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Buffalo National River

4,543 bytes added, 17:52, 3 March 2017
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Removed 'Due to sequestration budget cuts' from the end of the section - it was an incomplete sentence.
[[Image:BuffRiver.jpg|thumb|320px{{pagebanner|Buffalo National River]]Banner.jpg}}  '''Buffalo National River''' [http://www.nps.gov/buff/] in northern [[Arkansas]] is an unpolluted and free-flowing river in the heart of the Ozarks. It has both swift water and calm streaches stretches on its 132 mile course. Buffalo River became the nation’s first National River in 1972.
==Understand==
[[Image:BuffRiver.jpg|thumb|320px|Buffalo National River]]
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 eleven 31 miles south of Harrison and 11 miles north of [[Marshall (Arkansas)|Marshall]] on US Highway 65. The park has two other visitor contact stations; : the Pruitt Ranger Station, located five miles north of [[Jasper (Arkansas)|Jasper]] on Arkansas Highway 7, and Buffalo Point Ranger Station, located 17 miles south of [[Yellville]] on Arkansas Highway 14.
===History===
===Landscape===
[[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 caverniculous cavernicolous areas in the United States. Karst is a type of topography that is usually formed in rocks such as limestone and dolomite. It is characterized by an integration of surface and ground water via sinkholes, caves, losing streams, and springs.  
*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.
===Wildlife===
*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.
 
*The "buffalo" in the context of the park's name is not entirely clear. The name could refer to the American Bison, which once roamed most of the central United States but is now no longer found in Arkansas. On the other hand, it could also refer to a freshwater fish of the genus ''Ictiobus'' found in the lower Mississippi river valley.
==Get in==
The official map from the Official National Park Service may be viewed map: [http://home.nps.gov/applications/parks/buff/ppMaps/ACF5567.pdf here]. (PDF document, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
===By plane===
 *'''Boone County Regional Airport''' ({{IATA|HRO}}) [http://www.boonecountyairport.com/] in Harrison is served only primarily by Mesa general aviation, although SeaPort Airlines, has commuter service is to Hot Springs Kansas City and continuing on to Dallas-Fort WorthMemphis.  Other nearby airports, with driving directions and approximate driving time to Harrisonthe Tyler Bend Visitor Center: *'''Fort Smith Regional Airport''' ({{IATA|FSM}}) [http://www.fortsmithairport.com/] Interstate 40 east to Russellville, Arkansas 7 north to Dover, Arkansas 27/16/377/74 north to US 65 north; 3 hours25 minutes*'''Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport''' ({{IATA|XNA}}) [http://www.nwara.com/] Arkansas 264 east to Lowell, US 71 south to Springdale, US 412 to east to Harrison, US 65 south; 2 hours 15 45 minutes*'''Little Rock International Airport''' ({{IATA|LIT}}) 3 [http://lrn-airport.com] Interstate 40 west to Conway, US 65 north; 2 hours 10 minutes*'''Springfield/Branson Regional Airport''' ({{IATA|SGF}}) (in Missouri) 1 hour 40 [http://www.sgf-branson-airport.com/] US 65 south; 2 hours 15 minutes
===By car===
Buffalo National River is a long, narrow park that is crossed by three main highways. Using Harrison, located north of the park, as a starting point:
*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 same routes listed also lead from places south of the park.
==Fees/Permits==
==Get around==
The Buffalo National River is 132 miles long and the best way to get around is by boat. (See "Do" below.)You may enter or exit the river at any of 22 river access points. Boat rental providers will also provide transportation to and from the access points.
==See==
*'''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.
==DoPets==Dogs All pets are expected to be on leashes and under physical restraint at all times when in the campgrounds up to 25 feet from the river. Pet owners are expected to scoop up their pets ' poop and dispose of it in a designated trash receptacle. There are not permitted on park currently two trailsin Buffalo National River that are pet friendly: The Forest Pit Trail in the Lower District and the Mill Creek Trail in the upper district. Please contact one of the district Visitor Contact Stations or Park Headquarters for maps and current information.
===Backpacking===
*'''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.
===Boating===
The very best way to see Buffalo River is by canoeing. There are 22 river access points along the river. 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. ====Canoe Rental Providers==== =====Upper River (Boxley to Carver)===== *Buffalo Adventures Canoe Rental(870) 446-5406 *Buffalo Outdoor Center, Inc.1-800-221-5514 *Gordon Motel, Inc.1-800-477-8509 or(870) 446-5252 *Keller's Kanoes(870) 446-2644 *Lost Valley Canoe & Lodging(870) 861-5522 *Riverview Motel Canoe Rentals(870) 446-2616 =====Middle River (Carver to South Maumee)===== *Buffalo Camping & Canoeing(870) 439-2888 or (870) 439-2386 *Buffalo River Outfitters, Inc.1-800-582-2244 *Crockett's Canoe Rental1-800-355-6111 or (870) 448-3892 *Silver Hill Canoe Rental(870) 439-2372 =====Lower River (North Maumee to Buffalo City)===== *Buffalo River Float Service(870) 449-2042 or 1-877-350-6592 *Dillard's Ozark Outfitters, Inc.1-800-423-8731 or (870) 449-6619 *Dirst Canoe Rental1-800-537-2850 or (870) 449-6636 *Wild Bill's Outfitter1-800-554-8657 or (870) 449-6235
===Fishing===
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(see "Fees/Permits" above for link to website). 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. On the lower river (from the confluence with Clabber Creek downstream to the confluence with the White River), smallmouth bass daily limit is 1 and must be at least 18 inches or longer to keep.
===Swimming===
===Bird watching===
{{infobox|Ivory-billed woodpecker|The ivory-billed woodpecker (''Campephilus principalis''), long thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in Southeast Arkansas in 2004 and 2005. The bird, now listed as critically endangered, is believed to live at or near White River National Wildlife Reserve. A $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can confirm the discovery with a photo of the bird. '''WARNING:''' Shooting the bird or harming it in any other way is forbidden by law.}}  Bird watching is quite popular at Buffalo National River. The park is a biological crossroads, providing many different habitats supporting a large variety of our feathered friends. Over 200 species of birds use Buffalo National River inhabit the park for some part of the year , and many birds live here year round. Bird checklists are available at any ranger station or visitor center. Buffalo River is a biological crossroads, providing many different habitats supporting a large variety of our feathered friends. Bird watching is quite popular at Buffalo River. In December the park is host to hosts the Annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society. The event’s conception was in protest of a traditional event called a "side hunt", where hunters would choose teams and compete to see who could shoot the most birds and animals. On December 25, 1900, small groups of individuals began counting instead of shooting the wildlife. It is now the longest running ornithological database in the world, providing valuable insight into the past and present status of resident and migratory birds and the general health of the environment. If you are interested in participating, contact park headquarters or Buffalo Point Ranger Station for more information.
===Horseback riding===
==Eat==
*'''Buffalo Point Concession'''(see "Sleep" below), located at Buffalo Point, has a restaurant that is open in the summer season. *There are plenty of restaurants in Harrison and other nearby towns.
==Drink==
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 50 100 feet of the river'''.
==Sleep==
 
*<sleep name="Buffalo River Motel" alt="" address="14048 N Hwy 65" directions="3 miles north of the river on Highway 65" phone="870-439-2995" url="buffalorivermotel.com" checkin="3pm" checkout="11am" price="seasonal" lat="" long="">The closest hotel to the river along Hwy 65.</sleep>
===Lodging===
*'''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, (5) rustic and (8) modern cabins are available for rental. These cabins are very popular and may be reserved 15 months in advance. For more information and reservations, contact Buffalo Point Concession, 2261 Hwy. 268 E, [[Yellville]], AR, 72687, or call (870) 449-6206. Room for extra people ($5 per person over 2), limit 6, Winter Rates (December - February, modern only) $58, Summer Rates (March - November) $81 rustic, $76 modern.* On the middle Buffalo, you can stay at '''Mt. Hersey Cabin'''. Located just three miles from the Buffalo National River, it is ideal for a family who wants to hunt, fish, canoe, go caving or just get away for a while. For more information call (870) 429-6425 or visit http://www.mtherseycabin.com.
===Camping===
*Due to sequestration budgets cuts to the National Park Service much of the information below has changed and will undergo further modifications in the 2014 Budget Year. Visit http://www.nps.gov/buff/parknews/upload/2014-Ops-Plan.pdf for a list of campground closures. 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 (all year) and Buffalo Point (Mar 15-Nov 15) offer restrooms, showers, and trailer dump stations; camping fees are charged at both locations from April through OctoberMar 15-Nov 15. Buffalo Point has water and electrical hookups. Buffalo Point Campground fills most weekend evenings from Memorial Day to mid-August. The steep roads to Steel Creek and Kyles Landing and winding roads to Mt. Hersey are not recommended for large trailers, buses, or motorhomes.*'''Buffalo Point'''. Modern campground with eighty-three drive in campsites and twenty walk in campsites. Three drive in campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water available year round in B LOOP; showers, flush toilets, water and electric hookups, and a dump station are available AprilMar 15-OctoberNov 15. Camping and pavilion fees required AprilMar 15- OctoberNov 15. Drive in sites: $17 - Day , Walk in sites: $10 12 - Day, Pavilion: $50 - Day*'''Carver''', Semi-developed campground with eight campsites, available first-come/first-serve. Picnic tables and vault toilets available. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. $10 - Day *'''Erbie''', Modern campground with fourteen drive-in campsites, sixteen walk in campsites, and ten group sites available first-come/first-serve. One drive in and one walk in campsite are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water, and flush and vault toilets available. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. $10 - Day *'''Kyles Landing''',Modern campground with thirty-three campsites, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water, and flush toilets available during April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. $10 - Day *'''Lost Valley''', Modern campground with fifteen campsites, available first-come/first-serve. Two campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, drinking water, and flush toilets available April - October. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. $10 - Day
*'''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 April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. Camping and pavilion fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. Camping: $10 - Day, Pavilion: $25 - Day *'''Rush''', Semi-developed campground with twelve campsites, available first-come/first-serve. No campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Drinking water, fire grates, and vault toilets available. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. $10 - Day
*'''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 (April Mar 15- October Nov 15 only), and vault toilets available. Camping fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. Additional horse campground with fourteen sites available. Fees charged. $10 - Day*'''Tyler Bend''', Modern campground with twenty eight drive in campsites and ten walk in campsites, available first-come/first-serve. Five group sites (for tent camping groups of ten to twenty-five) are available by reservation. One drive in, one walk in, and one group campsites are accessible for disabled persons. Picnic tables, fire grates, and drinking water available year round; showers, flush toilets, and dump station available April - October. No water and electricy at the campsite. Picnic pavilion available by reservation. Camping and pavilion fees required April Mar 15- OctoberNov 15. Camping: $10 12 - Day, Pavilion: $50 - Day
*'''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.
 
'''Primitive Camping on Gravel Bars''' Primitive camping with campfires is allowed along the river on the numerous gravel bars. This is a popular option for both locals and those floating a portion of the river. The gravel bars have no developed facilities, but also have few or no snakes, insects or poison ivy.
==Stay safe==
*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; light . Light colored clothes make it easier to spot and remove the crittersinsects.
*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.
*Prevent wildfires by exercising caution when building or extinguishing campfires. If possible, use a portable gas stove instead of starting a fire.
==Get out==
*'''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 (Arkansas)|Mountain View]] is home to the Ozark Folk Center and Blanchard Springs Caverns.*In Marshall, drop by the '''Kenda Drive-In''', [http://kendadrivein.com/] one of only three surviving drive-in movie theatres in Arkansas.
{{usabletopicguidepark}}{{isInisPartOf|Ozarks}}{{isInisPartOf|Ozarks_Ozarks (Arkansas)}}
{{related|United_States_National_Parks}}
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