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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 412

Big River Beach Specials

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Next Week: 4th of July
Summer Beach Specials!

Sunrise and Sunset trips to sandbar island for swimming, sunbathing and beach-combing! Half day trips from Clarksdale or Helena. No experience necessary. Everyone paddles together in our giant hand-crafted cypress strip canoes. Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon. Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm. This week only -- Half Price! $75 each for the half-day adventure. We provide the canoe, paddles, life jackets and all safety equipment. You bring food, drink and whatever personals you need for the beach! Two trips every day during the Fourth of July Week: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and one on Saturday July 8th. Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon. Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm. Weather permitting of course. Other activities include sand castles, burying your friends in the sand, beach frisbee, beach volleyball, birding, animal tracking, geology, photography, and taking a siesta. For more information contact John Ruskey,, Lena Von Machui,, or Mark River Minimum to make trip: 6 people. No maximum. First come, first served.

Sunday July 2nd

Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon

Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm

Monday July 3rd

Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon

Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm

Tuesday July 4th

Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon

Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm

Saturday July 8th

Sunrise Special: 6am-12noon

Sunset Special: 2pm-8pm

Thank You:
special thanks to everyone who made donations in support of Camp ROCK. We raised $850 to help 125 kids ages 6-11 get in canoes on the Sunflower River last week for a fun, educational, and adventuresome time! (Note: we’ve reduced the goal to $2,000 — $500/day for 4 days — we got rained out on the last day). See below for more information if you feel like supporting us in this cause.

Solar Eclipse of the Century
On the Mississippi River!

Total Solar Eclipse on the Big River Sunday Aug 20th - Tuesday Aug 22nd. View the Total Solar Eclipse August 21st from the mighty Mississippi River! We will paddle to remote Mississippi River island and set up an eclipse-viewing camp to observe this incredible phenomena from the perspective of the biggest river in North America. 3 days/2 nights. Rain or Shine. (Note: the effects of the eclipse will be seen and felt regardless of sky cover. In cloudy weather it will become even darker.) Contact John Ruskey,, to reserve your seat in the big canoe, or for more information.

Upcoming Events:

Aug 18: Rivergator Celebration Exhibition: On Friday, August 18th we will be celebrating the Rivergator with paintings, photos, writing, film, music, food and drinks! Starts 6pm at Catalpa House in Clarksdale, Miss. 6-9pm. Featuring paintings by John Ruskey, writing by Boyce Upholt, photos & film by Chris Battaglia, and music TBA. Catalpa House is located at the corner of Riverside & Catalpa (110 Catalpa Street — across the Sunflower River from downtown Clarksdale). For more information contact John Ruskey,, Lena Von Machui,, or Mark River

Aug 19th: Quapaw Canoe Company's annual Canoe, Kayak & SUP Safety Workshop -- in the Helena Harbor 12noon to 5pm. Meet 11am at Quapaw Helena headquarters 107 Perry St in downtown Helena, last building on levee headed to river. Open to public, $50/person for one-on-one instruction in what to do when your vessel flips over in the big river. Other topics covered include navigation, big river safety protocol, and emergency medical considerations.

Rivergator Update: Once again, sorry for the delay in sending out any more news of the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition. We had to jump back into a very-busy Spring Summer season of guiding & outfitting on the Lower Mississippi River, and leave the story behind for now. At Quapaw Canoe Company guiding & outfitting is our bread and butter — the activity that keeps us alive and enables us to engage in community-based projects like the Rivergator and our all of our youth training and outdoor education. When you go on a trip with Quapaw you help us out with our strong ethic of community service. This year has been especially tough for us. We have dedicated all of our resources and energies to completing the Rivergator and are returning to find our business suffering from neglect and inattention. In addition, several major European expeditions have cancelled on us — due to what they described as the “unfriendly political climate in America." As far as I can tell, this reluctance to travel to America is partly due to travel restrictions, and partly due to our pullout from the Paris Climate Accord. This is alarming for us. A significant portion of our clientele comes from oversees.


You can however, read Boyce Upholt’s description in Canoe & Kayak Magazine, beautifully illustrated with Magique's (Chris Battaglia’s) photos.

Beyond the Levees: the Crew reaches the end of their journey down the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

May 30, 2017 by Boyce Upholt, photos by Chris Battaglia


Nov 1-Nov 10: Continuation of the Rivergator Expedition: We will return to Bonne Carre Spillway in early November and resume the expedition to the Gulf of Mexico. More details forthcoming, but dates are approx Wed, Nov 1 to Fri Nov 10th, weather dependent of course.


New England Rivergator Events: Maine!

July 17th - A Mississippi River Pop-Up Dinner

FORK Food Lab

72 Parris St, Portland, ME

What: Pop-up dinner celebrating the stories and flavors of the 2017 Rivergator Celebratory Expedition. Images, video, and words to bring to life the Lower Mississippi River, as seen from a 30’ voyageur canoe between St. Louis and New Orleans. Three course meal - details coming soon.

Where: FORK Food Lab, 72 Parris St, Portland, ME. FORK is a community shared kitchen and tasting room, located in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood.

When: Monday, July 17th, 2017. 7pm

More: Ticketed event, with tickets being released soon.

Sign up on Village Vitals to be the first to hear about tickets:

July 20th - Inaugural Talk & Adventure Presentation Series

Portland Gear Hub

85 Anderson St, Portland, ME

What: Presentation and story-sharing from the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition. Focus on gearing up for the expedition, lessons learned about the basics of Shelter, Clothing, Food, and Fuel, and “where do we go from here?”

Where: Portland Gear Hub’s new Bike School location, 85 Anderson St, Portland, ME. Portland Gear hub is a non-profit bike and outdoor gear shop powered by Camp Ketcha. The Bike School is a dedicated program and class space.

Sign up on Village Vitals to be the first to hear about tickets:

Help Support Camp R.O.C.K. 2017!

Appeal to our readership: Dear friends, family, river rats: last week was one of our favorite weeks of the year, Camp R.O.C.K. We guided 125 youth ages 6-11 in our big canoes on the Sunflower River. Recent grant applications for this project were either denied or downsized (one major grant was cut in half). And so we are making a popular appeal to you to help support this awesome week! The goal is $2,000 for canoeing activities during Camp R.O.C.K. We give a lot and don’t ask for much back. But this is one of those things that we feel strongly about! You can send your tax-deductible donation by check to the Lower Mississippi River Foundation:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation

291 Sunflower Avenue

Clarksdale, MS 38614

Credit Card: Or you can do it online via PayPal on the bottom of the LMRF website:

More About Camp R.O.C.K.

Camp R.O.C.K. is offered to children ages 6, 7, and 8 in the mornings and 9,10, and 11 in the afternoons everyday during the week of June 19th. Camp R.O.C.K. = Recreation and Outdoors for Coahoma Kids. Activities include health, diet, canoeing, archery, basketball and soccer, and is open to all youth in Coahoma County, Mississippi. Camp R.O.C.K. connects kids with kids, and kids with the outdoors and nature!

Camp R.O.C.K. educates and inspires our community to focus on the importance of health and wellness. Camp R.O.C.K. gives each child the opportunity to participate in physical activities, learn team building skills, work with a registered dietitian, and provide the chance to learn new skills that can be used to remain physically active for life. Parents fill out a survey regarding the success of camp for their child. We plan to serve 150 to 170 students during the week for a limited fee.

Youth in Clarksdale and Coahoma County ages 6 to 11 years will benefit from Camp R.O.C.K. programs that educate them about health practices and resources, engage them in fitness and nutrition activities, and require them to make a conscious investment and/or response to these opportunities. Key benefits for participants in the Camp R.O.C.K. program include an increase in nutrition education, physical fitness training, weight management, and team- building skills. Other benefits include an increased affection for active living as well as the development of new friendships with a variety of people from all over the community. We will target approximately 200 youth for participation in Coahoma County.


Quapaw Canoe Company - Carpenter Art Garden took 1st and 2nd place at the

Outdoors Inc Canoe & Kayak Race

Photos and Story in Commercial Appeal:


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

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Lower Mississippi River Foundation


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