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LMRD 757 — New Year’s 2020 — Wednesday, Jan 8th
The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Mississippi River”

Mark River Blog:
To Serve and Sustain

Creator put us here not to master, deplete and decimate our natural world, but to serve and sustain it

After a very short Fall, Winter has settled upon us with hope and dreams for the coming year. The River is holding steady above its normal level, causing anxiety and uncertainty for the coming Spring. The fleet of Quapaw canoes are resting side by side hibernating anticipating the taste of the fresh snowmelt and discharge of aquifers coming soon. We wonder why we get these epic high water events. Is it because of the natural order of life or the continuous stress that human activity has forced upon her? Warm winters in places that usually have frigid temperatures. Invasive serpents finding themselves migrating further and further north disrupting the natural order. The rise in depression, anxiety, and allergies in humans. We must come together, putting our bottom lines aside, and realize that the Creator put us here not to master, deplete, and decimate our natural world, but to serve and sustain it.

When I'm in the wilderness these days, I can hear the animals call to me. They feel my compassion and grief, as I reach out to them for understanding. They feel my soul, showing themselves to me, to show me that we are one. If they suffer, we suffer. We are so caught up in prosperity and infinite growth, that we are leaving our natural community to struggle and fight to keep the balance for all of us. They need us. I respect the trees that produce priceless oxygen, while depleting the carbon dioxide in the air. I watch the birds migrate from the South spreading seed, producing invaluable flora and fauna that feed us. I hear the buzz of the insects pollinating the plants bearing fruits of life, while their larvae feed the fish. I witness the beaver managing the forest, dropping trees in the River creating valuable fish habitat. I see the raptors soaring high taking only what they need, controlling the balance. I honor the hunter who selectively harvest animals to feed their families, but show respect for their taking, and leave nothing to waste.

I recently watched a young environmentalist plead to the world for mercy. I could feel her desperate call to world leaders that we are not doing all we can. As tears run down my face, it reminded me of my youth. Elders lying and deceiving their offspring and the anger and pain you feel when you realize the deception. I've spent time with my nephew, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on Sustainable Energy, gearing up for the fight of a lifetime to correct the problems developed by past generations, and it makes me optimistic for the future. The natural world and our kids are feeling the stress. We must own up to our shortcomings and set an example for the next generations because they will mature and wonder what we were thinking. Let's be humble and restore the balance.

Mark River

Mark River is Chief Guide and Youth Leader for the Quapaw Canoe Company. He is Southern Coordinator of 1 Mississippi's River Citizen Program. Tune it to Mark River's podcast May the River be With You podcast Episode #5, River Music, featuring artists Lucious Spiller and Meghan Maike, tune in on Stitcher -- Or on Apple Podcasts


It's "River Time" with Driftwood Johnnie:

Happy Ca-New Year Everyone! In this most sacred of seasons we hope your dreams are blossoming between the cracks in the calendar of time.

We are deeply troubled by the burning of Eastern Australia, and the inflamed passions of the warlords at home and abroad. There are too many fires in too many places, and mother earth and all her creatures are suffering as result. The cold winter weather is a blessing. Embrace the cold, as you would a friend you may not be seeing too much of if we keep on our present path into the future. Coldness is becoming a precious experience of increasing rarity. Ice, snow, sleet, cold rain -- these might all be sensations we know only as stories we share with our children and grand-children -- if we don't turn things around, and do it soon. What is happening in the southern hemisphere’s summer will be our experience in 6 months. We need more coolness, not less; more cool woods, not more wood pellet plants for foreign export; more cool waters, not dried-out wetlands, more cool heads, not hot-heads ignoring the pleas of our planet. Slow down and enjoy the sweet beauty of our common mother. Burn less fuel. Listen to the earth; she is speaking. If you are having trouble hearing, step outside and spend some time on her riverbanks, or in her woods, her deserts, on the edges of her fields and plains. Join us in one of our many trips planned for Winter/Spring 2020. The Mississippi eloquently speaks for the earth!


Upcoming Paddling Events:
*Full Cold Moon -- this week, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Jan 9-11 Clarksdale, Helena, Memphis
*February is for Friends of the Sunflower River, cleanups and community paddling events
*Full Snow Moon canoe trips -- Thurs, Fri, Sat, Feb 7-9 Clarksdale, Helena, Memphis
*Sat, Feb 15, General Annual Membership Meeting, potluck, Sunflower River Cleanup
*Week-Long Artist’s Retreat on Horn Island, March 23-28th with nature artists Robin Whitfield and John Ruskey
*Bluz Cruz 22-mile Paddling Race on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg. Go to for registration and more info.

Full Cold Moon, Jan 9th, 10th, 11th

First full moon of the year!

Three trips:
Thursday, Jan 9th, Meet 1pm, Quapaw Clarksdale

Friday, Jan10th, Meet 1pm, Quapaw Helena
Saturday, Jan11th, Meet 1pm, Mud Island Memphis

Send an email to for more details and to reserve a seat in the canoe!


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to and click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.


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The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Quapaw Canoe Company


Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River, overseen by the LMRF:


Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?


Our Friends:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation is dedicated to promoting stewardship of the Lower and Middle Mississippi River through deep engagement.


1Mississippi River Citizen Program: River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America’s greatest River. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Together, we can protect the River for future generations. Take the first step today and sign up for free as a River Citizen at 1Mississippi, can the River count on you?"


The Walter Anderson Museum of Art inspires discovery, imagination, and community-building on the Gulf Coast and beyond through programs, exhibitions, and outreach; and embodies Walter Anderson’s vision for societies in harmony with their environments. "Our mission is to empower lifelong curiosity and connection to the natural world through the art of Walter Anderson and kindred artists."


LEAN: the Louisiana Environmental Action Network: Before LEAN was founded in 1986, polluters ran roughshod over Louisiana’s unique environment and way of life. Since then LEAN has fought to safeguard not just Louisiana’s scenic beauty, wildlife and culture but more importantly those underserved citizens that don’t have a voice. Help LEAN serve the needs of Louisiana's communities.


The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people every year. Enjoy your world. Leave No Trace.


Coahoma Collective catalyzes arts-driven, community-inclusive revitalization in downtown Clarksdale


Big Muddy Adventures: adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.