Arkansas River

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Arkansas River
Arkansas River (2020).jpg
Arkansas River headwaters in Colorado
Arkansas river basin map.png
The Arkansas River flows through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and its watershed also drains parts of Texas, New Mexico and Missouri.
Country United States
State Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas
Region Great Plains
Cities Pueblo, CO, Wichita, KS, Tulsa, OK, Muskogee, OK, Fort Smith, AR, Little Rock, AR, Pine Bluff, AR
Physical characteristics
SourceConfluence of East Fork Arkansas River and Tennessee Creek
  locationNear Leadville, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
  coordinates 39°15′30″N106°20′38″W / 39.25833°N 106.34389°W / 39.25833; -106.34389 [1]
  elevation9,728 ft (2,965 m)
Mouth Mississippi River
Franklin Township, Desha County, near Napoleon, Arkansas
33°46′30″N91°6′30″W / 33.77500°N 91.10833°W / 33.77500; -91.10833 [2] [1]
108 ft (33 m) [3] [1]
Length1,469 mi (2,364 km), West-east [4]
Basin size168,000 sq mi (440,000 km2) [5]
  location Little Rock, AR [6]
  average39,850 cu ft/s (1,128 m3/s) [6]
  minimum1,141 cu ft/s (32.3 m3/s)
  maximum536,000 cu ft/s (15,200 m3/s)
Basin features
River system Mississippi River watershed
  left Fountain Creek, Pawnee River, Little Arkansas River, Walnut River, Verdigris River, Neosho River
  right Cimarron River, Salt Fork Arkansas River, La Flecha, Canadian River, Poteau River

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley. The headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It flows east into Kansas and finally through Oklahoma and Arkansas, where it meets the Mississippi River.


At 1,469 miles (2,364 km), it is the sixth-longest river in the United States, [7] the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi–Missouri system, and the 45th longest river in the world. Its origin is in the Rocky Mountains in Lake County, Colorado, near Leadville. In 1859, placer gold discovered in the Leadville area brought thousands seeking to strike it rich, but the easily recovered placer gold was quickly exhausted. [8] The Arkansas River's mouth is at Napoleon, Arkansas, and its drainage basin covers nearly 170,000 square miles (440,000 km2). [5] Its volume is much smaller than the Missouri and Ohio rivers, with a mean discharge of about 40,000 cubic feet per second (1,100 m3/s).

The Arkansas from its headwaters to the 100th meridian west formed part of the U.S.–Mexico border from the Adams–Onís Treaty (in force 1821) until the Texas Annexation or Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


Name pronunciation varies by state. Generally, the river is pronounced /ɑːrˈkænzəs/ ar-KAN-zuhs in Kansas, but /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/ AR-kən-saw in Colorado, Oklahoma and Arkansas. [9] [10]

Physical geography

Course changes

The path of the Arkansas River has changed over time. Sediments from the river found in a palaeochannel next to Nolan, a site in the Tensas Basin, show that part of the river's meander belt flowed through up to 3200 BCE. While it was previously thought that this relict channel was active at the same time as another relict of Mississippi River's meander belt, it has been shown that this channel of the Arkansas was inactive approximately 400 years before the Mississippi channel was active. [11]


The headwaters of the Arkansas near Leadville, Colorado Arkansas head waters.jpg
The headwaters of the Arkansas near Leadville, Colorado

The Arkansas has three distinct sections in its long path through central North America. At its headwaters beginning near Leadville, Colorado, the Arkansas runs as a steep fast-flowing mountain river through the Rockies in its narrow valley, dropping 4,600 feet (1,400 m) in 120 miles (190 km). [12] This section supports extensive whitewater rafting, including The Numbers (near Granite, Colorado), Brown's Canyon, and the Royal Gorge.

At Cañon City, Colorado, the Arkansas River valley widens and flattens markedly. Just west of Pueblo, Colorado, the river enters the Great Plains. Through the rest of Colorado, Kansas, and much of Oklahoma, it is a typical Great Plains riverway, with wide, shallow banks subject to seasonal flooding and periods of dwindling flow. Tributaries include the Cimarron and the Salt Fork Arkansas rivers.

In eastern Oklahoma the river begins to widen further into a more contained consistent channel. To maintain more reliable flow rates, a series of dams and large reservoir lakes have been built on the Arkansas and its intersecting tributaries, including the Canadian, Verdigris, Neosho (Grand), Illinois, and Poteau rivers. [13] These locks and dams enable the river to be navigable by barges and large river craft downriver of Muskogee, Oklahoma, where the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System joins the Verdigris River.

Into western Arkansas, the river path works between the encroaching Boston and Ouachita mountains, including many isolated, flat-topped mesas, buttes, or monadnocks such as Mount Nebo, Petit Jean Mountain, and Mount Magazine, the highest point in the state. The river valley expands as it encounters much flatter land beginning just west of Little Rock, Arkansas. It continues eastward across the plains and forests of eastern Arkansas until it flows into the Mississippi River near Napoleon, Arkansas.

Water flow in the Arkansas River (as measured in central Kansas) has dropped from approximately 248 cubic feet per second (7.0 m3/s) average from 1944–1963 to 53 cubic feet per second (1.5 m3/s) average from 1984–2003, largely because of the pumping of groundwater for irrigation in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.

Important cities along the Arkansas River include Canon City, Pueblo, La Junta, and Lamar, Colorado; Garden City, Dodge City, and Wichita, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Fort Smith and Little Rock, Arkansas.

The May 2002 I-40 bridge disaster took place on I-40's crossing of Kerr Reservoir on the Arkansas River near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma.

Table of primary tributaries

WaterwayOrientationLength (km)Mouth coordinatesMouth locationSource coordinatesSource location
Apishapa River Right224 38°07′40″N103°56′56″W / 38.1278°N 103.949°W / 38.1278; -103.949 Olney Springs, Colorado 37°21′12″N105°01′04″W / 37.353333333°N 105.017777777°W / 37.353333333; -105.017777777 Huerfano County, Colorado
Bayou Meto Left240 34°04′52″N91°26′36″W / 34.0811°N 91.4432°W / 34.0811; -91.4432 Arkansas County, Arkansas 34°59′37″N92°18′41″W / 34.9937°N 92.311263888°W / 34.9937; -92.311263888 Faulkner County, Arkansas
Bear Creek Right260 37°50′42″N101°19′23″W / 37.845°N 101.323°W / 37.845; -101.323 Kendall County, Texas 37°22′05″N102°59′59″W / 37.368055555°N 102.999722222°W / 37.368055555; -102.999722222 Baca County, Colorado
Big Piney Creek Left114 35°20′34″N93°19′44″W / 35.34286°N 93.32879°W / 35.34286; -93.32879 Pope County, Arkansas 35°45′24″N93°26′34″W / 35.756747222°N 93.442683333°W / 35.756747222; -93.442683333 Newton County, Arkansas
Canadian River Right1,458 35°27′12″N95°01′58″W / 35.453416666°N 95.032722222°W / 35.453416666; -95.032722222 Haskell County, Oklahoma 37°01′00″N105°03′00″W / 37.016666666°N 105.05°W / 37.016666666; -105.05 Las Animas County, Colorado
Chalk Creek Right44 38°44′27″N106°04′01″W / 38.7408°N 106.067°W / 38.7408; -106.067 Chaffee County, Colorado 38°36′20″N106°21′32″W / 38.605552777°N 106.358913888°W / 38.605552777; -106.358913888 Gunnison County, Colorado
Chico Creek Left87 38°14′33″N104°21′58″W / 38.2425°N 104.366°W / 38.2425; -104.366 Pueblo County, Colorado 38°45′50″N104°33′14″W / 38.763888888°N 104.553888888°W / 38.763888888; -104.553888888 El Paso County, Colorado
Cimarron River Right1,123 36°10′14″N96°16′19″W / 36.170611111°N 96.271888888°W / 36.170611111; -96.271888888 Westport, Oklahoma 36°54′24″N102°59′12″W / 36.906686111°N 102.986597222°W / 36.906686111; -102.986597222 Cimarron County, Oklahoma
Cow Creek Left180 37°58′47″N97°50′24″W / 37.979722222°N 97.84°W / 37.979722222; -97.84 Hutchinson, Kansas 38°38′37″N98°39′10″W / 38.643622222°N 98.652855555°W / 38.643622222; -98.652855555 Barton County, Kansas
East Fork Arkansas River Left33 39°15′25″N106°20′38″W / 39.2569°N 106.344°W / 39.2569; -106.344 Leadville, Colorado 39°19′38″N106°09′56″W / 39.327211111°N 106.165577777°W / 39.327211111; -106.165577777 Lake County, Colorado
Fountain Creek Left120 38°15′15″N104°35′20″W / 38.254166666°N 104.588888888°W / 38.254166666; -104.588888888 Pueblo, Colorado 38°59′48″N105°01′44″W / 38.996666666°N 105.028888888°W / 38.996666666; -105.028888888 El Paso County, Colorado
Fourche La Fave River Right225 34°57′57″N92°34′54″W / 34.9658°N 92.5816°W / 34.9658; -92.5816 Bigelow, Arkansas 34°46′08″N94°09′33″W / 34.76883°N 94.15918°W / 34.76883; -94.15918 Scott County, Arkansas
Grouse Creek Left120 37°00′12″N96°55′19″W / 37.0033644°N 96.9219789°W / 37.0033644; -96.9219789 Cowley County, Kansas 37°35′02″N96°32′05″W / 37.5839127°N 96.5347364°W / 37.5839127; -96.5347364 Butler County, Kansas
Hardscrabble Creek Right30 38°23′53″N105°01′42″W / 38.39806°N 105.02832°W / 38.39806; -105.02832 Fremont County, Colorado 38°11′13″N105°06′13″W / 38.186947222°N 105.103602777°W / 38.186947222; -105.103602777 Custer County, Colorado
Horse Creek Left208 38°04′22″N103°19′34″W / 38.0728°N 103.326°W / 38.0728; -103.326 Otero County, Colorado 38°59′32″N104°18′59″W / 38.992213888°N 104.316352777°W / 38.992213888; -104.316352777 El Paso County, Colorado
Huerfano River Right182 38°13′43″N104°14′46″W / 38.2286°N 104.246°W / 38.2286; -104.246 Pueblo County, Colorado 37°35′50″N105°29′40″W / 37.597227777°N 105.494455555°W / 37.597227777; -105.494455555 Huerfano County, Colorado
Illinois River Left159 35°29′21″N95°05′52″W / 35.489263888°N 95.097736111°W / 35.489263888; -95.097736111 Sequoyah County, Oklahoma 35°51′08″N94°17′23″W / 35.852302777°N 94.289652777°W / 35.852302777; -94.289652777 Pope County, Arkansas
Lake Creek Right23 39°04′41″N106°16′52″W / 39.078055555°N 106.281111111°W / 39.078055555; -106.281111111 Lake County, Colorado 39°03′57″N106°30′00″W / 39.065825°N 106.500027777°W / 39.065825; -106.500027777 Chaffee County, Colorado
Little Arkansas River Left206 37°41′29″N97°20′57″W / 37.6914°N 97.3492°W / 37.6914; -97.3492 Sedgwick County, Kansas 38°31′46″N98°09′18″W / 38.529452777°N 98.155055555°W / 38.529452777; -98.155055555 Rice County, Kansas
Mulberry River Left112 35°28′00″N94°02′31″W / 35.466752777°N 94.041869444°W / 35.466752777; -94.041869444 Franklin County, Arkansas 35°44′45″N93°27′01″W / 35.745913888°N 93.450183333°W / 35.745913888; -93.450183333 Newton County, Arkansas
Neosho River Left745 35°47′32″N95°17′40″W / 35.7922°N 95.2944°W / 35.7922; -95.2944 Muskogee County, Oklahoma 38°47′22″N96°44′39″W / 38.7894°N 96.7442°W / 38.7894; -96.7442 Morris County, Kansas
Ninnescah River Right91 37°19′22″N97°10′01″W / 37.3228°N 97.1669°W / 37.3228; -97.1669 Sumner County, Kansas 37°34′05″N97°42′19″W / 37.568055555°N 97.705277777°W / 37.568055555; -97.705277777 Sedgwick County, Kansas
Pawnee River Left319 38°10′07″N99°05′44″W / 38.1686°N 99.0956°W / 38.1686; -99.0956 Larned, Kansas 37°57′57″N100°35′55″W / 37.965833333°N 100.598611111°W / 37.965833333; -100.598611111 Gray County, Kansas
Poteau River Right227 35°23′15″N94°26′03″W / 35.3875°N 94.4342°W / 35.3875; -94.4342 Le Flore County, Oklahoma 34°54′44″N93°55′29″W / 34.912319444°N 93.924647222°W / 34.912319444; -93.924647222 Izard County, Arkansas
Purgatoire River Right315 38°03′54″N103°10′37″W / 38.065°N 103.177°W / 38.065; -103.177 Bent County, Colorado 37°09′26″N104°56′27″W / 37.157222222°N 104.940833333°W / 37.157222222; -104.940833333 Las Animas County, Colorado
Rattlesnake Creek Right153 38°12′53″N98°21′01″W / 38.214666666°N 98.35025°W / 38.214666666; -98.35025 Stafford County, Kansas 37°28′30″N99°46′35″W / 37.475022222°N 99.776516666°W / 37.475022222; -99.776516666 Ford County, Kansas
Saint Charles River Right104 38°15′56″N104°27′36″W / 38.2656°N 104.46°W / 38.2656; -104.46 Custer County, Colorado 37°59′54″N105°09′00″W / 37.998333333°N 105.15°W / 37.998333333; -105.15 Pueblo County, Colorado
Salt Fork Arkansas River Right385 36°35′35″N97°03′21″W / 36.5931°N 97.0558°W / 36.5931; -97.0558 Kay County, Oklahoma 37°10′40″N99°21′48″W / 37.177827777°N 99.363469444°W / 37.177827777; -99.363469444 Comanche County, Kansas
South Arkansas River Right39 38°31′16″N105°58′41″W / 38.5211°N 105.978°W / 38.5211; -105.978 Chaffee County, Colorado 38°29′53″N106°19′53″W / 38.498055555°N 106.331388888°W / 38.498055555; -106.331388888 Chaffee County, Colorado
Two Butte Creek Right245 38°02′33″N102°07′34″W / 38.0425°N 102.126°W / 38.0425; -102.126 Prowers County, Colorado 37°16′11″N103°20′31″W / 37.269666666°N 103.341916666°W / 37.269666666; -103.341916666 Las Animas County, Colorado
Verdigris River Left500 35°48′01″N95°18′28″W / 35.800277777°N 95.307777777°W / 35.800277777; -95.307777777 Muskogee County, Oklahoma 38°09′08″N96°10′01″W / 38.152241666°N 96.166941666°W / 38.152241666; -96.166941666 Madison, Kansas
Walnut River Left248 37°02′57″N97°00′02″W / 37.0492°N 97.0006°W / 37.0492; -97.0006 Cowley County, Kansas 38°01′17″N96°33′12″W / 38.021408333°N 96.553347222°W / 38.021408333; -96.553347222 Butler County, Kansas

Allocation problems

Arkansas River near Sterling Kansas Arkansas River near Sterling KS.jpg
Arkansas River near Sterling Kansas

Since 1902, Kansas has claimed that Colorado takes too much of the river's water; it has filed numerous lawsuits over this issue in the U.S. Supreme Court that continue to this day, [14] generally under the name of Kansas v. Colorado . The problems over the possession and use of Arkansas River water by Colorado and Kansas led to the creation of an interstate compact or agreement between the two states. [14] While Congress approved the Arkansas River Compact in 1949, [14] the compact did not stop further disputes by the two states over water rights to the river.

The Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Basin Compact was created in 1965 to promote mutual consideration and equity over water use in the basin shared by those states. The Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission was established, charged with administering the compact and reducing pollution. The compact was approved and implemented by both states in 1970, and has been in force since then. [13]

Riverway commerce

Navigable inland waterway system with McClellan-Kerr Navigational Channel shown in red Kerr-McClellan map.png
Navigable inland waterway system with McClellan-Kerr Navigational Channel shown in red

The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System begins at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa on the Verdigris River, enters the Arkansas River near Muskogee, and runs via an extensive lock and dam system to the Mississippi River. Through Oklahoma and Arkansas, dams which artificially deepen and widen the river to sustain commercial barge traffic and recreational use give the river the appearance of a series of reservoirs. [15]

The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System diverts from the Arkansas River 2.5 mi (4.0 km) upstream of the Wilbur D. Mills Dam to avoid the long winding route which the lower Arkansas River follows. This circuitous portion of the Arkansas River between the Wilbur D. Mills Dam and the Mississippi River was historically bypassed by river vessels. Early steamboats instead followed a network of rivers—known as the Arkansas Post Canalwhich flowed north of the lower Arkansas River and followed a shorter and more direct route to the Mississippi River. When the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System was constructed between 1963 and 1970, the Arkansas Post Canal was significantly improved, while the lower Arkansas River continued to be bypassed by commercial vessels. [16]

In history

Arkansas River in Colorado, with Mount Harvard in distance, circa 1867. Photo by William Henry Jackson. Mount Harvard and the Valley of the Arkansas - NARA - 517702.jpg
Arkansas River in Colorado, with Mount Harvard in distance, circa 1867. Photo by William Henry Jackson.

Many nations of Native Americans lived near, or along, the 1,450-mile (2,334-km) stretch of the Arkansas River for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see the river were members of the Spanish Coronado expedition on June 29, 1541. Also in the 1540s, Hernando de Soto discovered the junction of the Arkansas with the Mississippi. The Spanish originally called the river Napeste. [13] "The name "Arkansas" was first applied by French Father Jacques Marquette, who called the river Akansa in his journal of 1673. The Joliet-Marquette expedition travelled the Mississippi River from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin toward the Gulf of Mexico, but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By that time, they had encountered Native Americans carrying European trinkets, and feared confrontation with Spanish conquistadors.

Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, a French trader, explorer and nobleman had led an expedition into what is now Oklahoma in 1718–19. His original objective was to establish a trading post near the present city of Texarkana, Arkansas, but he extended his trip overland as far north as the Arkansas River (which he designated as the Alcansas). The explorer wrote that he and nine other men, including three Caddo guides and 22 horses loaded with trade goods, had come to a native settlement overlooking the river, where there were about 6,000 natives, who gave the strangers a warm welcome. La Harpe's party were honored with the calumet ceremony and spent ten days at this location. [17]

In 1988, evidence of a native village was discovered along the Arkansas River 13 miles (21 km) south of present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma. By then, the site was known as the Lasley Vore Site. [17] [lower-alpha 1]

French traders and trappers who had opened up trade with Indian tribes in Canada and the areas around the Great Lakes began exploring the Mississippi and some of its northern tributaries. They soon learned that the birchbark canoes, which had served them so well on the northern waterways, were too light for use on southern rivers such as the Arkansas. They turned to making and using dugout canoes, which they called pirogues, made by hollowing out the trunks of cottonwood trees. [lower-alpha 2] Cottonwoods are plentiful along the streams of the southwest and grow to large sizes. The wood is soft and easily worked with the crude tools carried by both the French and Indians. The pirogues were sturdier and could be more useful to navigate the sandbars and snags of the Southern waterways. [18]

In 1819, the Adams–Onís Treaty set the Arkansas as part of the frontier between the United States and Spanish Mexico. This continued until the United States annexed Texas after the Mexican–American War, in 1846. The treaty was made shortly after "Old Settler" Cherokee were pushed out of Texas and moved to near what became known as Webbers Falls on the Arkansas River. They planned to reunite with the Cherokee who had moved there on the Trail of Tears in 1839. That area, then part of Arkansas Territory, would become Indian Territory and later Oklahoma.

The confluence of the Arkansas and its tributary, the Apishapa River, in Colorado, 1936. AG 274-59 - DPLA - 86b74bf3b50952718d08e5804b9d6b8c.jpg
The confluence of the Arkansas and its tributary, the Apishapa River, in Colorado, 1936.

This area had long been traditional territory of the Osage. They resisted the new Native Americans moving in with armed conflict. The US encouraged a peace treaty made in 1828 but the territory issue was still unresolved by the time thousands of additional Cherokee refugees moved to the area during the Trail of Tears. [19] [20]

By the time Fort Smith was established in 1817, larger capacity watercraft became available to transport goods up and down the Arkansas. These included flatboats (bateaus) and keelboats. Along with the pirogues, they transported piles of deer, bear, otter, beaver and buffalo skins up and down the river. Agricultural products such as corn, rice, dried peaches, beans, peanuts, snake root, sarsaparilla, and ginseng had grown in economic importance. [18]

On March 31, 1820, the Comet became the first steamboat to successfully navigate part of the Arkansas River, reaching a place called Arkansas Post, [lower-alpha 3] about 60 miles (97 km) above the confluence of the Arkansas and the Mississippi rivers. [21] In mid-April 1822, the Robert Thompson, towing a keelboat, was the first steamboat to navigate the Arkansas as far as Fort Smith. For five years, Fort Smith was known as the head of navigation for steamboats on the river. It lost the title to Fort Gibson in April 1832, when three steamboats, Velocipede, Scioto and Catawba, all arrived at Fort Gibson later that month. [18] [lower-alpha 4]

Later, the Santa Fe Trail followed the Arkansas through much of Kansas, picking it up near Great Bend and continuing through to La Junta, Colorado. Some users elected to take the challenging Cimarron Cutoff starting at Cimarron, Kansas. [22]

American Civil War

During the American Civil War, each side tried to prevent the other from using the Arkansas River and its tributaries as a route for moving reinforcements. Initially, the Union Army abandoned its forts in the Indian Territory, including Fort Gibson and Fort Smith, in order to maximize its strength for campaigns elsewhere. The Confederate Army sent troops from Texas to support its Native American allies. Union troops returned to the area later in the war, after defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Battle of Fort Smith. They began recovering the position it had previously abandoned, most notably Fort Gibson, and reopened the Arkansas River as a supply route. In September 1864, a body of Confederate irregulars led by General Stand Watie (Cherokee) successfully ambushed a Union supply ship bound for Fort Gibson. The vessel was destroyed, and a part of its cargo was looted by the Confederates.

Post Civil War

By 1890, water from the Arkansas was being used to irrigate more than 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of farmland in Kansas. By 1910, irrigation projects in Colorado had caused the river to stop flowing in July and August. [23]

Flooding in 1927 severely damaged or destroyed nearly every levee downstream of Fort Smith, and led to the development of the Arkansas River Flood Control Association. [23] It also resulted in the Federal government assigning responsibility of flood control and navigation on the Arkansas river to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE).

Fly fishermen on the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado Fly Fishermen on the Arkansas River Near Salida Colorado.jpg
Fly fishermen on the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado


The headwaters of the Arkansas River in central Colorado have been known for exceptional trout fishing, particularly fly fishing, since the 19th century, when greenback cutthroat trout dominated the river. [24] Today, brown trout dominate the river, which also contains rainbow trout. Trout Unlimited considers the Arkansas one of the top 100 trout streams in America, [25] a reputation the river has had since the 1950s. [26] From Leadville to Pueblo, the Arkansas River is serviced by numerous fly shops and guides operating in Buena Vista, Salida, Cañon City and Pueblo. Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides regular online fishing reports for the river. [27] [28]

A fish kill occurred on December 29, 2010, in which an estimated 100,000 freshwater drum lined the Arkansas River bank. [29] [30] An investigation, conducted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, found the dead fish "... cover 17 miles [27 km] of river from the Ozark Lock and Dam downstream to River Mile 240, directly south of Hartman, Arkansas." [30] Tests later indicated the likely cause of the kill was gas bubble trauma caused by opening the spillways on the Ozark Dam. [31]

Littlerockarkansas arkansasriverpano.jpg
The Arkansas River passing through Little Rock, Arkansas, as viewed from the north bank in North Little Rock
Yancopin Bridge.jpg
The Yancopin Bridge is the last crossing of the Arkansas River before it flows into the Mississippi River


  1. A team led by Dr. George H. Odell, an anthropology professor from the University of Tulsa, uncovered artifacts that showed the natives were members of the Wichita people, and that the European artifacts also found there were of the same time period. Dr. Odell concluded this was most likely the place where la Harpe met the natives he described. [17]
  2. Pirogues are still used in the swamps and marshes of South Louisiana by descendants of the "Cajuns," who were exiled from eastern Canada by the British. [18]
  3. Arkansas Post is said to have been the first European settlement in the Mississippi Valley, [18]
  4. Fort Gibson had been built in 1824 on the bank of the Verdigris River in what had been called the "Three Forks" area of Indian Territory.

See also

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Webbers Falls is a town in southeastern Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 616 at the 2010 census, a decline of 14.9 percent from the figure of 724 recorded in 2000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catoosa, Oklahoma</span> City in Oklahoma, United States

Catoosa is a city in Rogers and Wagoner counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The population was 7,440 at the 2020 census compared to 7,159 at the 2010 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kansas River</span> River in central & northeastern Kansas, United States

The Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, is a meandering prairie river in northeastern Kansas in the United States. It is the southwesternmost part of the Missouri River drainage, which is in turn the northwesternmost portion of the extensive Mississippi River drainage. Its two names both come from the Kanza (Kaw) people who once inhabited the area; Kansas was one of the anglicizations of the French transcription Cansez of the original kką:ze. The city of Kansas City, Missouri, was named for the river, as was later the state of Kansas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red River of the South</span> Major river in the southern United States

The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South to differentiate it from the Red River in the north of the continent, is a major river in the Southern United States. It was named for its reddish water color from passing through red-bed country in its watershed. It is known as the Red River of the South to distinguish it from the Red River of the North, which flows between Minnesota and North Dakota into the Canadian province of Manitoba. Although once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. This confluence is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ouachita River</span> River in Arkansas and Louisiana, United States

The Ouachita River is a 605-mile-long (974 km) river that runs south and east through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana, joining the Tensas River to form the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana. It is the 25th-longest river in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neosho River</span> River in Kansas and Oklahoma, United States

The Neosho River is a tributary of the Arkansas River in eastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States. Its tributaries also drain portions of Missouri and Arkansas. The river is about 463 miles (745 km) long. Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. Its name is an Osage word meaning "clear water." The lower section is also known as the Grand River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Verdigris River</span> Tributary of the Arkansas River in Kansas and Oklahoma, USA

The Verdigris River is a tributary of the Arkansas River in southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States. It is about 310 miles (500 km) long. Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

The Battle of Claremore Mound, also known as the Battle of the Strawberry Moon, or the Claremore Mound Massacre, was one of the chief battles of the war between the Osage and Cherokee Indians. It occurred in June 1817, when a band of Western Cherokee and their allies under Chief Spring Frog (Too-an-tuh) attacked Pasuga, an Osage village at the foot of Claremore Mound. The village was nearly empty; only women, children, and the very sick and elderly remained there. Most of the village was currently away on a seasonal hunt that often lasted up to three or four months. The Cherokee killed or captured every remaining member of Chief Clermont's band and destroyed everything they could not carry away. Historians consider it one of the bloodiest Native American massacres in modern history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort Gibson</span> United States historic place

Fort Gibson is a historic military site next to the modern city of Fort Gibson, in Muskogee County Oklahoma. It guarded the American frontier in Indian Territory from 1824 to 1888. When it was constructed, the fort was farther west than any other military post in the United States. It formed part of the north–south chain of forts that was intended to maintain peace on the frontier of the American West and to protect the southwestern border of the Louisiana Purchase. The fort succeeded in its peacekeeping mission for more than 50 years, as no massacres or battles occurred there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System</span> Part of the United States inland waterway system

The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) is part of the United States inland waterway system originating at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and running southeast through Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Mississippi River. The total length of the system is 445 miles (716 km). It was named for two senators, Robert S. Kerr (D-OK) and John L. McClellan (D-AR), who pushed its authorizing legislation through Congress. The system officially opened on June 5, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon attended the opening ceremony. It is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wilbur D. Mills Dam</span> Dam in Arkansas / Desha County, Arkansas

Wilbur D. Mills Dam is a steel dam and generating facility located on the Arkansas River in Arkansas County and Desha County, Arkansas, United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newt Graham Lock & Dam</span> Dam

Newt Graham Lock & Dam is the final lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) before reaching the western terminus, Tulsa Port of Catoosa on the Verdigris River. The lock and dam is 24.8 miles (39.9 km) downstream of the port.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chouteau Lock & Dam</span> Dam in Oklahoma

Chouteau Lock & Dam, also identified as Chouteau Lock & Dam 17, is 17th lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) from the Mississippi River to its terminus at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and is the first lock and dam on the Verdigris River in Oklahoma, just above the Three Forks junction with the Arkansas River. The lock is about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Okay in Wagoner County, Oklahoma. Construction of this facility started in 1966 and was completed in 1970. The estimated cost of Chouteau Lock & Dam was $ 31.8 million.

Three Forks Oklahoma is an imprecisely defined area of what is now eastern Oklahoma, around the confluence of the Arkansas, Verdigris, and Grand Rivers.


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