Overdevelopment and Motorized Intrusion
What Does This Impact?
The escalating number of roads to the river has impaired the riverbank in many places and causes increased siltation in the river waters.
When the Riverways was established key access areas were planned approximately 15-20 miles apart. In 1981 these principal service areas numbered 14 within the national park plus a number of private drives to reach cabins and homes. Over the next 25 years motorized access to the river has proliferated up and down the rivers; there are now at least 130 points where motorized vehicles reach the river, drive along and even across the riverbanks and major gravel bars. This explosion of motorized access has downgraded the user experience and seriously damaged resources. It is virtually impossible to find a secure refuge from motorized vehicles anywhere in this park.
Roads are a great threat to streams because of sediment loading. Heavily used gravel roads contribute 100 times more sediment than paved or abandoned roads (Reid and Dunne 1984). Dirt and gravel roads within the Ozarks in general are the largest source of sediments to streams, outweighing the combined impacts of pasture erosion, logging, and natural erosion (USDA 1986).
Water Resource Foundation Report, Ozark National Scenic Riverways 2007
Using 2007 aerial photos and ground checking, the Friends of Ozark Riverways
have documented at least 131 motorized vehicular river-access points.
Carter Riley Field
Years of unauthorized vehicular access across the national park at Carter Riley Field (three miles above Akers Ferry) has left severe impairment in numerous locations. There are now so many roads criss-crossing this field that it may be the most damaged piece of parkland at Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
At the time of purchase this privately-owned farm had been respectfully cared for by its owner. Since then, under NPS ownership, it has been degraded and abused.
A very egregious violation occurred in the fall of 2007 at a location known as Flying W (three miles below Cedar Grove) when Shannon County road equipment illegally plowed across park land to the river. Several times since then county road crews have returned to grade and gravel this illegal road. There has been no sign of any effort to protect the park property, the river corridor, or the national public values.
The Park Service must dramatically reduce the number of motorized access points, at least by one half. The Park Service must also act immediately to energetically enforce existing laws prohibiting illegal vehicle trespass.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 15:08