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Where the Ridge meets the River

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 389

Thursday, March 2, 2017

NPR Our Land: Mississippi River:
If you missed NPR on the river this past weekend
you can still listen to the online podcast here:
Melissa Block - Our Land

FB live broadcast here: NPR Live Video

Text & Photos here: Our Land

Tonight 5-6pm in Helena, AR:
Southbound Mardis Gras Parade!

Thursday, Mar 2nd, 5 - 6pm: Wear your best Mardi Gras outfit and come enjoy floats, colorful costumes, street performers, & float riders tossing out handfuls of beads! Even better- join the parade! Lineup at Southbound Pizza, Cherry Street, historic downtown Helena (next to Delta Cultural Center, near King Biscuit Stage).

Register your float or performance at Southbound or by calling (870) 228-5009!

There will be cash prizes for the best float, costumes , decorated bikes, etc for adults and children, thanks to JW Hall & Co Marketplace!

Stick around afterwards for the monthly Alive After Five event and Thursday Night Music Club feat. Stan Street & the Hopeless Case at Southbound!

Will you join us in the big canoe? An incredible opportunity is awaiting you deep in the heart of America:

Wanted: Business Partner or Purchase of the Quapaw Canoe Company -- Helena Outpost!

Great career opportunity at the best location on the Mississippi River in between Memphis and Vicksburg. Contact John Ruskey See below for full details.

(Also: This just in: Bluestem Communications has an opening for its Executive Director Position. Bluestem oversees our 1 Mississippi Program, and the Mississippi River Network. Keep reading below for more info.)

Helena commands the Mississippi River in Eastern Arkansas from the base of Crowley's Ridge. There are 321 miles of Mississippi River in Arkansas, from Osceola to Lake Village.

Quapaw Canoe Company - Helena, Arkansas:

Business Opportunity: Purchase/Partnership

Intro: This is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone who both loves the water and has dreamed of running or owning their own business. Purchase or partnership using well-established and successful system of operations. Great opportunity for first time 'outdoor-preneurs' for coaching, mentoring, logistical support, and camaraderie of the Quapaw Canoe network of river rats on the biggest and baddest river in North America!

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a career life change. This is the perfect location and setting for some special person to realize their full potential!

Description: Quapaw Canoe Company - Helena Outpost is offering a purchase or partnership opportunity for someone who has a strong passion for rivers, outdoor recreation, and is ready to dive into a challenging but rewarding business based in Helena, Arkansas. For more information about QCC, please visit

Geography: The Mississippi River forms 321 miles of paradise for paddlers along the Eastern Border of Arkansas, and Helena sits in the center of it all. With a protected harbor and 2 boat ramps, Helena is the ideal setup. Additional access to spectacular paddling on the White River, the Arkansas River, the St. Francis River, the Cache River (ivory billed woodpecker?) and Big Creek -- all within an hour’s drive of Helena.

Requirements: Must live in Helena or be willing to relocate. Must be friendly and people-oriented. Must be good with kids as well as adults. Must have good communication skills, and be able to speak comfortably with individuals as well as groups. Must be a capable writer and typist. Must be computer savvy (both Microsoft and Apple systems). Knowledge of Quickbooks a plus. Ability with Social Media a plus. Must be willing to tackle challenges and learn new skills. We will train as needed. Must be a good team member, but also must able to work independently. Must be passionate about the outdoors and the American wilderness ethic. Must be physically capable of outdoor tasks (such as canoeing and kayaking) and moving heavy equipment in preparation and/or cleanup of expeditions. Must have own personal vehicle and current driver’s license. Must be honest, earnest and hard-working. We are all worker bees in this company; the river is the queen.

Other Helpful Skills (but not requirements): Experience in nature tourism. Wilderness First Aid, or other medical training. Creative writing. Youth Outdoor Programming and Leadership. Natural Sciences. Adobe software. Grant-writing.

About Us: Quapaw Canoe Company is a mission-driven small business based in Clarksdale, Miss, with river outposts in Helena, Ark and Natchez, Miss. We are dedicated to exploring and sharing the beauty and wildness of the Lower Mississippi River and its muddy tributaries in human powered vessels.

Arrangement: Partnership or Purchase opportunity, subject to negotiation, including long term association with Quapaw Canoe Company: its systems, equipment (giant voyageur canoes), and internal mechanisms (that have passed the test of time for safe operations on the biggest and wildest river in North America).

About Us: Quapaw Canoe Company is a mission-driven small business based in Clarksdale, Miss, with river outposts in Helena, AR, Vicksburg, MS, and Natchez, Miss. We are dedicated to exploring and sharing the beauty and wildness of the Lower Mississippi River and its muddy tributaries in human powered vessels. We are dedicated to passing on the love of the river to the next generation.

We offer many types of service including guiding & outfitting, outdoor education, and canoe construction. Partner must be willing to tackle challenges and learn new skills. We will train as needed.

Tasks for the position include:

Office Tasks:

- Meeting and greeting of visitors and clients.

- Arranging educational workshops and presentations.

- Maintaining calendar and keeping schedule of events up to date.

- Taking notes at meetings. Preparing minutes, memos, reports, and other organizational tasks.

- Internet tasks such as online research and upkeep of social media.

- Accounting details such as maintenance of records, spreadsheets, input of data, billings, payments, taxes and etc.

- Light cleaning around office and canoe/kayak outfitting base

- Taking payments for expeditions

- Managing the signing of waivers for expeditions

- Answering phone calls and emails and booking trips for expeditions.

- Food purchases for expeditions

- Other responsibilities as the need arises

Additional tasks for the position might include:

Program Tasks:

- Possibly some photography, videography and other forms of documentation

- Possibly working with youth in after-school programs and outdoor training

Guiding & Outfitting Tasks:

- Cleaning of canoes & kayaks. Cleaning tents and sleeping bags and other camping equipment in between expeditions.

- Moving canoes, tents, water bottles, and other equipment in preparation for guided expeditions. Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds.

- Shuttling, driving, and other transportation needs

- rentals of canoes and kayaks and stand up paddleboards (for the Sunflower River)

- Some outfitting and rentals of canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and related gear for the Mississippi River

- Possibly some canoe & kayak maintenance as needed, also paddles, pfds and tents

- Possibly some guiding in canoes or kayaks. Must be physically fit. Must be able to engage in continuous aerobic exercise for several hours at a time.

- Possibly some cooking on expeditions

Note: And possibly other responsibilities as the need arises. All duties are undertaken in the overall QCC mission of bringing good attention to the Lower Mississippi River. Employee responsibilities often overlap.

To Apply for Purchase or Partnership: Please send 1) current resume, 2) an essay describing your interest, 3) Three references (or letters of reference) and 4) personal letter to: John Ruskey, Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, MS 38614, or by email to Feel free to write at length. Feel free to send any other supporting materials to help us understand who you are and where your passion for the river comes from.

In eastern Arkansas, Helena sits in the middle of it all! The White, the St. Francis, Bayou DeView, the Cache, Big Creek, the Arkansas, and the Mississippi Rivers are all easily accessible from Helena.

(More info about:)

Quapaw Canoe Company -- Helena, Arkansas

Partnership/Purchase Opportunity


This Partnership/Purchase will enable Quapaw Canoe Company to better establish itself in Helena and provide higher quality service to its clients.


Statistics from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show there are 24 million recreational paddlers in the U.S (compare that to 11 million licensed hunters). Most Americans go hiking, biking and paddling in the Rocky Mountains, Appalachia, the North Woods, or Florida to participate in outdoor recreation. The Mississippi River is America’s largest undiscovered wilderness. Quapaw Canoe Company is seeking to provide better access for paddlers right here in the heart of America’s Deep South.

We provide an essential link to nature in the heart of America on the biggest river in North America, the 3rd largest in the world. 1155 miles of free-flowing river below St. Louis with countless channels, back channels, side channels, runouts, passes and chutes to explore and get close to nature. Paddling brings clients closer to the essence of the wild river than any other means.


Quapaw Canoe Company was established in 1998 to provide high quality wilderness experiences on the Lower Mississippi River and its floodplain.

An opportunity in Helena

Quapaw Canoe Company Helena Outpost opened in 2008 at 411 Ohio in the historic district of downtown Helena. In 2012 we purchased the most ideal location for a river business in Helena at 107 Perry (5548 square feet). Helena has the best ramp and the safest harbor for hundreds of miles up & down the river (in between Memphis and Vicksburg). If any place is going to become the Canoe & Kayaking center of the Lower Mississippi River it’ll either be Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez or Helena -- and Helena has better public access and riverbank public camping. In addition, a public use island (Buck Island) is found within one mile of the Helena Harbor. Buck Island has been preserved for public recreation by Arkansas Game & Fish. All of these variables create the ideal combination for making Helena the springboard for Nature Tourism on the Mississippi River. All of the pieces are in place. It is only a matter of time before Helena reaches the tipping point and this takes off. When it happens, Quapaw Canoe Company will be there to serve and benefit!


We want to expand our services in a wholesome manner, to better serve our clientele, and better protect the river, and we want your help in a purchase/partnership to make this possible. Contact John Ruskey

Opening: Bluestem Communications Executive Director Position

Bluestem Communications has an opening for its Executive Director Position. Bluestem is the organization which oversees the Mississippi River Network (MRN). Bluestem has been building and managing the Mississippi River Network for the past ten years. Today it is 52-member organization focused on protecting the land, water and people of the Mississippi River from headwaters to gulf. Bluestem receives grant funding to manage this Network. Two and a-half Bluestem staff manage the Network. The goals of the Mississippi River Network are to advance public policy that protects water quality and the natural functioning of the river. These goals are accomplished through a ten-state grassroots campaign called 1 Mississippi that engages the public and encourages advocacy.

Interested? Contact Kelly McGinnis <> for more info.

The Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River is one million words describing the Middle and Lower Mississippi River for paddlers! Free online guide to the mysteries of the big muddy river from St. Louis to the Gulf. Also includes thousands of photos, maps and videos. 6-year project now being completed with the help of hundreds of naturalists, paddlers, and other river rats. Go check it out at!

For more photos of the Lower Miss and more reading, go to

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
is a service of the Lower Mississippi River Foundation
Clarksdale, Mississippi ~ Helena, Arkansas