|Ozark Highlands; Ozark Mountains; Ozark Plateaus|
|Elevation||2,561 ft (781 m)|
|State/Province|| Arkansas |
|Age of rock||Paleozoic to Proterozoic|
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.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.
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.
There are two mountain ranges within the Ozarks: the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri. Buffalo Lookout, the highest point in the Ozarks, is located in the Boston Mountains. Geologically, the area is a broad dome with the exposed core in the ancient St. Francois Mountains, some of the oldest rocks in North America. The Ozarks cover nearly 47,000 square miles (120,000 km2), making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, the area is known as the U.S. Interior Highlands.
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 St. Francois Mountains in southeast Missouri are a mountain range of Precambrian igneous mountains rising over the Ozark Plateau. This range is one of the oldest exposures of igneous rock in North America. The name of the range is spelled out as Saint Francois Mountains in official GNIS sources, but it is sometimes misspelled in use as St. Francis Mountains to match the anglicized pronunciation of both the range and St. Francois County.
A dome is a feature in structural geology consisting of symmetrical anticlines that intersect each other at their respective apices. Intact, domes are distinct, rounded, spherical-to-ellipsoidal-shaped protrusions on the Earth's surface. However, a transect parallel to Earth's surface of a dome features concentric rings of strata. Consequently, if the top of a dome has been eroded flat, the resulting structure in plan view appears as a bullseye, with the youngest rock layers at the outside, and each ring growing progressively older moving inwards. These strata would have been horizontal at the time of deposition, then later deformed by the uplift associated with dome formation.
The Salem Plateau, named after Salem, Missouri, makes up the largest geologic area of the Ozarks. The second largest is the Springfield Plateau, named after Springfield, Missouri, nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks”. On the northern Ozark border are the cities of St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri. Significant cities in Arkansas include Fayetteville. Near the Missouri-Arkansas border is Branson, Missouri, a tourist destination and popularizer of Ozark culture.
Salem is the county seat of Dent County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,950 at the 2010 census, which allows Salem to become a Class 3 city in Missouri; however, the city has chosen to remain a Class 4 city under Missouri Revised Statutes. Salem is located a few miles north of the Ozark Scenic Riverways and close to Montauk State Park, which contains the headwaters of the Current River.
Springfield is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 159,498. As of 2017, the Census Bureau estimated its population at 167,376. It is the principal city of the Springfield metropolitan area, which has a population of 462,369 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, Webster.
St. Louis is a major independent city and inland port in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which marks Missouri's border with Illinois. The Missouri River merges with the Mississippi River just north of the city. These two rivers combined form the fourth longest river system in the world. The city had an estimated 2017 population of 308,626 and is the cultural and economic center of the St. Louis metropolitan area, which is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, and the 20th-largest in the United States.
Ozarks is a toponym believed to be derived as an English-language adaptation of the French abbreviation aux Arcs (short for aux Arkansas, meaning "of/at Arkansas").In the decades prior to the French and Indian War, aux Arkansas originally referred to the trading post at Arkansas Post, located in wooded Arkansas Delta lowland area above the confluence of the Arkansas River with the Mississippi River. "Arkansas" seems to be the French version of what the Illinois tribe (further up the Mississippi) called the Quapaw, who lived in eastern Arkansas in the area of the trading post. Eventually, the term came to refer to all Ozark Plateau drainage into the Arkansas and Missouri Rivers.
French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.
The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.
A trading post, trading station, or trading house was a place or establishment where the trading of goods took place; the term is generally used, in modern parlance, in reference to such establishments in historic Northern America, although the practice long predates that continent's colonization by Europeans. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route.
An alternative origin for the name "Ozark" relates the French term aux arcs. In the later 17th and early 18th centuries, French cartographers mapped the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. The large, top most arc or bend in this part of the Arkansas River was referred to as being aux arcs—the top or northernmost arc in the whole of the lower Arkansas. Travelers arriving by boat would disembark at this top bend of the river to explore the Ozarks; the town of Ozark, Arkansas is located on the north bank at this location.
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 the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Ozark is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States and one of the county's two seats of government. The community is located along the Arkansas River in the Arkansas River Valley on the southern edge of the Ozark Mountains. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 3,684.
Other possible derivations include aux arcs meaning "[land] of the arches",in reference to the dozens of natural bridges formed by erosion and collapsed caves in the Ozark region. These include Clifty Hollow Natural Bridge (actually a series of arches) in Missouri, and Alum Cove in the Ozark – St. Francis National Forest. It is even suggested aux arcs is an abbreviation of aux arcs-en-ciel, French for "toward the rainbows", which are a common sight in the mountainous regions. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, American travelers in the region referred to various features of the upland areas using the term Ozark, such as Ozark Mountains and Ozark forests. By the early 20th century, the Ozarks had become a generic and widely used term.
A natural arch, natural bridge, or rock arch is a natural rock formation where an arch has formed with an opening underneath. Natural arches commonly form where inland cliffs, coastal cliffs, fins or stacks are subject to erosion from the sea, rivers or weathering.
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States from France in 1803. In return for fifteen million dollars, the U.S. acquired a total of 828,000 sq mi. The treaty was negotiated by French Treasury Minister François Barbé-Marbois and American delegates James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston.
The Ozarks consist of five physiographic subregions: the Boston Mountains of north Arkansas and Cookson Hills of east Oklahoma; the Springfield Plateau of southwest Missouri, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas and including Springfield, Joplin and Monett in Missouri, Tahlequah in Oklahoma and Fayetteville and Harrison in Arkansas; the White River Hills along the White River including Branson, Mountain Home to Batesville; the Salem Plateau or Central Plateau which includes a broad band across south central Missouri and north central Arkansas including the Lebanon, Salem and West Plains areas; the Courtois Hills of southeastern Missouri; the Osage-Gasconade Hills around the Lake of the Ozarks; the Saint Francois Mountains; and the Missouri River and Mississippi River border areas along the eastern and northeastern flanks.
Karst features such as springs,losing streams, sinkholes and caves are common in the limestones of the Springfield Plateau and abundant in the dolomite bedrock of the Salem Plateau and Boston Mountains. Missouri is known as "The Cave State" with over 6000 recorded caves; the majority of these caves are found in the Ozark counties. The Ozark Plateaus aquifer system affects groundwater movement in all areas except the igneous core of the St. Francois Mountains. Geographic features include limestone and dolomite glades, which are rocky, desert-like area on hilltops. Kept open by periodic fires that limit growth of grasses and forbs in shallow soil, glades are home to collared lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, cacti and other species more typical of the desert southwest.
The Boston Mountains contain the highest elevations of the Ozarks with peaks over 2,500 feet (760 m) and form some of the greatest relief of any formation between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.The Ouachita Mountains to the south rise a few hundred feet higher, but are not geographically associated with the Ozarks. The Boston Mountains portion of the Ozarks extends north of the Arkansas River Valley 20 to 35 miles (32 to 56 km) and is approximately 200 miles (320 km) and are bordered by the Springfield and Salem Plateau to the north of the White River. Summits can reach elevations of just over 2,560 feet (780 m) with valleys 500 to 1,550 feet (472 m) deep (150 m to 450 m). Turner Ward Knob is the highest named peak. Located in western Newton County, Arkansas, its elevation is 2,463 feet (751 m). Nearby, five unnamed peaks have elevations at or slightly above 2,560 feet (780 m). Drainage is primarily to the White River, with the exception of the Illinois River, although there also is considerable drainage from the south slopes of the Boston Mountains to the Arkansas River. Major streams of this type include Lee Creek, Frog Bayou, Mulberry River, Spadra Creek, Big Piney Creek, Little Piney Creek, Illinois Bayou, Point Remove Creek, and Cadron Creek. Many Ozark waterways have their headwaters in the uplands of the Boston formation, including the Buffalo, King's, Mulberry, Little Red and White rivers.
Topography is mostly gently rolling in the Springfield and Salem Plateaus, whereas the Saint Francois Mountains are more rugged. Although the Springfield formation's surface is primarily Mississippian limestone and chert, the Salem Plateau is older Ordovician dolomites, limestones, and sandstones.Both are rife with karst topography and form long, flat plains. The formations are separated by steep escarpments that dramatically interrupt the rolling hills. Although much of the Springfield Plateau has been denuded of the surface layers of the Boston Mountains, large remnants of these younger layers are present throughout the southern end of the formation, possibly suggesting a peneplain process. The Springfield Plateau drains through wide, mature streams ultimately feeding the White River.
The Saint Francois Mountains in the northeastern Ozarks are the eroded remnants of an ancient range which form the geological core of the highland dome. The igneous and volcanic rocks of the Saint Francois Mountains are the exposed remains of a Proterozoic mountain range hundreds of millions of years old. The remaining hills are the exposed portion of an extensive terrane (the Spavinaw terrane in part) of granitic and rhyolitic rocks dating from 1485 to 1350 mya that stretches from Ohio to western Oklahoma.The core of the range existed as an island in the Paleozoic seas. Reef complexes occur in the sedimentary layers surrounding this ancient island. These flanking reefs were points of concentration for later ore-bearing fluids which formed the rich lead-zinc ores that have been and continue to be mined in the area. The igneous and volcanic rocks extend at depth under the relatively thin veneer of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and form the basal crust of the entire region.
A major unconformity in the region attests that the Ozarks were above sea level for several hundred million years from the time of the volcanism in the Precambrian until the mid-Cambrian with an erosionally produced relief of up to 1500 feet. 200 to 300 feet (61 to 91 m) thick, followed by carbonate sedimentation. Coral reefs formed around the granite and rhyolite islands in this Cambrian sea. This carbonate formation, the Bonneterre now mostly dolomite, is exposed around the St. Francis mountains, but extends in the subsurface throughout the Ozarks and reaches a thickness of 400 to 1,500 feet (120 to 460 m). The Bonneterre is overlain by 500 to 600 feet (150 to 180 m) of dolomite, often sandy, silty or cherty, forming the Elvins Group and the Potosi and Eminence Formations. Withdrawal of the seas resulted in another unconformity during the latest Cambrian and early Ordovician periods. Hydrothermal mineralizing fluids formed the rich lead ore deposits of the Lead Belt during this time.The seas encroached during the late Cambrian producing the Lamotte Sandstone,
Sedimentation resumed in the Ordovician with the deposition of the Gunter sandstone, the Gasconade dolomite and the prominent Roubidoux sandstone and dolomite. The sandstone of the Roubidoux forms prominent bluffs along the streams eroding into the southern part of the Salem Plateau. The Roubidoux and Gunter sandstones serve as significant aquifers when present in the subsurface. The source of the sands is considered to be the emerging Wisconsin Dome to the northeast.The Ozark region remained as a subsiding shallow carbonate shelf environment with a significant thickness of cherty dolomites as the Jefferson City, Cotter and Powell formations.
Portions of the Ozark Plateau, the Springfield plateau of southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas, are underlain by Mississippian cherty limestones locally referred to as Boone chert consisting of limestone and chert layers. These are eroded and form steep hills, valleys and bluffs.
The Boston Mountains are a high and deeply dissected plateau. The rocks of the region are essentially little disturbed, flat-lying sedimentary layers of Paleozoic age. The highest ridges and peaks are capped by Pennsylvanian sandstone such as the basal Atoka and the "Middle Bloyd".The deeply eroded valleys are cut into Mississippian limestone and below that layer Ordovician dolomite.
During the Pennsylvanian Period the Ozark Plateau was uplifted as a result of the Ouachita orogeny. During the late Paleozoic the deep ocean basin that existed in central and southern Arkansas was lifted when South America collided with North America creating the folded Ouachita Mountains and uplifting the Ozark plateau to the north.
Formal conservation in the region began when the Ozark National Forest was created by proclamation of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to preserve 917,944 acres (3,714.79 km2) across five Arkansas counties. Another 608,537 acres (2,462.66 km2) were added the following year. The initial forest included area as far south as Mount Magazine and as far east as Sylamore. In 1939, Congress established Mark Twain National Forest at nine sites in Missouri. Wildlife management areas were founded in the 1920s and 30s to restore populations to viable numbers. Land was also added to Ozark National Forest during this period, with over 544,000 acres (2,200 km2) in total additions. Some land was reclaimed by the government through the Resettlement Administration during the Great Depression. In 1976, Congress established Hercules-Glades Wilderness, the first of 13 designated wilderness areas in the Ozarks. In 1986, Congress established the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Oklahoma. Protected areas ensure the recovery of endangered and threatened species of animals and plants, including the Ozark big-eared bat, Indiana bat, eastern small-footed bat, southeastern bat, southeastern big-eared bat; longnose darter, Ozark cavefish, Ozark cave crayfish, Bowman's cave amphipod, Ozark cave amphipod, bat cave isopod; and Ozark chinquapin. It is a habitat of migratory birds and contains geological, archeological, historical, and paleontological resources.
Commercial farms and processing operations are known to raise levels of chemical and biological contaminants in Ozark streams, threatening water supplies, recreational use and endangered native species.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers lakes that were created by damming the White River beginning in 1911 with Lake Taneycomo have provided a large tourist, boating and fishing economy along the Missouri–Arkansas border. Six lakes were created by dams in the White River basin from 1911 through 1960. White River lakes include Lake Sequoyah,a small recreational fishing lake east of Fayetteville, Arkansas, formed in 1961; Sequoyah is the uppermost impoundment on the White River. Below Sequoyah (northeast of Fayetteville) is Beaver Lake, formed in 1960. The White River continues northeasterly into Table Rock Lake (1958) in Missouri, which feeds directly into Taneycomo, where the river zigzags southeasterly into Arkansas forming Bull Shoals Lake along the Arkansas-Missouri line. Completed in 1952, Bull Shoals is the furthest downstream lake on the White River proper. Lake Norfork was formed by damming the North Fork River, a tributary of the White River, in 1941.
The Lake of the Ozarks, Pomme de Terre Lake, and Truman Lake in the northern Ozarks were formed by impounding the Osage River and its tributary the Pomme de Terre River in 1931, 1961 and 1979 respectively. Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma was created in 1940. Stockton Lake was formed by damming the Sac River near the city of Stockton, Missouri in 1969 and supplements the water supply of Springfield in nearby Greene County. Most of the dams were built for the dual purpose of flood control and hydropower generation.
The creation of the lakes significantly altered the Ozark landscape and affected traditional Ozark culture through displacement. km) from its previous location. Prior to damming, the White and Osage River basins were similar to the current conditions of the Buffalo, Elk, Niangua, Gasconade, Big Piney, Current, Jacks Fork, Eleven Point and Meramec rivers.The streams provided water and power to communities, farms and mills concentrated in the valleys prior to impoundment. Many cemeteries, farm roads, river fords and railways were lost when the lakes came, disrupting rural culture, travel and commerce. Baxter County, Arkansas alone saw nearly four-hundred people displaced to make way for the reservoir created by Norfork Dam. The town of Forsyth, Missouri was relocated in its entirety to a spot two miles (3
The Buffalo National River was created by an Act of Congress in 1972 as the nation's first National River administered by the National Park Service. The designation came after over a decade of battling a proposed Army Corps dam in the media, legislature, and courts to keep the river free flowing. Today, the Buffalo sees approximately 800,000 visitors camping, canoeing, floating, hiking, and tubing annually.In Missouri, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, was established in 1964 along the Current and Jacks Fork rivers as the first US national park based on a river system. The Eleven Point River is included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System established in 1968. These river parks annually draw a combined 1.5 million recreational tourists to the least populated counties in Arkansas and Missouri.
Many other waterways and streams have their headwaters in the Boston Mountains such as the Mulberry River, the White River, War Eagle Creek, Little Mulberry Creek, Lee Creek, Big Piney Creek, and the Little Red River. To the south, the Arkansas River valley separates the Boston Mountains from the Ouachita Mountains.
Missouri Ozark rivers include the Gasconade, Big Piney and the Niangua River in the north central region. The Meramec River and its tributaries Huzzah Creek and Courtois Creek are found in the northeastern Ozarks. The Black and St. Francis Rivers mark the eastern crescent of the Ozarks. The James, Spring and North Fork Rivers are in south central Missouri. Forming the West central border of the Ozarks from Missouri through Kansas and into Oklahoma are Spring River and its tributary Center Creek. Grand Falls, Missouri's largest natural waterfall, a chert outcropping, includes bluffs and glades on Shoal Creek south of Joplin. All these river systems see heavy recreational use in season, including the Elk River in Southwest Missouri and its tributary Big Sugar Creek.
Ozark rivers and streams are typically clear water, with baseflows sustained by many seeps and springs and flow through forests along limestone and dolomite bluffs. Gravel bars are common along shallow banks, while deep holes are found along bluffs.Except during periods of heavy rain or snow melt – when water levels rise quite rapidly – their level of difficulty is suitable for most canoeing and tubing.
Fish hatcheries are common due to the abundance of springs and waterways.The Neosho National Fish Hatchery was built in 1888; it was the first Federal hatchery. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Missouri Department of Conservation and United States Fish and Wildlife Service operate numerous warm and cold water hatcheries and trout parks; private hatcheries such as Rockbridge are found throughout the region.
The Ozarks contain ore deposits of lead, zinc, iron and barite. Many of these deposits have been depleted by historic mining activities, but much remains and is currently being mined in the Lead Belt of southeast Missouri. Historically, the lead belt around the Saint Francois Mountains and the Tri-state district lead-zinc mining area around Joplin, Missouri, have been very important sources of metals. Mining practices common in the early 20th century left significant abandoned underground mine problems and heavy metal contamination in topsoil and groundwater in the Tri-state district.
Much of the area supports beef cattle ranching, and dairy farming is common across the area. Dairy farms are usually cooperative affairs, with small farms selling to a corporate wholesaler, who packages product under a common brand for retail sales. Petroleum exploration and extraction also takes place in the Oklahoma portion of the Ozarks, as well as in the east half of the Boston Mountains in Arkansas. Logging of both softwood and hardwood timber species on both private land and in the National Forests has long been an important economic activity.
The majority of the Ozarks is forested; oak-hickory is the predominant type; Eastern Junipers are common, with stands of pine often seen in the southern range. Less than a quarter of the region has been cleared for pasture and cropland.Forests that were heavily logged during the early-to-mid-20th century have recovered; much of the remaining timber in the Ozarks is second-growth forest. However, deforestation of frontier forest contributed through erosion to increased gravel bars along Ozark waterways in logged areas; stream channels have become wider and shallower and deepwater fish habitat has been lost.
The numerous rivers and streams of the region saw hundreds of water-powered timber and grist mills.Mills were important centers of culture and commerce; dispersed widely throughout the region, mills served local needs, often thriving within a few miles of another facility. Few Ozark mills relied on inefficient water wheels for power; most utilized a dam, millrace and water turbine.
During the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed hundreds in the construction of nearly 400 fire lookouts throughout the Ozarks at 121 known sites in Arkansasand 257 in Missouri. Of those lookouts, about half remain, and many of them are in use by the Forest Service. A 2007 report by the National Trust for Historic Preservation deemed these fire lookouts and related structures as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
In the 1960s, federal activity promoted modernization, especially through better transportation and tourism. The Ozarks Regional Commission sponsored numerous projects.
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Tourism is the growth industry of the Ozarks as evidenced by the growth of the Branson, Missouri, entertainment center celebrating the traditional Ozark culture.The rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area has also become a tourist hub, drawing nationwide attention for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Poultry farming and food processing are significant industries throughout the region. The Tyson Foods corporation and ConAgra Foods each operates several hundred poultry farms and processing plants throughout the Ozarks. Schreiber Foods has operations throughout southern Missouri.
The trucking industry is important to the regional economy with national carriers based there including J. B. Hunt, ABF and Prime, Inc.. Springfield remains an operational hub for BNSF Railway. Logging and timber industries are also significant in the Ozark economy with operations ranging from small family run sawmills to large commercial concerns. Fortune 500 companies such as Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Arkansas, Leggett & Platt and O'Reilly Auto Parts are based in the Ozarks.
The area is also home to several Missouri wine regions including the Ozark Highlands and Ozark Mountain American Viticultural Areas.
Ozark also refers to the distinctive culture, architecture,and dialect shared by the people who live on the plateau. Early settlers in Missouri were American pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the 19th century, followed in the 1840s and 1850s by Irish and German immigrants. Much of the Ozark population is of English, Scots-Irish, and German descent, often including some Native American ancestry, and the Ozark families from which the regional culture derived tend to have lived in the area since the 19th century.
Early settlers relied on hunting, fishing, and trapping, and foraging to supplement their diets and incomes.Today hunting and fishing for recreation are common activities and an important part of the tourist industry. Foraging for mushrooms (especially morels) and for ginseng is common and financially supported by established buyers in the area. Other forages include poke, watercress, persimmons and pawpaw; wild berries such as blackberry, black raspberry, raspberry, red mulberry, black cherry, wild strawberry and dewberry; and wild nuts such as black walnut and even acorns. Edible native legumes, wild grasses and wildflowers are plentiful, and beekeeping is common.
Print and broadcast media have explored Ozark culture broadly. Books set in the Ozarks include Where the Red Fern Grows , The Shepherd of the Hillsand As a Friend. The 1999 film Ride with the Devil , based on the book Woe to Live On, depicts warfare in Southwest Missouri during the Civil War. Winter's Bone , a novel by Daniel Woodrell (author of Woe to Live On) reflects on contemporary methamphetamine culture and its impact on families on the plateau. Released as a feature film in 2010, Winter's Bone received the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as other awards. Several early and influential country-music television and radio programs originated from Springfield in the 1950s and '60s, including ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee and The Slim Wilson Show on KYTV. The Clampett clan of The Beverly Hillbillies TV show provide a stereotypical depiction of Ozark people. Ozark musicians include Porter Wagoner and old-time fiddler Bob Holt.
Examples of commercial interpretations of traditional Ozark culture include the two major family theme parks in the region, Silver Dollar City and the now defunct Dogpatch U.S.A.; and the resort entertainment complex in Branson. Ozark Folkways in Winslow, Arkansas and Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas interpret regional culture through musical performance and exhibitions of pioneer skills and crafts.
Traditional Ozark culture includes stories and tunes passed orally between generations through community music parties and other informal gatherings.Many of these tunes and tales can be traced to having British origins and to German folklore. Moreover, historian Vance Randolph attributes the formation of much Ozark lore to individual families when "backwoods parents begin by telling outrageous whoppers to their children and end by half believing the wildest of these tales themselves." Randolph collected Ozark folklore and lyrics in volumes such as the national bestseller Pissing in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales (University of Illinois Press, 1976), Ozark Folksongs (University of Missouri Press, 1980), a four-volume anthology of regional songs and ballads collected in the 1920s and 1930s, and Ozark Magic and Folklore (Courier Dover Publications, 1964). Evidenced by Randolph's extensive field work, many Ozark anecdotes from the oral tradition are often bawdy, full of wild embellishments on everyday themes. In 1941–42, commissioned by Alan Lomax of the Archive of Folk Culture, Randolph returned to the Ozarks with a portable recording machine from the Library of Congress and captured over 800 songs, ballads and instrumentals. Selected from among these several hundred recordings, 35 tracks were released on Various Artists: Ozark Folksongs (Rounder Records) in 2001.
Square dances were an important social avenue throughout the Ozarks into the 20th century.Square dances sprang up wherever people concentrated around mills and timber camps, springs, fords, and in towns small and large. Geographically isolated communities saw their own local dance tunes and variations develop. Of all the traditional musicians in the Ozarks, the fiddler holds a distinct place in both the community and folklore. Community fiddlers revered for carrying local tunes; regionally, traveling fiddlers brought new tunes and entertainment, even while many viewed their arrival as a threat to morality. In 2007, Gordon McCann, a chronicler of Ozarks folklife and fiddle music for over four decades, donated a collection of audio recordings, fieldnotes and photographs to Missouri State University in Springfield. The collection includes more than 3,000 hours of fiddle music and interviews recorded at jam sessions, music parties, concerts and dances in the Ozarks. Selected audio recordings along with biographical sketches, photographs and tune histories were published in Drew Beisswenger and Gordon McCann's 2008 book/37 track CD set Mel Bay Presents Ozarks Fiddle Music: 308 Tunes Featuring 30 Legendary Fiddlers With Selections from 50 Other Great Ozarks Fiddlers.
From 1973 to 1983, the Bittersweet project, which began as an English class at Lebanon, Missouri High School, collected 476 taped and transcribed interviews, published 482 stories and took over 50,000 photographs documenting traditional Ozark culture.
Population influx since the 1950s,coupled with geographically lying in both the Midwest and Upper South, proximity to the Mississippi embayment, the Osage and Northern Plains, contributes to changing cultural values in the Ozarks. Theme parks and theatres seen to reflect regional values have little in common with traditional Ozark culture. Community tradition bearers remain active, in decreasing numbers, far afield of commercial offers.
Ozark religion, like that of Appalachia, was predominantly Baptist and Methodist during periods of early settlement; it tends to the conservative or individualistic, with Episcopalians, Assemblies of God, Baptists including Southern Baptists, Church of Christ, Pentecostals, and other Protestant denominations present, as well as Catholics.Religious organizations headquartered in the Ozarks include the Assemblies of God and the Baptist Bible Fellowship International in Springfield.
Missouri, a state near the geographical center of the United States, has three distinct physiographic divisions:
The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.
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.
The White River is a 722-mile (1,162 km) long river that flows through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Missouri. Originating in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, it flows northwards into southern Missouri, and then turns back into Arkansas, flowing southeast to its mouth at the Mississippi River.
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.
The Ouachita Mountains, simply referred to as the Ouachitas, are a mountain range in western Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. They are formed by a thick succession of highly deformed Paleozoic strata constituting the Ouachita Fold and Thrust Belt, one of the important orogenic belts of North America. The Ouachitas continue in the subsurface to the southeast where they make a poorly understood connection with the Appalachians and to the southwest where they join with the Marathon area of West Texas. Together with the Ozark Plateaus, the Ouachitas form the U.S. Interior Highlands. The highest natural point is Mount Magazine at 2,753 feet.
The Current River forms in the southeastern portion of the Ozarks of Missouri and becomes a 7th order stream as it flows southeasterly out of the Ozarks into northeastern Arkansas where it becomes a tributary of the Black River, which is a tributary of the White River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. The Current River is approximately 184 miles (296 km) long and drains about 2,641 square miles (6,840 km2) of land mostly in Missouri and a small portion of land in northeastern Arkansas. The headwaters of the Current River are nearly 900 feet (270 m) above sea level, while the mouth of the river lies around 280 feet (85 m) above sea level. The basin drains a rural area that is dominated by karst topography, underlain by dolomite and sandstone bedrock with a small area of igneous rock southeast of Eminence, Missouri. The annual daily mean discharge of the river near Doniphan, Missouri is 2,815 cubic feet (79.7 m3) per second. In 1964, over 134 mi (160 km) of the upper course of the river and its tributaries were federally protected as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the first national park in America to protect a river system.
The Ozarks is a highland region in the central United States.
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.
Rockbridge is an unincorporated community in northern Ozark County, Missouri. It is the site of an old mill on spring fed Spring Creek a tributary of Bryant Creek, which still houses the post office. It is twelve miles north of Gainesville on Missouri Route N about one and a half miles north of Route 95. The narrow valley floor is only about 650 feet wide and at an elevation of 770 feet and the Ozark ridges on either side are 200 to 250 feet higher.
The Gasconade River is about 280 miles (450 km) long and is located in central and south-central Missouri in the United States.
The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a national park in the Ozarks of southern Missouri in the U.S..
The U.S. Interior Highlands is a mountainous region in the Central United States spanning northern and western Arkansas, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The name is designated by the United States Geological Survey to refer to the combined subregions of the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark Plateaus. The U.S. Interior Highlands is one of few mountainous regions between the Appalachians and Rockies.
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 Ozark Highlands is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in four U.S. states. Most of the region is within Missouri, with a part in Arkansas and small sections in Oklahoma and Kansas. It is the largest subdivision of the region known as the Ozark Mountains, flatter in comparison to the Boston Mountains in Arkansas, the steepest part of the Ozarks.
U.S. Route 62 is a U.S. highway running from El Paso, Texas northeast to Niagara Falls, New York. In the U.S. state of Arkansas, the route runs 329.9 miles from the Oklahoma border near Summers east to the Missouri border in St. Francis, serving the northern portion of the state. The route passes through several cities and towns, including Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville, Harrison, Mountain Home, Pocahontas, and also Piggott. US 62 runs concurrent with several highways in Arkansas including Interstate 49 and U.S. Route 71 between Fayetteville and Bentonville, U.S. Route 412 through much of the state, U.S. Route 65 in the Harrison area, and with U.S. Route 63 and U.S. Route 67 in northeast Arkansas.
Devil's Den State Park is a 2,500-acre (1,000 ha) Arkansas state park in Washington County, near West Fork, Arkansas in the United States. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, beginning in 1933. Devil's Den State Park is in the Lee Creek Valley in the Boston Mountains, which are the southwestern part of The Ozarks. The park, with an 8 acres (3.2 ha) CCC-built lake, is open for year-round recreation, with trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Devil's Den State Park also has several picnic areas, a swimming pool and cabins, with camping sites ranging from modern to primitive. Fossils of coral and crinoids can be found along the banks and within Lee Creek at Devil's Den State Park.
Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Benton County, Arkansas became the 455th National Wildlife Refuge on March 14, 1989 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. This 123-acre (0.50 km2) Ozark Mountain refuge, which includes a limestone-solution cave, is located 20 miles (32 km) west of Fayetteville, Arkansas and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) north of U.S. Highway #412.
The Kings River is a tributary of the White River. It rises in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and flows northward for more than 90 miles into Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The Arkansas portion of the river is undammed and bordered by rural and forested land, the river is popular for paddling and sport fishing.
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