National Organization Joined by Local Paddlers and Conservationists to Announce Ozarks Riverways among Nation’s Most Endangered Rivers
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 – 10 a.m.
440 N Kirkwood
Kirkwood, Missouri 63122
Representatives speaking include:
Ms. Kally Higgins,
Spokesperson for the Friends of Ozark Riverways – A coalition representing 21 Missouri conservation, fishing, and outdoor organizations.
Mr. J. Gordon Philpott
Board member of the national organization, American Rivers
Ms. Lisa Hollenbeck
Co-owner of Alpine Shop, representative of outdoor industry and Missouri paddlers and recreation enthusiasts
Missouri’s premier national riverway, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, is being named one of the nation’s ten most threatened riverways in American Rivers annual report released May 17, 2011.
Representatives from many statewide environmental, fishing, paddling, and conservation organizations are joining together to put the National Park Service on notice that the NPS needs to manage the pristine river and parklands with an eye to the future. There are signs that the river so loved by Missourians and millions of visitors each year may be destroyed by pollution, erosion and poor management.
Today’s announcement serves as a wake up call to the National Park Service that Missouri’s largest national park needs to step up its management and address problems in the park that have slowly been eroding the quality of the park.
“We have to do more today to avert the catastrophes of tomorrow,” says Kally Higgins, Friends of Ozarks spokesperson. “ We are seeing visible signs that the health of the Current River is in trouble. For example, we have seen in recent years signs restricting swimming in certain areas because of too high bacteria and we often see riverbanks damaged by erosion where inappropriate access points have sprung up. We want to work with the National Park Service to make sure that these problems are examined, inventoried, and given full environmental review before it prepares its general management plan.”
Next year, the park service will be releasing its 10-year General Management Plan and the conservation community has identified past decisions, policies, and practices that collectively are causing harm to the park resources.
This is the first time that the Current River and its tributaries have been named a threatened riverway on American River’s Endangered Rivers list, which began in 1985.
- The press conference will be held at Alpine Shop with a background of kayak, canoe, and paddling equipment.
- Many representatives from the 20 + organizations will be present for comment.
- A map that depicts that excessive number of access points along the 132-mile stretch of river will be available.
- A 3 minute video that depicts the riverway’s scenic beauty will also be launched on the American Rivers website and the Friends of Ozark Riverways site on the 17th and B- roll available, upon request.
- Photographs of damage to the river will also be available.
Rindy O’Brien, Coordinator
Friends of Ozark Riverways,
Kat Logan Smith, Executive Director,
Missouri Coalition for the Environment,
Lisa Hollenbeck, Co-Owner