Wilderness Within, Messipi).

(Note: there have been many others involved -- please remind me who for future updates and corrections -- let me know if I am missing someone... thank you!)



A 2009 expedition down the Atchafalaya River with adventurer Kristian Gustavson and his Below the Surface team led to important knowledge gained about that route through the largest swamp river in North America. (This expedition was covered by the May, 2010, Reader's Digest by Steve Chapple and Erica Larsen.)



One million words describing the Lower Mississippi River did not come from my pen alone... In fact, you will see below, there were over 200 people involved in writing, editing, or fact-checking the Rivergator, including paddlers, biologists & other naturalists, pilots, writers, musicians & other artists, engineers, business people, industry leaders, non-profit leaders, and government leaders. (Note: some of the people listed below have changed jobs; as result some organizations or affiliations listed might have changed over the duration of the past 6 years.)





I had no idea what I was getting into 6 years ago when I began having conversations with potential partners about the Rivergator. The original vision came out of Saving Buck Island (2005-2011 - American Land Conservancy, Arkansas Game & Fish) and was a plan to simply describe the river from Buck Island to Choctaw Island, a 101 mile run down the wildest stretch of river on the Lower Miss. This happened thanks to Ron Nassar, then director of the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission. I put together a team of explorers to document and describe the river, and a panel of experts to review it. But when we completed that stretch in 2012, we realized that something was missing. While a great start, simply describing this remote stretch of river was too insular and isolated. We realized we needed to describe the river upstream to Memphis, and downstream to Vicksburg. Then we saw that Caruthersville to Memphis was needed, and also Vicksburg to Natchez. Like many big river projects, the Rivergator took on a life of its own, and demanded total attention (almost consuming my life at the same time!) From there it became a jigsaw puzzle of adding in the pieces to complete the whole: St. Louis to Memphis. Vicksburg to Baton Rouge. We added in the Atchafalaya as our recommended route to reach the Gulf (for many reasons — go to that section for explanation). But also recognizing the fact that many paddlers will continue down the main stem river through New Orleans, we added in Baton Rouge to the Gulf, via the passes of the Bird’s Foot Mississippi River Delta. And so it became almost encyclopedic in scope. It has consumed my life, my business, and for the past 6 years most of my creative energy. Now it is alive and functioning at www.rivergator.org. It is with some regret, joy and other bittersweet feelings of letting my baby walk on its own that I am setting the project to rest (and wondering what will come next!)





The Rivergator is not perfect (But the River is!)

The river is always changing. We might have missed some details, or made mistakes. And so ultimately it is up to you, dear readers, to help us get it right! As you read through the Rivergator you will notice “comment” boxes on every page where you can write directly onto the page you are reading, and make suggestions, corrections, or even add your own story or experience.






Summary:

The Middle/Lower Mississippi River creates the longest free-flowing water trail in the continental United States, 1155 miles from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico. Rivergator is a mile-by-mile paddler’s guide written for canoeists, kayakers, paddleboarders, and anyone else plying the waters of the Lower Mississippi River in human-powered craft. The Rivergator was born in 2011 and is coordinated by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. The name Rivergator is adopted from the best seller The Navigator first published in 1801 by Zadok Cramer, with the hope that Americans will rediscover their “wilderness within,” the paddler’s paradise created by the Middle Lower Mississippi Rivers.


Who is the Rivergator written by?

The Rivergator was written by paddlers for paddlers. Primary author, John Ruskey, has been paddling, photographing, and documenting the islands, landings and channels of the Lower Mississippi River since 1982. A host of big river experts reviewed content and added details including legendary river guide Michael Clark (Big Muddy Adventures, St. Louis), big river guide and 1Mississippi leader Mark "River" Peoples, author Ernest Herndon (Canoeing Mississippi, Canoeing Louisiana), biologist Paul Hartfield (endangered species specialist for the US Fish & Wildlife), Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Paul Orr, and his brother Michael Orr.




Big river guides Mark River, Zoe Sundra, Lena Von Machui, Chris “Wolf E” Staudinger, Layne Logue, Adam Elliott, and Braxton Barden all contributed important content from their unique perspective from the stern seat of a canoe. Much of the writing was made better by the intense editorial scrutiny of writer Boyce Upholt (Between the Levees). The Rivergator Project was coordinated by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. The Rivergator website is made possible by hundreds of partners and sponsors, including the Walton Family Foundation, which believes in "conservationomics": lasting solutions that make sense for the economy and the environment. Special thanks to Ron Nassar, who agreed to host the original grant through the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission (now directed by Angela Rodgers). And also special thanks to James Cummins, Wildilife Mississippi whose critical 11th hour assistance helped us in completing this year’s Rivergator Celebration.




Lastly (saving the best for last!) the Rivergator project would not have been possible without the love, support (and great patience) of my wife Sarah Crisler-Ruskey and daughter Emma-Lou, who endured many months of my absence while we explored the Lower Mississippi River, approximately 4,500 miles of canoe expeditions over the last 6 years. Thanks baby(s)!

Panel of Experts

Each section of the Rivergator was overseen by its own Panel of Experts. We’ll start from the tippy-top of the Rivergator, in St. Louis, and work our way downstream through Memphis, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and on down through the Bird’s Foot Delta to the Gulf of Mexico. Please let me know if I am missing anyone, and I will add on!



St. Louis to Caruthersville:

Dean Klinkenberg, author of the Mississippi Valley Traveler series; Dave Herzog, Missouri Dept of Conservation; Kimberly Rea, USACE Riverlands project director, Janet Moreland, big river kayaker; Amy Lauterbach, big river paddler; John Sullivan, canoe/kayaker, retired WDNR water quality specialist; Scott Mandrell, voyageur, teacher, historian; Betsy Tribble, big river paddler; Chad Pregracke, Living Lands & Waters; Janet Meredith, National Great Rivers Museum, David Hardesty, big river paddler; Cliff Ochs, big river researcher, University of Mississippi; John L. Hartleb, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge; Bryan Hopkins, Water Resources Center, Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Ethan Engerski, Natural Resource Specialist USACE, Tom Uhlenbrock, Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Steve Schnarr and Melanie Cheney, Missouri River Relief; Greg Poleski, Greenway Network, Layne Logue, kayaker; Norman Miller, big river kayaker; Ernest Herndon, author of Canoeing Mississippi, Paul Hartfield, USFW endangered species biologist; Michael Clark, St. Louis river guide, owner of Big Muddy Adventures; Mark River Peoples, St. Louis native and big river guide; Braxton Barden, big river guide.




John Ruskey first descended the Mississippi in 1982 on a 12x24 foot raft, and has been taking notes, photographs and documenting the river ever since. St. Louis area Rivergator contributor Mike Clark has been exploring the Confluence and the Middle Miss for over a decade. He is considered the expert on running the Chain of Rocks. In 2002 and in 2006 Mike Clark and I spent 5 months exploring the entire Missouri River in dugout canoes, the second time as engages in Scott Mandrell’s “Then & Now” Lewis & Clark Re-enactment. Our experiences paddling dugouts to the confluence and over the Chain of Rocks are here in the Rivergator. In 2009 Mike Clark and I guided German film-makers from St. Louis to Caruthersville (and on down to the Gulf of Mexico) on a giant raft (actually a “canoe-ma-raft,” a 16 x 30 platform supported by 2 voyageur canoes as pontoons). Big Muddy Mike has made thousands of other Middle Miss voyages after the 2001 formation of his Big Muddy Adventures, which is based near North Riverfront Park in St. Louis (including a “Huck ‘n’ Jim expedition” where he paddled it all after dark just like Huck and Jim did -- this is not recommended).




Rivergator contributor Mark River Peoples was born and raised along the Mississippi River in St. Louis and East St. Louis. Mark River is now a full-time guide on the Lower Mississippi River, and writes a blog, appropriately called the “Mark River Blog.” Contributors Mark River and Braxton Barden explored St. Louis to Cairo one last time in the low water of Nov 2014 to verify everything. Braxton Barden was a full time guide and photographer on the Lower Mississippi River with Quapaw Canoe Company.


And so the Rivergator is the culmination of over 30 years of personal exploration and the experiences of other hardened river rats. I have paddled the Mississippi on anything that floats (including a log!). To verify all information I have been making refresher “exploratory expeditions,” (We last paddled this section with a team of explorers during the June rise, 2014 and then a second time in low water Nov 2014). I’ll try to keep myself out of it as much as possible, and let the river speak for herself. But I’ll also spice the journey with stories and vignettes from my adventures along the way, and others who have first-hand experience.




Other important Rivergator sources include the National Weather Service “Lower Mississippi River Gauge and Week Forecast,” the 2011 Upper Mississippi River Navigation Charts (Middle Miss), and 2007 Flood Control and Navigation Maps: Mississippi River (Lower Miss), Google Maps Satellite View, Marion Braggs’ Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi River, Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, Great River Road website, Built St. Louis website, Charles Dee Sharp’s The Mississippi River in 1953, John James Audubon Birds of America, Parkman’s LaSalle, DeSoto’s Narrative, the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge website, the National Wildlife Refuge Website, Eve Beglarian River Project Blog, The Riverlorian, Wikipedia, Quapaw Canoe Company and Wild Miles. See “Sources” for complete listing, links, and suggestions for further reading.




The Rivergator is made possible by many partners, in this stretch including Joan Twillman, Mississippi River Trail Association; Charlene Waggoner, Greenway Network; Kelly McGinnis, 1 Mississippi; Terry Eastin, Mississippi River Trail, Thomas Malkowicz, Washington University Videographer, the Missouri Division of Tourism, National Great Rivers Museum, Missouri Dept of Conservation; USACE Riverlands Project Office, Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge, Water Resources Center, Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, and Missouri River Relief.




Caruthersville to Memphis:

Dr. Ken Jones, big river pilot and Dyersburg biologist; Jim Stark, Dyersburg kayaker; Diana Threadgill, director of the Mississippi River Corridor-Tennessee; Keith Kirkland, big river canoeist, trailblazer and Wolf River Conservancy outdoors programs director; Bruce Van Wyngarden, big river pilot and founding editor of the Memphis Flyer; Joe Royer, pioneering Memphis kayaker and founder of Outdoors Inc; Dale Sanders, big river kayaker and adventurer extraordinaire; Terry Eastin, Director of the Mississippi River Trail; Colton Cockrum, river canoeist and founder of the Memphis River Warriors; Bayard Morgan, canoeist and river advocate; Tom Rhoem, Big River Engineering, John Gary, big river pilot and all-around river-rat; Mike Beck, big river kayaker; Mark River Peoples, big river guide, and Chris “Wolfie” Staudinger, big river guide, Braxton Barden, avid paddler and mariner.



Memphis to Greenville:

Bubba Battle, canoe builder and paddler; Rick Howe, structural engineer, river rat; Julia Malinowski, Helena Tourism Director; Kevin Smith, historian and big river paddler; Bill Branch, artist, curator Delta Cultural Center; Peggy Linton, Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi; Larry Jerrett Canoeist, river advocate; Kevin Pierson, National Audubon Society Lower Mississippi Program; Ernest Herndon, canoeist, author of Canoeing Mississippi and also Canoeing Louisiana, Paul Hartfield, biologist, pilot, big river expert; Bruce Van Wyngarden, big river pilot and founding editor of The Memphis Flyer; Joe Royer, pioneering Memphis kayaker and founder of Outdoors Inc.; Dale Sanders, big river kayaker and adventurer extraordinaire; Beth Wiedower, Arkansas Rural Delta Heritage Initiative, Terry Eastin, Director of the Mississippi River Trail; Colton Cockrum, river canoeist and founder of the Memphis River Warriors; Bayard Morgan, canoeist and river advocate; Sources include Historic-Memphis.com, The Tennessee Valley Authority, The City of Memphis, The Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man, Wikipedia, Quapaw Canoe Company and Wild Miles. See “Sources” for complete listing and suggestions for further reading.



Greenville to Vicksburg:

Layne Logue, Kayaker; Russell Reynolds, kayaker; John Keen, photographer, kayaker; Meg Cooper, Director Lower Delta Partnership; Tommy Shropshire, outdoorsman, kayak-fisherman; Dora Ann Hatch, Agritourism Coordinator LSU AgCenter; David Dupree, kayaker, Barry Boyette, kayaker, Dan Fordice, river air-rat; Wayne Pratt, kayaker, Bluz Cruz organizer; Tim McCarley, big river pilot; Angeline Rodgers, Director, Lower Mississippi River Commission; Bruce Reid, ornithologist, Lower Mississippi River Commission; Kevin Pierson, National Audubon Society Lower Mississippi Program; Ernest Herndon, canoeist, author of Canoeing Mississippi also Canoeing Louisiana, Paul Hartfield, biologist, pilot, big river expert; and Ray Acock, big river naturalist. Mark River Peoples, big river guide, Chris “Wolfie” Staudinger, big river guide, and Braxton Barden, big river guide. Sources: The Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Lower Delta Partnership, Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, Greenville CVB, Vicksburg CVB, City of Vicksburg, LSU Agritourism, Explore North Louisiana, Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, John James Audubon Birds of America, Parkman’s LaSalle, DeSoto’s Narrative, Stan Finger Finger on the Weather, Wikipedia, Quapaw Canoe Company and Wild Miles. See “Sources” for complete listing and suggestions for further reading.


Vicksburg to Baton Rouge:

“Momma” Marylee Orr, the guiding light of LEAN and constant source of inspiration, Mike Beck, kayaking chemist; Nathan Beane, USACE forest/plant ecologist, Michael Jones, Visit Mississippi, Mississippi Outdoor Tourism Director, Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper; Michael Orr, Louisiana Environmental Action Network; Ernest Herndon, author of Canoeing Mississippi also Canoeing Louisiana; Paul Hartfield, endangered species biologist USFW; Ray Acock, big river naturalist; Tommy Shropshire, outdoorsman, kayak-fisherman; Dora Ann Hatch, Agritourism Coordinator LSU AgCenter; David Dupree, kayaker, Angeline Rodgers, Director, Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission; Layne Logue, kayaker; Adam Elliott, big river guide; Mark River Peoples, big river guide; and Braxton Barden, big river guide. Sources include the National Weather Service “Lower Mississippi River Gauge and Week Forecast,” the US Army Corps 2007 Flood Control and Navigation Maps: Mississippi River, Google Maps Satellite View, Marion Braggs’ Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi River, Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, The Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Louisiana Delta Adventures, Lower Delta Partnership, Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, Greenville CVB, Vicksburg CVB, City of Vicksburg, LSU Agritourism, Explore North Louisiana, Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, John James Audubon Birds of America, Parkman’s LaSalle, DeSoto’s Narrative, Wikipedia, Quapaw Canoe Company and Wild Miles. See “Sources” for complete listing and suggestions for
further reading.






Baton Rouge to Venice:

Charlie Poche, paddler’s best friend at Paulina, mile 149, Poche Paradise; Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper; Michael Orr, Louisiana Environmental Action Network; “Momma” Marylee Orr, guiding light of LEAN and constant source of inspiration, Mike Beck, kayaking chemist; Mary Ann Sternberg, author, "Cleo of the muddy Miss," Chris Brantley, Bonnet Carre Spillway Project Manager, Layne Logue, big river guide; Adam Elliott, big river guide; Mark River Peoples, big river guide; and Braxton Barden, big river guide; David Dupree, kayaker, Angeline Rodgers, Director, Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission;




Atchafalaya River:

Dean Wilson & Cara Leverett, Atchafalaya Basinkeepers, Bryan Piazza Nature Conservancy, photographer - videographer - writer David Hanson, Ashley Herrick Atchafalaya Heritage Area, Marylee Orr, Billy Howell, Linnea Goderstad, Dave Goderstad, ornithologist Melanie Driscoll, Boyce Upholt, Rory Doyle, Zoe Sundra, Paul Orr, Robert Landreneau, Michael Orr, Mike Beck,. Michael Clark, Mark River Peoples, Chris Staudinger, Layne Logue, Paul Hartfield, Ernest Herndon, Linda Bear Heart Brewer, Adam Elliott, Ernest Herndon, author of Canoeing Mississippi also Canoeing Louisiana.


Rivergator Celebration Expedition:

Thanks to Andy “Andigator” McLean, Tony Long, John & LaNae Abnet, Boyce Upholt, Rory Doyle, and Adam Elliott for helping us complete the Rivergator Celebration Expedition! In St. Louis thanks to the BMA Crew Mike Clark, Janet Moreland, and Roo Yawitz. Also joining us in St. Louis: Alicia Lloyd, and Tim Weybright. Dennis Van Norman joined in Grand Tower; in Caruthersville my sister Abby Ruskey and Alan Johnson; in Memphis Jenny Lyman, Nick Lyman, Christine Ingrassia, Emma Ingrassia, and Robin Colonas; in Helena Katherine Stewart, Zoie Clift (Arkansas Dept of Tourism), also Nancy Foley, Shelley Ritter, Bill Talbot and Corey Fletcher; in Clarksdale Katie Steinour, Rachel Bouer, Rory Doyle, Taylor Mitchell, Michel Varisco, Matt Sutton, Jane Sutton, Zak Sutton, Julia Olmstead, and Paul Helgeson; in Greenville Mike Beck, Erik Schultz and Linn Kincannon; in Baton Rouge Michael Orr and Paul Orr; at Bonnet Carre Julia Holmes, Jamie Lynn Miller, Robert Landreneau, Michael Orr, and Paul Orr. Thanks to all who met us in Algiers to celebrate with the rising Full Hunter’s Moon including Mark River’s brother, Michael Orr’s girlfriend, Lena’s friend Liz, also Chuck Rutledge, Ann Williams and Allison Stouse (and many others whose names I cannot recall!)




Rivergator Celebration: Rediscovering The Wilderness Within:

This August 18th celebration was made possible thanks to Jen Waller, Coahoma High Education Center, Kappi Allen, Visit Clarksdale!, Jennifer Ruskey, Mara Califf, Rachel Bouer, Becky Bobo, Fredean Langford, Yazoo Pass, Levon's, Stone Pony, River’s Smokehouse, Memphis Art Center & Supply, Copytime of Clarksdale, the LMRF Board of Directors Jenn Mohead, Erickson Blakney, Scott Shirey, Kevin Smith, 1 Mississippi, and many, many others in Clarksdale, Helena, Memphis, and elsewhere. Special thanks to Mark River Peoples, Lena Von Machui, Timothy Winter-Nelson, Boyce Upholt and John & LaNae Abnet for preparing for celebration.




Art Materials:

Special appreciation to Tom Wilson, Susan Steele and staff at the Memphis Art Center & Supply for their consistent good advice and support of this project!




Final Recognitions:

Thanks to Tim Richardson and Kevin Smith for early inspiration in realizing the need for a Lower Mississippi River water trail. Thanks to Ray Acock and Moira McDonald for "seeing the light" of the original vision. Thanks to WFF grant officer Morgan Snyder for diligently sticking through the ups and downs of the long journey with great recommendations, connections and very helpful criticism. Thanks to our sage, the grizzled river rat Paul Hartfield, for consistently keeping us focused on the all of the unique details that make the Lower Mississippi River the rich and dynamic place it is. Special thanks to Ron Nassar, who agreed to host the original project through the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Commission (now directed by Angela Rodgers). And also special thanks to James Cummins, Wildilife Mississippi whose critical 11th hour assistance helped us in completing this year’s Rivergator Celebration.


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