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Rivers aren't what they used to be!

Updated on February 2, 2015

Rivers used to be for transportation and commerce; now, rivers are for recreation and flood control

For the first few hundred years of European exploration of what has become the contiguous 48 states of the United States, even through much of the 1800s, rivers were primarily a source of transportation. People traveled by river. Trails followed rivers. Settlement locations were often determined in relation to the rivers.

I will be looking at some examples to share with you. I will mostly use examples here from the heartland, but the same situations occurred in other places. Specifically, this lens will share rivers of the Ozarks region of Arkansas and Missouri.

Photo is of the White River near Flippin, Arkansas; Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The White River in Arkansas and Missouri
The White River in Arkansas and Missouri

White River in Arkansas and Missouri

The most extensive river in the Ozarks region

Several of the other river systems we will share in this lens empty into the White River. Once a major interior Ozarks transportation artery, there are now five major dams on the river for flood control purposes which have also created tremendous recreational opportunities.

The White River headwaters are in the Boston Mountains and the river goes north into Missouri before in curves back east and south to empty into the Mississippi River near Batesville, Arkansas.

The map image is a Wikimedia Commons contribution from the White River (Arkansas) wikipedia section

The Buffalo National River in Arkansas
The Buffalo National River in Arkansas

Buffalo National River

It empties into the White River

The Buffalo National River is noted for its steep ascents and several falls in the upper reaches before flattening out near the end.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons; from wikipedia site.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

The Current River and the Jack Forks River are the basis for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. They are two of the best float rivers in the nation, located in southern Missouri, and fed by large springs. The park also includes many caves. About 1.5 million people visit the Riverways in the Missouri Ozarks each year.

Floating on the Current River
Floating on the Current River

Floating on the Current River

Part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways experience

The headwaters of the Current River are in Montauk River State Park in southern Missouri. The river is fed by some of the largest springs in the region.

Rivers Poll

Buffalo River, Pruitt Landing
Buffalo River, Pruitt Landing

Which of the rivers mentioned above might you most likely want to visit and why?

See results

Your Comments are appreciated on my Rivers lens

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    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      I never thought about it, but you are absolutely right. The use of rivers has changed greatly!

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 3 years ago

      I don't get too far from my Willamette River in Oregon. I love it. I did enjoy this little trip though. The Rivers are beautiful.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Big river I'm most familiar with is the Colorado River. I've seen some other good ones, such as the Green River and the Platte River.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Jo-Jackson: Yes, for sure! ;-)

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 5 years ago

      It is interesting how we use rivers differently now than in the past.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @alternative-help: It is a great float river. Thanks for stopping my and leaving a comment! ;-)

    • alternative-help profile image

      alternative-help 5 years ago

      I always thought I would like to live on a river. So calm and peaceful. Your picture of the Current River looks just like what I imagine

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Diana Wenzel: I totally agree... thanks for the support! ;-)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Rivers have always intrigued me. At the current time, I live nearest to the Rio Grande. I've also experienced the Colorado river recently. There is so much fascinating history associated with rivers. This is a superb topic for a series of web pages/articles/lenses. Looking forward to learning more. Appreciated!

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Great lens. I really enjoyed reading about these different rivers.

      TonyB

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
      Author

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @lclchors: Great! I love it when a lens invokes pleasant memories! ;-)

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      nice I love riding in that area it is beautifuo

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @MarcStorm LM: Thanks for stopping by. The 'end of Henry Hudson' story is amazing, for sure...

      Rivers fascinate me, as you can tell. I think we have some common interests! ;-)

    • MarcStorm LM profile image

      MarcStorm LM 5 years ago

      I'm always fascinated by the history of rivers. I live by the Hudson River here in New York. named after Henry Hudson. The one piece of history, of him that I remember hearing about is how his crew men did a mutiny and left him stranded and were never heard from again. Much like the famed Alcatraz escapees, you wonder what became of them. Good, quick, concise article!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @BikePro: Thanks for your comment. I agree. Rivers are so fascinating. They need to be preserved and kept running clean. ;-)

    • BikePro profile image

      Graeme 5 years ago

      Our local big river, the Fraser River, is bursting its banks right now! Amazing to see the power they have even today. Great article!