|Buffalo National River|
Buffalo National River, Arkansas
|Length||153 miles (246 km)|
|Designated||April 22, 1992|
The Buffalo River, located in Northern Arkansas, was the first National River to be designated in the United States. The Buffalo River is 153 miles (246 km) long. The lower 135 miles (217 km) flow within the boundaries of an area managed by the National Park Service, where the stream is designated the Buffalo National River. The river flows through Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Baxter Counties, from west to east. The river originates in the highest part of Boston Mountains of the Ozarks, flows out onto the Springfield Plateau near the historic community of Erbie, and finally crosses a portion of the Salem Plateau just before joining the White River. The Park is home to the state's only elk herd. The upper section of the river in the Ozark National Forest is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and is designated as a National Scenic River and a National Wild River; that section is not part of the area managed as a park by the Park Service, but is managed as a part of the Ozark National Forest.
Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.
The Buffalo National River was established by an Act of Congress on March 1, 1972, ending the recurring plans of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct one or more dams on the river. The National River designation protects natural rivers from industrial uses, impoundments and other obstructions that may change the natural character of the river or disrupt the natural habitat for the flora and fauna that live in or near the river.
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by the United States Congress. It can either be a Public Law, relating to the general public, or a Private Law, relating to specific institutions or individuals.
At a point about 15 miles (24 km) above the Park boundary in Newton County, Arkansas, the Buffalo River begins as the Main Prong of Big Buffalo Creek. The river flows north through Boxley to Ponca, where it then begins an eastward trek across northern Arkansas to its confluence with the White River on the Marion-Baxter County line. Advanced canoeists and kayakers often refer to the 15-mile (24 km) section upriver from Boxley as the Hailstone River. This extremely challenging section of the river is floatable only during periods of high water and should be attempted only by those with solid whitewater skills.
Newton County is a county in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,330. The county seat is Jasper. Newton County is Arkansas's 46th county, formed on December 14, 1842, and named for Thomas W. Newton, an Arkansas Congressman. It is an alcohol prohibition or dry county.
Along the upper river, the gradient is steep and the water is fast, leveling and slowing as the river runs its course. The upper section has most of the whitewater rapids to be found along the river, and features dramatic topography including sink holes and caves, springs, and waterfalls, over 500-foot (150 m) tall sandstone and limestone bluffs, and many rock formations. At one point, a 0.65-mile (1.05 km) hike from the river up a narrow, boxed canyon leads to a 209-foot (64 m) waterfall, Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls, the highest of its kind between the Southern Appalachians and the Rockies. The river's current also gives life to well over 300 species of fish , insects, freshwater mussels, and aquatic plants.
A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground, specifically a space large enough for a human to enter. Caves often form by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word cave can also refer to much smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos, though strictly speaking a cave is exogene, meaning it is deeper than its opening is wide, and a rock shelter is endogene.
Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.
Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolostone, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolostone was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones.
The Buffalo National River is a popular camping, canoeing, and fishing destination. Visitors may bring their own canoes or rent from several independent concessioners. Camping is generally allowed throughout the park with the following exceptions: the Hemmed-in-Hollow area, on Big Bluff, in historical structures, on private property within the park, or within 100 feet (30 m) of any trail or watercourse. Camping is, however, permitted on gravel bars and sand bars along the river. In addition, the National Park Service has a number of "developed" campgrounds along the river.
Canoeing is an activity which involves paddling a canoe with a single-bladed paddle. Common meanings of the term are limited to when the canoeing is the central purpose of the activity. Broader meanings include when it is combined with other activities such as canoe camping, or where canoeing is merely a transportation method used to accomplish other activities. Most present-day canoeing is done as or as a part of a sport or recreational activity. In some parts of Europe canoeing refers to both canoeing and kayaking, with a canoe being called an Open canoe.
The National Park Service headquarters for the Buffalo National River is located in Harrison, Arkansas.
Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. It is the county seat of Boone County. It is named after General Marcus LaRue Harrison, a surveyor that laid out the city along Crooked Creek at Stifler Springs. According to 2017 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 13,079, up from 12,943 at the 2010 census and it is the 30th largest city in Arkansas based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census Bureau. Harrison is the principal city of the Harrison Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boone and Newton counties.
Marion County is located in the Ozark Mountains in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The county is named for Francis Marion, the famous "Swamp Fox" of the Revolutionary War. Created as Arkansas's 35th county in 1836, Marion County is home to one incorporated town and four incorporated cities, including Yellville, the county seat. The county is also the site of numerous unincorporated communities and ghost towns. The county included part of what is now Searcy County, Arkansas, with many opposing to dividing them, which helped fueled the bloody Tutt-Everett War between 1844 and 1850.
Yellville is a city and county seat in Marion County, Arkansas, United States. Yellville is located in the Ozark Mountains along the banks of Crooked Creek, and neighbors the small town of Summit to the north. The population was 1,204 at the 2010 Census. The town's original name is preserved in the Shawnee Town Branch, a local creek. The town also holds an annual Turkey Trot Festival.
The Ozarks, also called the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau, is a physiographic region in the U.S. states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Ozarks cover a significant portion of northern Arkansas and most of the southern half of Missouri, extending from Interstate 40 in Arkansas to the Interstate 70 in central Missouri.
The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.
The Boston Mountains is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Part of the Ozark Mountains, the Boston Mountains are a deeply dissected plateau. The ecoregion is steeper than the adjacent Springfield Plateau to the north, and bordered on the south by the Arkansas Valley. The Oklahoma portion of the range is locally referred to as the Cookson Hills.
The Ozark Highlands Trail roams 218 miles (351 km) through parts of seven counties in northwest Arkansas. It stretches from Lake Fort Smith State Park, across the Ozark National Forest, to the Buffalo National River. The trail passes through some of the most remote and scenic portions of the Ozark Mountains, like the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area. It also crosses White Rock Mountain, Hare Mountain, the Marinoni Scenic Area, and many other breathtaking spots.
The Ozark – St. Francis National Forest is a United States National Forest that is located in the state of Arkansas. It is composed of two separate forests, Ozark National Forest in the Ozark Mountains; and St. Francis National Forest on Crowley's Ridge. Each forest has distinct biological, topographical, and geological differences.
Mammoth Spring is a large, first magnitude karst spring that arises in the Ozark Plateau within the state of Arkansas. It is the largest spring in Arkansas and the third-largest spring within the Ozark Plateau region behind Big Spring and Greer Spring. Mammoth Spring is the seventh-largest natural spring in the world.
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is the largest of the National Forests in Montana, United States. Covering 3.36 million acres (13,600 km2), the forest is broken into nine separate sections and stretches across eight counties in the southwestern area of the state. President Theodore Roosevelt named the two forests in 1908 and they were merged in 1996. Forest headquarters are located in Dillon, Montana. In Roosevelt's original legislation, the Deerlodge National Forest was called the Big Hole Forest Reserve. He created this reserve because the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, based in Butte, Montana, had begun to clearcut the upper Big Hole River watershed. The subsequent erosion, exacerbated by smoke pollution from the Anaconda smelter, was devastating the region. Ranchers and conservationists alike complained to Roosevelt, who made several trips to the area. (Munday 2001)
Mark Twain National Forest (MTNF) is a U.S. National Forest located in the southern half of Missouri. MTNF was established on September 11, 1939. It is named for author Mark Twain, a Missouri native. The MTNF covers 3,068,800 acres (12,419 km2) of which 1,506,100 acres (6,095 km2) is public owned, 78,000 acres (320 km2) of which are Wilderness, and National Scenic River area. MTNF spans 29 counties and represents 11% of all forested land in Missouri. MTNF is divided into six distinct ranger districts: Ava-Cassville-Willow Springs, Eleven Point, Houston-Rolla, Cedar Creek, Poplar Bluff, Potosi-Fredericktown, and the Salem. The six ranger districts actually comprise nine overall unique tracts of forests. Its headquarters are in Rolla, Missouri.
Highway 21 is a north–south state highway in north central Arkansas. The route of 99.14 miles (159.55 km) runs from US Route 64 (US 64) in Clarksville north across US 62 to Missouri Route 13 at the Missouri state line The route is entirely a two-lane route with the exception of a brief concurrency with US 62 in Berryville.
The Buffalo River Trail is a hiking and backpacking trail that follows the path of the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. It consists of two separate sections that are referred to as the Western and Eastern sections. The Western Section is from Boxley Valley to Pruitt. The Eastern Section is under development with completed segments from Woolum Ford to Highway 65 bridge at Tyler Bend and South Maumee to Highway 14. The Ozark Highlands Trail joins the Eastern Section of the Buffalo River Trail at Woolum Ford so it is officially designated the Buffalo River/Ozark Highlands Trail.
Highway 103 is a designation for two north–south state highways in north central Arkansas. One segment of 23.86 miles (38.40 km) runs north from Marina Road and Lakeview Drive in Clarksville to Highway 215 in the Ozark National Forest. A second route of 39.81 miles (64.07 km) begins at Highway 43 in the Buffalo National River area administered by the National Park Service and runs north across US Highway 412 (US 412) to Highway 21 in Oak Grove.
Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls is a single-drop waterfall located within the Ponca Wilderness Area of the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas. The height of the falls is 209 feet. According to the National Park Service, it is the "Tallest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians."
The geography of Arkansas varies widely. The state is covered by mountains, river valleys, forests, lakes, and bayous in addition to the cities of Arkansas. Hot Springs National Park features bubbling springs of hot water, formerly sought across the country for their healing properties. Crowley's Ridge is a geological anomaly rising above the surrounding lowlands of the Mississippi embayment.
The Big Buffalo Valley Historic District, also known as the Boxley Valley Historic District, is notable as a cultural landscape in Buffalo National River. It comprises the Boxley Valley in northern Arkansas, near the town of Ponca. The valley includes a number of family-operated farms, primarily dating between 1870 and 1930. The farms are situated on either side of the road that parallels the river, Highway 43. Many of these farms are still operated by the descendants of the original homesteaders. However, of fifty residences in the valley, thirty were vacant in 1987, at the time of historic designation.
Ponca is an unincorporated community in Newton County, Arkansas, United States. Ponca is located on Arkansas Highway 43, 10 miles (16 km) west of Jasper. Ponca has a post office with ZIP code 72670. Ponca is well known for its access to the Buffalo National River, which is a hub for naturalist as well as photography and hiking tourism. Ponca is also known for the regular sightings of elk, which reside in the Boxley Valley.
Upper Buffalo Wilderness is located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. Created by an act of Congress in 1974, the wilderness covers an area of 12,108 acres (49 km²). Contained within Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, the wilderness is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Contained in the wilderness is Hawksbill Crag, a very popular hiking destination.
Kenneth L. Smith is a former civil engineer for the National Park Service, freelance writer, photographer, author, historian, naturalist, and environmentalist. Working with the Ozark Society, he was a key activist for the formation of the Buffalo National River and working with the Buffalo River Foundation he continues to explore ways to benefit the park. He has served over 30 years as trail development coordinator for the Buffalo River Trail; leading crews of mostly volunteers.
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