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The Buffalo River is one of the few remaining unpolluted, free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states offering both swift-running and placid stretches. The Buffalo National River encompasses 135 miles of the 150-mile long river. It begins as a trickle in the Boston Mountains 15 miles above the park boundary. Following what is likely an ancient riverbed, the Buffalo cuts its way through massive limestone bluffs traveling eastward through the [[Ozarks]] and into the White River. The national river has three designated wilderness areas within its boundaries.
Headquarters is located in [[Harrison (Arkansas)|Harrison]]. The Tyler Bend Visitor Center, the main visitor center for the park, is located
[[Image:BuffOverlook.jpg|right|thumb|320px|Overlook view of the Buffalo River]]
*Buffalo National River has over 300 caves within its boundary. The Ozark Plateau is one of the most
*The Ozark Mountains as a whole can be described as a southward tilted, uplifted plateau that has been dissected by the erosional effects of water resulting in dendritic or tree-branch shaped watersheds. Within the Ozark Mountains four major physiographic regions have been described: the Boston Mountains, Springfield Plateau, Salem Plateau, and the St. Francis Mountains. The drainage area of the Buffalo River is a mixture of the Boston Mountains, Springfield and Salem Plateaus.
*Wildflowers can be seen nearly year round at Buffalo National River, but spring is the peak season. Spring rains and warm balmy days bring amazing color to the fields and roadsides of the park. In early spring many wildflowers can be found on the forest floor.
*In the eons old progression of seasons, animal abundance within the Ozark Mountains ebbs and flows as animals migrate into and out of the oak-hickory ecosystem that exists within the rough hills and valleys that create the Buffalo River. With the coming of spring, animal movement is at its highest. Fish are actively migrating up the river corridor into tributaries, and songbirds are arriving from far off places, filling the forest canopy with movement and song. Wildlife observers have recorded 55 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, and 59 species of fish, along with a multitude of reptiles, amphibians, insects and other invertebrates.
*In 1981, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began an Elk Restoration Project that has been an overwhelming success, and now special-permit hunting is required to keep the ever-growing population in balance. Visitors to the park can see the elk most frequently in the late winter and early spring in the meadows of Boxley Valley along the upper reaches of the river.
*'''Boone County Regional Airport''' (HRO) in Harrison is served
Buffalo National River is a long, narrow park that is crossed by three main highways. Using Harrison
*To reach the Upper District, travel south on Arkansas 7 or Arkansas 43.
*To reach the Middle District, travel 31 miles south on US Highway 65.
*To reach the Lower District, take US Highway 65 for five miles, then take US Highway 62/412 to the east to Yellville, then Arkansas 14 south.
The Buffalo National River is 132 miles long and the best way to get around is by boat. (See "Do" below.)
*'''Buffalo Point and Beyond''', Approximately 38 miles, some gravel roads, Route: Caney (10 miles south of Yellville) to Maumee, to Rush, to Buffalo Point, and to Dillard's Ferry. From Caney to Maumee, many open pastures can be seen. The North Arkansas Mining Company developed the area known as Maumee in the late 1890s for the purpose of mining zinc ore. The company’s land surveyor named the area for the Maumee River in Ohio near which he was raised. The peak mining activity was during World War I. Now this area is a popular put-in point for canoeists. The crushing mill foundations and the entrance to the Maumee Mine can be seen along the road to the canoe launch, just outside of the park boundary. When zinc ore was discovered on Rush Creek in the 1880s, a community developed to support the influx of workers. By the 1890s, the mining boom was well established and miners and investors arrived from all over the country. It was written that so many people came that local farmers could not keep the town supplied in fresh meat and eggs. Some fifteen mines operated in the Rush District. The most famous mine at Rush was the Morning Star Mine. A quarter mile trail loops through the remains of the Morning Star area. Structures along the loop include the smelter, blacksmith shop, mill and other foundations. A longer trail (approximately 3 miles one way) rises above the valley floor crossing steep, rocky terrain and past mine ruins. Mines are very unstable and entry is prohibited. Trail guides are available at the Buffalo Point Ranger Station. The area known as Buffalo Point was developed through cooperation among the National Park Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Arkansas State Parks Commission, and was established as Buffalo River State Park in 1938. All of the Civilian Conservation Corps structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several hiking trails ranging in length from a quarter mile to three and a half miles lead hikers to a scenic vista, caves, a waterfall, and other interesting features. Interpretive programs are given regularly in the summer. Schedules and trail guides are available at the Ranger Station. Doc Dillard built the original ferry (named Dillard’s Ferry) with his sons Ira and Pate and W. Davenport in the early 1900s. The old ferry crossing is just a few meters downstream from the present bridge and was in operation until the bridge was completed in 1959. In December 1982 a flood covered the bridge. The river was about 65 feet (19.8 meters) above normal water level, making this the biggest flood in the river’s recorded history.
*'''Buffalo River Trail''', From Boxley Valley to Pruitt, the Buffalo River Trail (BRT) winds through scenic overlooks, old homesites, and rugged wild areas that best characterize the park. Hiking is most strenuous between Boxley Valley and Erbie, where steep gradients and switchbacks lead to spectacular views of the river. The terrain gradually gives way to a nicer river corridor and terrain which is more forgiving to hikers. The trail is presently 37 miles long. Unlike the old river road trail, which follows the river more closely, the BRT does not have river crossings. Also unlike the old river road trail, use on the BRT is limited to hikers only. Trailheads to Buffalo River Trail are located at the south end of Boxley Valley, Ponca Low Water Bridge, Steel Creek, Kyles Landing, Erbie, Ozark, and Pruitt Ranger Station. All trailheads but Ponca Low Water Bridge have overnight parking areas available. The newest addition to the BRT is the 18-mile section from Woolum to Highway 65, near Tyler Bend, then ending up at Gilbert. Trail maps and guides are available for sale through the Eastern National Bookstore, park headquarters and at all visitor contact station locations.
The very best way to see Buffalo River is by canoeing. You may bring your own canoe, kayak, raft, or john boat; but your best bet may be to rent one from local authorized concessioners – no permit is required. Motors must be less than 10 horsepower and properly registered in the state of Arkansas. Life jackets are required in all boats, and must be worn by children 12 and younger. United States Coast Guard regulations mandate that life jackets must be USCG-approved, in good condition, and the appropriate size for the wearer. No glass containers are permitted within 50 feet of the river or its tributaries. Floating the Buffalo can be a wonderful experience, and you can keep it that way by following a few precautions. Always check river conditions before you float. River levels are posted at the access areas and can also be found on the internet [http://www.buffaloriverandrain.com] or by calling any ranger station or visitor center.
The Buffalo River is a favorite with anglers. Long pools and shallow riffles provide excellent opportunities for fishing. The Buffalo and its tributaries comprise one of the Nation’s richest areas in total number of fish species. Game fish of choice are the small mouth, largemouth and spotted bass, catfish, Ozark bass, and a variety of panfish. Favored traditional methods of fishing are bank fishing and float fishing in flat-bottomed johnboats. Float fishing is most common on the lower (eastern) half of the river. State and National Park Service regulations govern fishing. An Arkansas fishing license is required for persons age 16 and over. Catch and release of smallmouth bass is encouraged (with artificial lures, barbless hooks, and careful handling). Smallmouth bass kept must be at least 14 inches in length with a limit of two per day.
Over 200 species of birds
*'''Buffalo Point Concession''', has a restaurant that is open in the summer season.
National Park Service regulations control the use of alcohol on Buffalo National River. There is no alcohol for sale within the park boundaries, however, you may bring your own alcohol into the park on a limited basis. Bringing alcohol is a privilege, not a right. You are required to regulate your alcohol consumption, and alcohol-related offenses may be punishable by eviction from the park. Once again: '''Glass containers are not permitted on or within
*'''Buffalo Point Concession'''. Rustic Cabins open from March 1 to November 30; Modern Cabins are available year around. Reservations Online [http://www.buffalopoint.com], Phone: (870) 449-6206, Located at Buffalo Point,
Thirteen designated campgrounds are accessible by car and are '''open year round''' on a first-come, first-served basis except that Buffalo Point Campground offers some campsites by reservation through http://www.ReserveUSA.com or calling 1-877-444-6777. Tyler Bend and Buffalo Point offer restrooms, showers, and trailer dump stations; camping fees are charged at both locations from
*'''Maumee South''', Primitive campground with open camping, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Vault toilets available. No camping fees required.
*'''Mt. Hersey''', Primitive campground with open camping, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Fire grates and vault toilets available. No camping fees required.
*'''Ozark''', Modern campground with thirty-five campsites, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water, and flush toilets available
*'''Spring Creek''', Semi-developed campground with fourteen campsites, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates and vault toilet available. No drinking water. Camping is free.
*'''Steel Creek''', Modern campground with twenty-six campsites, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water (
*'''Woolum''', Primitive campground with open camping, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Fire grates and vault toilets available. No camping fees required. Horse campsites are available.
*Bring ample drinking water, or even better, a water purifier. Never drink untreated water from springs or rivers due to the potential presence of harmful organisms.
*Poison ivy and snakes are present and protected in the park. Never reach or step where you cannot see.
*Ticks and chiggers are hard to avoid anywhere in the Ozarks. Long pants and insect repellent (90%+ DEET) help
*Sturdy shoes and proper clothing are a must to ensure a safe and comfortable out-of-doors experience.
*Choose campsites that allow an escape route as locally heavy rains can cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly.
*Do not dive or jump into the river. Shallow water and submerged objects are hazardous. Swim only in clear, calm water and check below the surface for submerged objects.
*If a lightning storm occurs, leave the river and find shelter immediately. Metal boats and water itself conduct electricity.
*'''Silver Dollar City''' and '''Celebration City''' theme parks near [[Branson]].
*[[Eureka Springs]], [[Arkansas]] sometimes called the little [[Switzerland]] of the Ozarks and on other occasions the [[San Francisco]] of the Ozarks. Local craft shops and art galleries, good food and shopping. Close to Beaver Lake with fishing, water skiing, swimming and other water sports.
*[[Mountain View]] is home to the Ozark Folk Center and Blanchard Springs Caverns.