You Are Responsible For Your Own Safety!
Travel in Buffalo National River backcountry areas and floating the river have inherent risks. Hikers and floaters assume complete responsibility for their own safety. Remember that cell phone service is bad to non-existent in most areas of the park.
Rescue is not a certainty. Your safety depends on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention. Proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it are essential for a safe trip. The park is not responsible for monitoring your whereabouts. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Keep your group together, especially children.
Buffalo National River encompasses over 94,000 acres including a variety of natural hazards. Be aware of your surroundings and the plants and animals near you. If you have an accident, it will take time for help to reach you.
THUNDERSTORM: What Happens if You Get Caught on the River?
The weather is warm, not a cloud in the sky, and suddenly things change. You're gliding down the Buffalo, high bluff on one side and dense forest on the other… and suddenly….
Thunderstorm events can cause rapid short term changes that need to be taken seriously. Awareness of the likelihood of a storm will help you make a decision about whether to go or not to go, or at least how far away from the river to set up camp and pull your boats. These storms are sudden and can happen far away from where their affects are eventually felt. For example, a major storm in the Upper Buffalo can cause serious problems in the Middle and Lower Districts without you ever hearing a clap of thunder or even seeing a cloud!
Any emergencies or unsafe conditions should be reported to the park's 24-hour dispatch at (888) 692-1162.