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Lower Mississippi

River Dispatch

Vol 10 No 3e, Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In this issue:

-Big Island Expedition

-Helena Canoe Club

-Fundraiser Update

-Legislative Update

And… Coming Up in April:

-April 5th Naturefest at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

-April 9th Quapaw Canoe Company Fundraiser/Celebration

-April 12th Juke Joint Festival

-April 12th Bluz Cruz Vicksburg

-April 15th Natchez Grand Opening

Big Island Expedition 2014: Follow the story at Big Muddy Island: We will be updating as possible throughout.

Naturefest: April 5th The Mighty Quapaws will be running the big cypress strip voyageur canoes up and down the Pearl River during this day in celebration of nature's wonders at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. See full schedule at

Mighty Quapaw Fundraiser/Legislative Celebration

Please join us on Wed April 9th between 4 and 8pm for a Mighty Quapaw Fundraiser/Legislative Celebration. 4pm Welcome and Booksigning From Azaleas to Zydeco by Mark Nichols. 5-7pm Live Blues featuring Super Chikan. 7-8pm True Delta Photograph Exhibition by Michael Scanlan. 8-9pm Film: Who Owns Water? by David Hanson and Andrew Kornylak. Long Live the Mississippi River Guide!

Juke Joint Festival: April 12th blues music and folk arts, and family fun take over downtown Clarksdale. See the complete lineup at:

Bluz Cruz Vicksburg: April 12th the Mighty Quapaws will be racing their big cypress strip voyageur canoes down the middle of the Mississippi River with this classic race into Vicksburg. Sign up at

Rivergator: Vicksburg to Baton Rouge 207 miles of the magical & mysterious Lower Mississippi River -- through the Northeastern Louisiana Delta and the Mississippi Loess Bluffs right down to the coastal floodplain and industrial wonderland at Baton Rouge. April 12th to 23rd. Now takng reservations for this exploratory/documentary Expedition. See more information at

Quapaw Canoe Company Natchez Outpost is opening a new location in one of the coolest places on the Lower Mississippi River -- Natchez -- thanks to one of the coolest dudes you'll ever meet on the big river, Adam Elliott. April 15th (See below for more info)

Fundraiser Update:

I am extremely pleased to report that last Friday (on the first day of Spring: March 21) we reached our goal of $25,000! This happened because of you. We have received donations large and small sent from all over Mississippi, Arkansas, all over America, actually from all over the world. The reach of our friends includes people from Tutwiler to Austria, from Rena Lara to Olympia, from Memphis to Stowe, from Jackson to Melbourne, from Helena to Japan, from coast to coast and at least four continents! If anything, this demonstrates the influence of the big river and our work on her.

You helped make this happen and we are forever thankful for your belief in our work and in the future of Nature Tourism on the Lower Mississippi River. We believe good things will emerge from this travail. ALSO: If you are in Clarksdale Wed April 9th (maybe for Juke Joint Festival?), please stop by the Quapaw Canoe Company in downtown Clarksdale between 4 and 9pm for a Mighty Quapaw Fundraiser/Legislative Celebration. See below for details.

The sobering reality that comes with this good news is that our legal/accounting fees have climbed higher than forecast (in fact $6,000 higher). Sigh. Lord save my river-rat soul. This is an ongoing trial on a long trail up a big mountain. Every time we think we’re near the top, the summit recedes. Another bend of the trail appears. Oh well, we’re in it for the long haul. We’ve got our eyes on the prize. We are like the turtles, we’ve been here a long time wedged in the mud, and we’ll continue to do so!

Legislative Update:

Tuesday, March 25th Update:

HB 1604 Died, SB 2972 Amended and Passed House. Senate Concurrence Declined, Now back in Conference. March 29th Deadline.

Last week it was a topsy-turvy week for us in the Mississippi State Legislature. The language from HB 1604 was amended by the house into SB 2972, and then died. SB 2972 left the House Ways and Means Committee and was passed overwhelmingly as amended by the House (113 Yeas and 8 Nays). Then it went back to Senate. The Senate Finance Committee declined concurrence so now it goes back into conference. This back and forth is keeping us Quapaws on pins and needles! But we’re putting our faith in the good will of the Mississippi Legislature -- which has brought things further than ever imagined just a month ago. Ultimate deadline is Saturday March 29th. That’s this week! Five more days. It’s not over until its over. We won’t be happy until the bill is signed into law by Governor Bryant. Please keep your prayers and petitions alive for this final next week in the intention that HB 2972 will be agreed upon between the chambers and sent on in a timely manner to the Governor!

Track SB 2972 (Still Alive)

HB1604 (Dead)

Nature Tourism

This won't be retroactive. But it will protect this business for future development. It will pave the way for us and for anyone else interested in the growing industry of river guiding and outfitting. This will allow river guides to do it fairly in par with all other river (and harbor) endeavors, as Federal Law has been written to protect. River industry is as basic to the economy as agriculture or mining. River guiding is as important as any other, and is showing a lot of promise along the Lower Mississippi. Sorry to go on about this, but we naturally feel very strongly about it, and are hopeful for speedy and definitive resolution. Keep your hopes and prayers alive for another week! It's a historic moment for the future of nature tourism along the Lower Miss.

Fundraising Campaign: We’ve reached our $25K goal!

Fundraising report as of this morning (March 21st): $15,381 raised at

$10,220 received in checks = $25,601 total donations to defense fund.

Thanks to your support we’ve our $25K goal! We’re planning a fundraiser celebration for Wed April 9th at Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale. We hope to have good news to share from the State Legislature concerning the tax code. We hope you can join us for this celebration for paddlers, river rats and friends of Quapaw Canoe Company!

Mighty Quapaw Fundraiser/Legislative Celebration

Please join us on Wed April 9th between 4 and 8pm for a Mighty Quapaw Fundraiser/Legislative Celebration. 4pm Welcome and Booksigning From Azaleas to Zydeco by Mark Nichols. 5-7pm Live Blues featuring Super Chikan. 7-8pm True Delta Photograph Exhibition by Michael Scanlan. 8-9pm Film: Who Owns Water? by David Hanson and Andrew Kornylak.

Long Live the Mississippi River Guide!

Helena Canoe Club

After-School Feb 24 - May 24, 2014

Quapaw Canoe Company

107 Perry Street, Helena

What: Canoeing, Canoe-Carving, Teamwork, Leadership

Meets: 4-5:30pm Monday through Thursday

Field Trips: 4 all-day Saturday field trips, dates to be announced

Where: Quapaw Canoe Company, 107 Perry Street, Helena

Who: Any Helena/Phillips County Youth 5th through 8th grades

How: Youth and Parents must fill out application, available online or at location.


Helena Canoe Club (HCC) starts Monday Feb 24, 2012. This is an after-school program for youth 5th through 8th grades and open to all Helena/Phillips County Youth. By application only. First Come First Served. Youth and parents must complete an application, which is available online or at Quapaw Canoe Company in Helena. Applications accepted ongoing basis. Nine-week program Feb 24 through May 24, 2014.

Full Description:

Helena Canoe Club is an after-school program for Helena youth to learn the skills of carving canoes and then to paddle them on the big river. The program focuses on leadership, team-skills, and learning to overcoming challenges. Skills gained in first year will lead to self-confidence and self-knowledge and lay the foundation for future leadership skills and summer jobs in Eastern Arkansas eco-tourism opportunities. Skills include 1) learning to hone carving tools razor sharp; 2) learning to carve canoes with the axe, the adze, the scorp & the hand plane; 3) learning to steer canoes using the c-stroke, j-stroke & ruddering; 4) camping skills including building a fire, setting up a tent in a rain storm, and cooking. Each skill is a rung on a ladder leading to become a confident outdoorsman or outdoorswoman. Each skill learned prepares students for next challenge (ie, learning to steer leads to safe river navigation leads to becoming group leader; learning to sharpen a tool leads to mastering a carving tool leads to self-confidence). The Mississippi River, the Helena Harbor and Buck Island are the classrooms for all canoeing activities. Canoe carving takes place in the workshops in and around Quapaw Canoe Company Helena Outpost.


John Fewkes, 870-228-2266 or

John Ruskey, 662-627-4070 or

Helena Canoe Club is a partnership between Quapaw Canoe Company, KIPP Schools, Lower Mississippi River Foundation, Helena Health Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

Quapaw Canoe Company - Natchez Outpost

Canoe and kayak adventures & expeditions

on the Lower Mississippi River

including Vicksburg, Natchez,Vidalia,

Fort Adams and St, Francisville


Adam Elliott: 601-807-5382

John Ruskey 662-902-7841


On Tuesday, April 15th, Adam Elliott and Quapaw Canoe Company is opening doors in Natchez for guided tours, expeditions, birding, photography and wildlife-viewing adventures on the Lower Mississippi River. This location will service adventurous paddlers in the Vicksburg - Natchez - St. Francisville area of the Lower Mississippi River. Quapaw Canoe Company Natchez Outpost was established in 2014 by big river guide Adam Elliott for access into the wilds of the Mississippi Loess bluffs and Northeastern Louisiana Floodplain, Oxbow Lakes and seasonally flooded landscapes.

Starting at 12noon at Natchez-Under-the-Hill join us in celebration of the newest location for custom-guided & outfitted river trips on the Lower Mississippi River. Featuring big river guide Adam Elliott! All afternoon round-trip canoe rides in our big canoes from Under-the-Hill ramp. Full Moon trip leaves at 6pm and returns by the light of the moon. Live music to follow at Under-the-Hill Saloon featuring Mojo Mudd. For details: Adam Elliott or John Ruskey

April 15th 1-6pm Round trip one-hour canoe adventures along Natchez Bluff in giant voyageur canoe: $25/person. On the hour. No experience necessary, but must paddle and must wear life jacket! Safe, stable, all ages welcome. Includes paddles, pdfs all river equipment. Wear clothing appropriate to weather and don't forget sun protection. Don't forget camera!

To book your Mississippi River adventure from Natchez contact manager Adam Elliott: or call 601-807-5382. Adam provides all-around guiding & outfitting services including canoes or kayaks, expert guiding, mouth-watering meals, and shuttles to and from the river. You can show up in Natchez with a change of clothes and Quapaw Natchez will take of of everything else!

For more information about Quapaw Natchez and the Grand Opening at Natchez-Under-The-Hill on April 15, 2014, 12noon, please contact: Adam Elliott: 601-807-5382 or John Ruskey 662-902-7841 or go to

For more information about Quapaw Natchez, including maps, photos and itinerary descriptions, please go to

Visit Quapaw Natchez on Facebook:

Again, many thanks. With friends like you the way is being paved for the future of nature tourism businesses along the Lower Mississippi! Many blessings from all of us Mighty Quapaws.

Humbly yours in service of the Mighty Mississippi,

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

brought to you courtesy of the:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation

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