Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 386
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The Rivergator Wakes Up
Rivergator Celebration: St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico: including Missouri/Mississippi Confluence, Chain of Rocks, Great Arch, Ste. Gen, Tower Rock, Trail of Tears, The Cape, Cairo, Hickman, Great Bend at New Madrid, Caruthersville, Osceola, Chickasaw Bluffs, Memphis, Mississippi Delta, Helena, Clarksdale, Rosedale, Big Island, Arkansas City, Greenville, Vicksburg, Lake Providence, Natchez, Atchafalaya River, St. Francisville, Baton Rouge, Plaquemine, New Orleans, Venice, Mile -0- Head of Passes, South Pass -- and all points & places in between!
Y'all, we have a few remaining open seats on our 1154 mile-long adventure down the longest free-flowing section of river in America! (outside of Alaska). You can join and help us celebrate the wild powerful beauty of the biggest and baddest river in North America. Jump on board for a day, a week, or the whole thing -- whatever your schedule will allow. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for sign-up & details!
Meet the Expedition Film-Maker:
We have invited talented videographer/filmmaker Christopher Battaglia (AKA "Majo Negro") to join us for documentation of the entire 6-week canoe expedition. (See Chris' previous work here: Wilderness Within).
So if you can't be with us in person, you will be able to experience the "wilderness within" through Chris' exceptional film-making. He has a visceral feeling for the project, and our overall mission of stewardship through deep engagement. His heart is definitely in the right place. A week ago Chris oversaw a donation of 40 pounds of fleece and rain gear for the from Patagonia -- for our Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program. Thank you Chris! Thank you Patagonia!
|From Christopher Battaglia:
“It is difficult to begin without borrowing, but perhaps it is the most generous cause thus to permit your fellowmen to have an interest in your enterprise.”
-Thoreau, Walden, "Economy"
I'm here, in the vein of Thoreau's suggestion, to borrow some of your time and thoughts, with the hopes of piquing interest in the biggest project to-date, that's been in the works for over a year. And without asking for your support, it is likely that this will not come to fruition.
The goal is to diversify and democratize the River. The Rivergator is a valuable and novel resource to promote stewardship and knowledge of the Mississippi. In filming the entire expedition, we can create a valuable caché of multimedia to help promote the River's recreational and environmental advancement in years to come.
This spring (March 20 - May 10, 2017) I've been invited to film + document a 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico in celebration of the completion of the Rivergator (rivergator.org). It's a comprehensive paddler's guide to the Lower Mississippi River (1150+ miles), and I've had the honor of contributing in the past.
Right now, I lack the funds necessary to be able to support the work for the entire 45-day expedition, specific equipment, more robust insurance, and travel. It will be labor-intensive to complete this project, but I care deeply for the Rivergator's mission. I care because is my mission to document beautiful and rare things before they become lost and forgotten.
To be candid: I knew very little about the Mississippi River before my first experience there. Perhaps you don't know much either; that's okay. I want to help change minds and provide a direct source on what the river looks like, sounds like, smells like, and the wild feeling it provides. There is something special about The Mississippi that I hope documentary filming will revitalize and advance: more access and deeper knowledge.
There are "murky waters" ahead - we don't know the fate of the United States as it pertains to land and resource protection. The Lower Mississippi River must be preserved and celebrated and seen firsthand by you and your children, as well as your grandchildren. It is an essential landscape worth exploring. I'm going to work my damnedest for those few good stories to tell the nephews and grandkids about a river that they can appreciate themselves one day.
The Rivergator Celebratory Expedition
March 20 to May 10, 2017
St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico
We are celebrating the 2017 completion of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Middle/Lower Mississippi River, with an 1154 mile long adventure: paddling the trail from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico! (This is the single longest section of free-flowing river in the continental US).
The Rivergator is now live at www.rivergator.org — with one million words describing the Middle and Lower Mississippi River — and thousands of photos, videos and maps.
You can join in for a day, a week, or the entire 6 week adventure — whatever fits your Spring 2017 schedule.
Journalists and media: This is all about sharing the story of the river, so we are reserving 4 seats per segment of the river for photographers, writers, film-makers, bloggers, and anyone who will help us get the word about the wild raw beauty of the Lower Mississippi River.
Keep reading below for itinerary and more info. Please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat, or for more information.
The route is St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico, 1154 miles of free-flowing river. March 20 to May 10, 2017. Anyone is welcome to jump on board our voyageur style canoe. No previous experience necessary, but must enjoy wilderness-style camping and must be willing to paddle.
March 20 to May 10, 2017: Itinerary subject to adjustment according to wind, water levels and prevailing weather conditions. For detailed descriptions of route go to www.rivergator.org
(This section In coordination with Big Muddy Adventures of St. Louis)
Monday, March 20 (Vernal Equinox): Meet 3pm at Columbia Bottoms Boat Ramp (on the Missouri River). Pack your gear into drybags and load the big canoe. Push off around 4pm down the last three miles of the Missouri River. Camp at Missouri/Mississippi Confluence on Duck Island.
Tuesday, March 21: continue downstream from Duck Island, Route 66 Bridge, City of St. Louis Waterworks, the I-270 Bridge, and Chain of Rocks (portage might be necessary). Camp: Mosenthein Island.
Wed March 22: Great Arch, LaClede’s Landing, the Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (newest bridge on the Mississippi), Eads Bridge, the McKinley Bridge, East St. Louis, Anheuser Busch Brewery, Jefferson Barracks, JB I-255 Bridge, Meramec Confluence.
Thurs March 23: Herculaneum, Harlow Island, Fort DeChartres, Calico Island, Osborne Island, Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area
Fri March 24: Ste Genevieve, Moro Island, Kaskaskia River, Chester, Rockwood Island
Sat March 25: Tower Rock, Grand Tower, Trail of Tears State Park, Devil’s Island
Sun March 26: Cape Girardeau, Marquette Island, Thebes, Pawnee Hills
Mon March 27: Big Bends of the Middle Miss around Dogtooth Island and Missouri Sister Island, Cairo, Fort Defiance, Ohio River Confluence
Tues March 28: Wickliffe, Columbus Belmont, Wolf Island
Wed March 29: Hickman, Is No 8, Reelfoot Lake, Bessie’s Bend
Thurs March 30: Bessie’s Bend, New Madrid, Kentucky Point
Fri March 31: Tiptonville, Lee Towhead, Hathaway/Island 14, Sandy Hook Bar, Caruthersville
— April 2017 —
Sat April 1: Island 18, Is 20, Is 21, Mouth of the Obion, Tamm Bend
Sun April 2: Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska Landing, Island 25, Island 26 and Forked Deer Island 27
Mon April 3: Ashport-Keyes Gold Dust, Lower Forked Deer River, Island 30, Osceola
Tues April 4: Sans Souci Driver Island, Old Mouth of the Forked Deer, First Chickasaw Bluff, Sunrise Towhead - Island 34
Wed April 5: Hatchie River, Randolph Landing, The Second Chickasaw Bluff (Richardson Bluff), Dean Island
Thurs April 6: Denseford Bar and Dikes/Hen and Chicks, Meeman Shelby Forest State Brandywine Island, Hickman Bar, Loosahatchie River, Redman Point Bar, Memphis Upper Waswater Treatment Plant, Wolf River, Mud Island, Memphis "M" Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge), 4th Chickasaw Bluff, Memphis
Fri April 7: Meet at 12 noon Mud Island Park Boat Ramp and push off downstream Lower Bridges/Engineer's Bar, President's Island, Entrance to McKellar Lake, Dismal Point, Ensley Bar
Sat April 8: Josie Harry Bar, Cow Island Bend, Cat Island No.50, Starr Landing, Tunica Riverpark Museum, Buck Island (No. 53), Basket Bar
Sun April 9: Commerce Bend, Rabbit Island, Mhoon Landing, Mhoon Bend, Whiskey Chute/Walnut Bend, Whitehall Crevasse, Tunica Runout, Shoo Fly Bar, Stumpy Island
Mon April 10: Harbert Point, Mouth of the St. Francis River, St. Francis Bar, Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead), Trotter's Pass, Helena Harbor.
Tues April 11 (Passover/Full Moon): Re-Supply in Helena
Wed April 12: Re-Supply in Helena
Thurs April 13: Re-Supply in Helena
Fri April 14 (Good Friday): Yazoo Pass, Montezuma Towhead, Friars Point, Kangaroo Point, Dewberry Island 61, Old Town Bend, Island 62
Sat April 15: Island 63, Quapaw Landing (Clarksdale), Muddy Waters Wilderness, Burke’s Point, Mouth of the Mellwood Lake, Mouth of De Soto Lake, Jug Harris Towhead, Island 68, Island 67
Sun April 16 (Easter): Wood Cottage, Knowlton Crevasse, Island 69, Cession’s Towhead, Hurricane Pint (Dennis Landing), Island 70, Henrico Sandbar, Scrubgrass Bend, Smith Point Sandbar, Mouth of the White River, White River NWR
Mon April 17: Big Island, Victoria Bend, Old Channel of the White, Wreck of the Victor
Great River Road State Park, Rosedale Harbor, Arkansas River
Tues April 18: Prentiss Sandbar, Mouth of Lake Whittington, Caulk Neck Bar, Cypress Bend, Catfish Point Bar, Choctaw Bar Island, Mounds Landing, Arkansas City
Wed April 19: Yellow Bend, The Greenville Bends, island 8, Leland Neck Point, Warfield Point State Park, Greenville Harbor, Greenville
Thurs April 20: Sunny Side Landing, Greenville Bridge, Lakeport Towhead, American Bar, Kentucky Bend
Fri April 21: Leota Bar, Cracraft Chute, Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88, Bunch’s Cutoff, Corregidor Bar, Wilson Point Bar, Mayersville, Tennis Court Landing
Sat April 22 (Earth Day): Baleshead, Stack Island, Ben Lamond, Shipland WMA, Fitler Bend, Arcadia Point Bar, Cottonwood Bar, Chotard Lake, Terrapin Neck Cutoff, Willow Island
Sun April 23: Eagle Lake Pass, Tara Landing, Madison Parish Port, Paw Paw Chute, Brown’s Point, Mouth of the Yazoo River, Vicksburg
Mon April 24: Vicksburg Loess Bluffs, Delta Point, Vicksburg Bridges, Racetrack Towhead, Letourneau, Palmyra, Togo, Middle Ground Island
Tues April 25: Big Black River, Grand Gulf State Park, Yucatan Ditch, Coffee Point Dikes, Diamond Cut-Off, Port of Claiborne County, Bayou Pierre, St. Joseph Boat Ramp, Bondurant Towhead
Wed April 26: St. Joseph, Waterproof, Natchez
Thurs April 27: Natchez, St Catherine's Wildlife Refuge, Carthage, Warnicott, Homichitto River, Washout Bayou, Artonish, 3 Rivers WMA
Fri April 28: Ft. Adams, Old River (Mouth of the Atchafalaya River), Angola Ferry & State Penitentiary, Shreve’s Bar, Hog Point, Tunica Bayou, Polly Creek, Little Island, Iowa Point
Sat April 29: St. Maurice Island, Bayou Sara, St. Francisville, St. Francisville, John James Audubon Bridge, Fancy Point
Sun April 30: Thompson Creek, Profit Island, Devil’s Swamp, Istrouma Bluff
— May 2017 —
(This section in coordination with the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper)
Mon May 1: Re-Supply in Baton Rouge
Tues May 2: Baton Rouge, I-10 Bridge, Baton Rouge to Plaquemine Red Eye Dikes Manchac Bend, Plaquemine, Nottoway Plantation, Bayou Goula Towhead
Wed May 3: Point Clair, White Castle, Philadelphia Point, Eighty-One-Mile Point, Donaldson, Bayou Lafourche, Bayou Teche, Bringier Point, Point Houmas, Sunshine Bridge, Oak Alley Plantation, Magnolia Landing, Paulina.
Thurs May 4: Bonnet Carre Spillway, Twenty-Six Mile Point, I-310 Bridge, Huey P. Long Bridge, 9-Mile Point, Audubon Park, Algier’s Ferry, French Quarter, Algiers Point.
Fri May 5: Algiers Point, Industrial Canal, Algier’s Lock, Poydras Bend, English Turn Bend, Caernarvon Crevasse, Twelve Mile Point, Shingle Point, Belle Chasse Ferry, Jesuit Bend, Will’s Point
Sat May 6: Will's Point, Poverty Point, Point Celeste, Pointe A La Hache Bohemia Beach, Mardi Gras Pass, Happy Jack, Sixty Mile Point
Sun May 7: Tropical Bend, Point Pleasant, Ostrica Pass, Buras Landing Boat Ramp, Fort Jackson, Plaquemines Bend/Fort Jackson Point, Baptiste Collette Bayou, Venice, Grand Pass Island, Cubit’s Gap, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Pilottown, Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero
-0- Mile Zero
Mon May 8: Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero, Southwest Pass, South Pass, Port Eads
Lower South Pass Island, Pass A Loutre, Southeast Pass, Last Camp on Expedition: on the Gulf of Mexico (Full Moon Night!)
Gulf of Mexico
Tues May 9: Paddle back upstream to Venice, Grand Pass Island, Cubit’s Gap, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Pilottown, Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero, final takeout at Cypress Cove Marina in Venice.
Tues May 10 (Full Rose Moon): Drive back through New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Vicksburg, return to Clarksdale. Shuttle back to Memphis, St. Louis, or points in between, as needed.
Contact: John Ruskey, 662-902-7841 or email@example.com to reserve your seat, and for more information.
Mission: We are celebrating the opening of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Middle/Lower Mississippi River Water Trail, now live at www.rivergator.org
Route: St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico, 1154 miles of free-flowing river
Dates: March 20 to May 10, 2017
What is the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition?
In Spring of 2017 we’ll be paddling the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico in a 45-day expedition to celebrate the completion of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail.
Who can Join?
Anyone is welcome to jump on board our voyageur style canoe (Option: if you are an expert paddler you can bring your own vessel). No previous experience necessary, but must enjoy wilderness-style camping and must be willing to paddle!
Journalists on board:
This is all about sharing the story. We are reserving at least 4 seats on every segment for writers, photographers and any journalists who will help us share the story about the beautiful and dynamic Mississippi River and the Rivergator Middle/Lower Mississippi River Water Trail describing it. This includes newspapers, magazines, bloggers, local media, documenters, and any other form of media.
Coffee (or tea) at sunrise, breakfast one hour later. Pack up and get on river around 9am. Paddle and explore 2 hours. 1 hour lunch at noon. Paddle and explore all afternoon. Camp around 5pm. We will probably average about 5 hours/day of paddle time in the canoe. This expedition is all about exploration, discovery, and sharing. We like to stop and explore along the way. So when there are interesting sites to see, we stop a lot, maybe once every hour for a 15 min to 1/2 hour (maybe as long as 2 hour or even half day if schedule allows) walk or hike for documentation, or tracking, bird watching, beachcombing, swim, or whatever. Lunch is usually an hour. Also, a mid-day nap sure feels good on the river! There is room in the itinerary for flexibility… so if the weather is bad, or the crew is worn out, we might stay on shore one full day, and each person will be at leisure to do as they please. On the other hand some days we be “voyageur-style” and stay in the canoe longer (maybe 2-3 hours at a time for a total of 8-12 hours of paddling) to make distance, or because the weather is bad.
Food & Gear:
Outfitter Quapaw Canoe Company provides all necessary river gear & emergency equipment. Normally we prepare all food & refreshments, drinks include water, teas and coffee. Alcoholic beverages BYOB. We will pack all necessary cookware and eating utensils, as well as camp tables and camp chairs. Pack favorite snacks. Vegetarian and vegan options available.
Bring all personal gear and stuff into our waterproof drybags before launching (or use your own). These are backpack-style bags made of tough waterproof material - great for packing on a rainy day! It takes three complete fold to make them water-proof, be sure to lock all four buckles! If you have any questions, check with your guide.
Be prepared for everything from heavy rain to hot days with intense sun UV exposure! Sunlight is surprisingly strong on the river, even in the winter (you get the sun twice – once from above and once reflected from below). Sunburn is our number one complaint and has caused more than one Mississippi River paddler very painful days and sleepless nights. Be forewarned! Sunglasses, sun screen, long sleeve clothing and a wide brim hat are all good ideas, especially for anyone particularly sensitive.
Camping equipment and wetsuits: You will need tent, sleeping bag, pad, wet (or dry) suit and neoprene (or comparable) boots. We can supply to anyone who needs them. Otherwise, bring your own and pack with your gear into our dry bags.
Remote islands, sandbars, towheads, usually sandy places, sometimes it’s necessary to make a muddy landing. In inclement weather it might be necessary to find shelter within the forest. This is primitive camping on a river island, no services of any sort. Bring everything you need to make yourself comfortable. Bring your own toiletry. Bring a change of warm clothing, including summer months, when mornings can be cool. It’s always cooler on the river.
Thurs, Mar 2nd, Southbound 2nd Annual Mardi Gras Float Registration Form Parade, 5:00pm on Helena’s Cherry Street. Lineup at Southbound Pizza, 233 Cherry Street, Helena, AR 72342
March 20 -May 10: Rivergator Celebratory Expedition March-May 2017. Now filing seats! You can sign up for the 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico celebrating the completion of the Rivergator: one million words describing the Lower Mississippi. Your participation in this celebration will help make it a success!
April 20-23: Juke Joint Festival. Go to jukejointfestival.com for more info.
April 21-22 Southbound Music Festival, Cherry Street, Helena, AR. Helena Arkansas lies on the banks of the Mississippi River at the foot of the Ozark Mountains and the top of the western delta. A million years ago it was the confluence of two great rivers that carved out its geographical shape. Because of this gumbo of mud and clay and water, it created another gumbo. One of music. (Keep reading below for more). Go to https://www.southboundmusicfestival.com or more info.
April 28-30 Mississippitopia, Choctaw Lake, Ackerman, Mississippi — will be the largest outdoor recreation education workshop/symposium in the State of Mississippi and a “First for Mississippi.” The 3-Day weekend workshop/conference-style event is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, at Choctaw Lake Recreation Area in Ackerman, Mississippi. http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-education/health-physical-education-and-recreation/recreation/mississippitopia/#what for more information.
Coming up in Fall 2017: Quapaw Canoe Company Artist’s Retreat! One week on the Mississippi River with your pens, paints, paper, guitar — whatever your tools of creativity are. Bring your gear, we’ll take of the rest including guiding, outfitting, meals and campsite. By hand-crafted voyageur canoe.
ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL
APRIL 21 & 22 2017
CHERRY STREET, HELENA, ARKANSAS
Helena Arkansas lies on the banks of the Mississippi River at the foot of the Ozark Mountains and the top of the western delta. A million years ago it was the confluence of two great rivers that carved out its geographical shape. Because of this gumbo of mud and clay and water, it created another gumbo. One of music. It takes strains of Ozark mountain folk mixed with delta field hollers. Hard scrabble and hard times. A toughness that was necessary to survive. Soulful, but with an attitude. Not a sweet soul like the Memphis sound. Those were city folk, where life was easier. These were country folk that had to fight to survive and didn’t take handouts from nobody. This is the same dirt that borne Levon Helm, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and some mighty fine barbeque. They all have an edge. Like placing water on a blade of a knife, volatile, it could go either way. Just like their music, it could go anyway, at any time. Unpredictable. The spirit in this music and this region is what we want to capture and showcase to the world for years to come with the Southbound Music Festival.
AN AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL. International & Regional Artists. Performing in Multiple Live Venues throughout Downtown, Helena. Unique Original Art Work. Kraft Beers & Regional Cuisine.
The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
is brought to you courtesy of
The Lower Mississippi River Foundation
Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:
Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?
Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program: long term apprenticeships developing personal character and young leaders through canoe building, big river guiding, and survival skills on the Lower Mississippi River.
LiNKS = Leave No Kids On Shore
LiNK-ing kids to the big river and mother nature -- with the passion of a LYNX.
Every LiNK in the chain is as important as the others. Real-time experiences for the betterment of personal health and environmental conservation along the Lower Mississippi River.
Friends of the Sunflower River
Established in 2005 for cleanups, paddle events and other educational programming on the Sunflower River.
Youth program begun in 2012 as an after-school river activity in conjunction with GRIOT Arts.
Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.
Library Love Letters Campaign
Libraries across the state are facing budget cuts, and some are even cutting hours and closing branches. To let legislators and lawmakers in Jackson and Washington know that communities value libraries, the Mississippi Library Association has organized Library Love Letters, and you can help! Just come by and fill out a postcard explaining why you love the library or what it means to you or to the community. You can send it along to lawmakers, or let us do that for you. We hope this coordinated effort will make us more visible and allow us the resources we need to serve Coahoma County.