Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Buffalo National River Expedition

The well-equipped Tyler Bend Pavilion (top photo) was the location where dozens of volunteers, representing various area service organizations, gathered to participate in the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11( ) After opening remarks remembering all those who died on September 11, 2001, the groups received their safety instructions and equipment they would need to do a trash pick-up in, and along, the Buffalo National River. The group I was with---the North Central Chapter of the Arkansas Master Naturalists---is shown in the bottom photograph. Our mission was to cover the stretch of river between Tyler Bend and Gilbert, Arkansas.

One of the factors making this volunteer effort possible, was the donation of the use of all the canoes, life jackets, and paddles by the nearby river concession-operator, known as Silverhill Canoe ( ) It was a VERY generous gesture on their part, and greatly appreciated.

The Buffalo National River is famous for the tall and colorful limestone bluffs that border this very scenic float.

In this photo, one of our members is telling us about the "fern fall" that is growing out of the moist cracks in the bluff above her head.

Unless they are covered up by high water, several of the limestone bluffs have overhangs above the river, forming shallow "caves", as shown in the top photo of this collage. The paddler in the bottom photo is using the overhang to get a bit of shade from an otherwise, bright sunny day.

In this collage, the top photo shows some of our members pointing out the location of some fossils they learned about from a "geology float" they had taken earlier in the year. The bottom photo shows the foot-long nautiloid fossils easily visible on the bluffs there. These ancient organisms had long, cone-shaped, segmented shells and wavy tentacles. To see more photos from the geology float, go to, and click on "Geology float".

After seeing the incredibly beautiful scenery of the Buffalo National River on this day, I was thankful to be part of a group that is working to keep it clean. Since the GLAD Bag Company donated the trash pickup sacks, it seems appropriate to say that the floating and fellowship certainly made us paddlers GLAD---similar to what is described in Psalm 46:4 that says "There is a river whose streams make GLAD the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells." If YOU would like to "get GLAD" as well, try becoming a volunteer in God's great outdoors!! Miles of smiles! Tricia

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