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Chuck Dovish & Arkansas Educational Television:

Paddle the Mississippi River for Explore Arkansas!

Route: St. Francis River to Helena Harbor

When: Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011

Meet Time: 5am

Meet Place:

Quapaw Canoe Company

411 Ohio Street

Filming for a future Chuck Dovish Explore Arkansas segment on the Mississippi River using our giant voyageur canoes. No previous experience necessary! John Ruskey and the "Mighty Quapaws" will be your guides.

Description: Board shuttle for an early morning drive up the Helena levee (keep your eyes open for the strikingly beautiful indigo bunting which is commonly seen along the levee in the early morning hours of the day) and then up the low road through St. Francis National Forest as the owls are calling it a night and the squirrels and all the songbirds are waking up. Put in at the mouth of the St. Francis River as the sun is rising over the main channel of the Mississippi. Paddle over to St. Francis Bar for a quick swim -- and then paddle on down around the bend to Buck Island with all of the glorious first light of the day surrounding the forest and the river valley.

Sandbar Breakfast on Buck Island. One hour for exploring gravel bar and taking a swim in the warm waters of the back channel. Continue downstream around Buck Island with views of Crowley’s Ridge, the Helena Bridge and the strategic natural location of downtown Helena at the base of the Ridge. You’ve never really seen Helena until you’ve seen it from the river. This is how the first settlers saw it, and how the Native people who lived here for thousands of years experienced it!

Egrets, Herons, Ibis and other waders fill the sky as we swing on around the Riverpark past the end of the boardwalk and then cut into the Old Helena Harbor for the final lap up through the mirror surface of the calm waters, the grain elevators, the levee, and the top of the Delta Cultural Center resplendently reflecting alongside the walls of willows.

Cost: $100 each includes paddles, life jackets and all river gear, shuttles, sandbar breakfast and refreshments. Water bottles packed in iced cooler. Check or cash only.

Bring: sun protection, bug protection, shoes you don’t mind getting muddy & wet, and a swim suit & towel. Don’t forget your camera!

Limited Seating: first come first served.

Contact: John Ruskey or John Fewkes (870) 228-2266 for reservations.