Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent's Compendium

A clear blue stream with a dark rock bluff lining the river. Green vegetation is lining the bluff over the river.

NPS Photo

Superintendent's Compendium
Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Of Designations, Closures, Permit Requirements and Other Restrictions Imposed Under Discretionary Authority.



  1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described
The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park system, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program, and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit (and a fee schedule for the various types of permits) be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c) (1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with Title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all the areas of the National Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at: www.gpo.gov


Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

The CFR is also available on the Internet at: www.ecfr.gov.

2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop This Compendium

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under Title 54 United States Code (U.S.C.) §100101(a) (formerly 16 U.S.C. 1a-1, “Organic Act”) to “….regulate the use of the National Park System by means and measures that conform to the fundamental purpose of the System units, which purpose is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in the System units and to provide for the enjoyment of the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wild life in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” In addition, Title 54 U.S.C. §100751(a) allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to “prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or proper for the use and management of System units.”

In 1970, Congress amended the NPS Organic Act to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Through the General Authorities Act of 1970, Congress brought all areas administered by the NPS into one National Park System and directed the NPS to manage all areas under its administration consistent with the Organic Act of 1916.

In 1978, Congress amended the General Authorities Act of 1970 and reasserted System-wide the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress further reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various areas of the National Park System, as defined by Section 1 of this Title, shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by Section 1 of this Title, to the common benefit of all people of the United States.”

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006) at https://npspolicy.nps.gov/index.cfm. The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience. The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another. The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, then that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of this Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:
    • Is there use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?
    • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?
    • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources other protected values?
    • Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?
    • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?
    • Will the use or activity compromise public or employee safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

6. Enforcement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any courtproceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Ozark National Scenic Riverways
P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, Missouri 63965

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document and remains in effect until revised.

10. Additional Information
Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4Definitions.

11. Availability
Copies of the Compendium are available at 404 Watercress Drive, Van Buren, Missouri. It is available electronically at: https://www.nps.gov/ozar/learn/management/ozark-national-scenic- riverways-superintendent-s-compendium.htm


In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR). Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.

Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.



(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:
  • ONSR Administrative Office - located at 404 Watercress Drive in Van Buren, Missouri. This facility is open Monday thru Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the year, except Federal holidays.
  • Alley Spring Mill – open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through Halloween, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or as posted.
  • Alley General Store – open seven days a week from Memorial Day weekend through Halloween, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or as posted.
  • Big Springs Entrance Station – open seven days a week from Memorial Day through September 30th, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or as posted.
  • Developed Campgrounds – all developed, backcountry and primitive campgrounds are open all year, unless otherwise posted. Traffic through campgrounds is restricted to campers only between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Determination: These operation periods are set to balance the needs of public access, visitor safety and protection of property.

Public Use Limits:
  • Rivers are closed to floating under certain conditions.
    • The Current and Jacks Fork rivers are closed to non-motorized vessels during times of flooding when the water level exceeds two feet above the “average levels”, and/or other times deemed unsafe by the District Ranger. Three exceptions are at Baptist access which closes with a one-foot rise, Cedargrove which closes when the water runs over the bridge curb and the Highway 17 Bridge which closes with a one and one-quarter foot rise. “Average levels” are based on an analysis of historical USGS data and Ranger observations. The “average levels” and closed levels are listed below. Park visitors can check current water levels by going to the park website at: www.nps.gov/ozar, and then scroll down to the middle of the page and click on “River Levels”.
Current River
Average Levels
Closed Level
Baptist Camp
2.00’ (+1.00’ rise)
runs over bridge curb
Akers Ferry
Round Spring Bridge
Two Rivers
Powder Mill Bridge
Van Buren Bridge

Jack Fork River
Average Levels
Closed Level
Highway 17 Brige
Hwy 106 Bridge at Alley Spring

Determination: Emergency river closures are established to protect the lives of park visitors and property during unsafe flooding conditions. In flood conditions, the river runs faster, carries debris, and is very treacherous. These are the minimum restrictions necessary to achieve such protection and prevent drowning.


The Round Spring Cavern is closed with the exception of guided access only

  • The Round Spring Cavern is closed to visitation other than valid scientific research approved by the Superintendent and for educational tours led by an NPS guide. Public visitation requires payment of a fee and all visitors must be accompanied by an NPS employee or approved guide. Public visitation is permitted from May 1 through Labor Day each year and is on a user fee basis. The fee is set in comparison with similar facilities and tours in Missouri and Arkansas. Educational visits by schools and educational groups must have prior reservations, be accompanied by an NPS guide, and are not charged a fee. Tours should not exceed 15 persons. Tour schedules are posted on the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/ozar/index.htm and at the Round Spring Visitor Contact Station.

Determination: Restricted public access into the Round Spring Cavern is to protect the fragile ecosystems and resources within the caves that would be lost due to unsupervised access, and to minimize negative impacts to endangered or threatened species. This restriction complies with the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988.

Commercial guided horse rides

  • Commercial guided horse rides are limited to no more than 25 horses per organized/guided ride, including guide(s), and any ride with more than 12 horses must have two guides. The total number of horses per day on organized/guided rides shall not exceed 150 per permit holder. Commercial operators are required to have a Commercial Use Authorization permit. For permit information refer to 36 CFR §1.6 of this compendium.

Determination: Limitations are in place to avoid conflicts between riders and other trail users and to protect cultural and natural resources.

  • The Sinking Creek gravel bar will be open to motor vehicle use for the sole purpose of launching boats from September 15 to March 31 of each year.
Determination: Access to the gravel bar is permitted within this timeframe to accommodate park visitors during gigging and trapping season.
  • The Cedar Bluff area will be open to park visitors as a day use area from April 1 to September 14 of each year.

Determination: Motor vehicles may operate on the established road within this timeframe to access the Cedar Bluff swimming hole during the summer season. This area is closed during the fall and winter season to prevent off road motor vehicle damage to the agriculture field.

Free Roaming Horses

  • Willfully approaching, remaining, viewing, or engaging in any other activity within 100 feet of free roaming (feral) horses is prohibited. Touching, feeding or attracting of horses is prohibited.
Determination: Approaching within 100 feet creates an unsafe condition for humans and horses. This use limit does not apply to inadvertent or casual encounters with horses in developed areas where normal foot or motor vehicle traffic is required or essential, or in other areas where there are no reasonable alternative travel routes. The prohibitions in this paragraph do not apply to park personnel or Missouri Wild Horse League member(s) acting within the scope of approved management activities set forth by the Missouri Wild Horse League agreement.

  • Any area closed by the Superintendent and identified with an official sign is prohibited to public access. This includes all park maintenance compounds, employee housing facilities, outbuildings and service roads that are only used for official business.
    • The following areas are closed to the public:
      • Big Spring Maintenance Shop – Highway 103 south of Van Buren, Missouri
      • Big Spring FIRE Cache - Peavine Road, south of Van Buren, Missouri
      • Big Spring Housing Complex – Peavine Road, south of Van Buren, Missouri
      • Shawnee Maintenance Shop – Highway 106 east of Eminence, Missouri
      • Alley Spring Maintenance Shop – Highway 106 west of Eminence, Missouri
      • Round Spring Maintenance Shop – Highway 19 north of Eminence, Missouri
      • Round Spring Housing Complex – Highway 19 north of Eminence, Missouri
      • Pulltite Maintenance Shop – Highway EE north of Eminence, Missouri
      • Akers Maintenance Shop – Highway KK north of Eminence, Missouri
Determination: Areas may be temporarily closed for a variety of reasons including site restoration, protection of endangered or threatened animal and plant species, and protection of fragile cultural and/or historic sites. Maintenance compounds and other work areas are restricted from public access to protect government property from theft and vandalism and to prevent safety issues related to the operation of heavy machinery and power equipment.Housing facilities are restricted from public access for employee safety, privacy considerations and to prevent theft and vandalism.
  • The Alley Spring firearm range is open to authorized personnel only.
Determination: The Alley Spring firearm range is designated for administrative purposes, by authorized personnel in the performance of their official duties. Per 36 CFR 2.4, the Superintendent has not designated any facilities or locations within the park for public target practicing. Discharge of a firearm or other weapon by park visitors is prohibited in order to prevent damage and vandalism to government property, and to protect wildlife and visitors from accidents and/or injuries.
  • All caves on federally owned land within the boundary of ONSR are closed with following exceptions.
    • Round Spring Cave – open for NPS led tours from May 1 through Labor Day. Tours should not exceed 15 persons.
    • Big Spring Cave – open to the public.
    • Cave Spring (Lower Current River) – open to the public to the interior shade line.
    • Jam-Up Cave – open to the public to the interior water pool.
Determination: ONSR is mandated through its enabling legislation to “preserve” caves and is directed by the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 to protect them. Closures are established to protect the fragile ecosystems and resources within the caves and to minimize negative impacts upon any endangered or threatened resource. Cave ecosystems are unique and delicately balanced, with major changes possibly occurring from relatively slight disturbances. Geologic formations in some caves are quite fragile, easily damaged by vandalism or visitor overuse. Caves may contain unsuspected hazards to visitors unfamiliar to such alien environments, and the threat of serious injury or death from falls or drowning is always present. Cave rescue may be delayed or non-existent.

The term “cave” means any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, or system of interconnected passageways which occurs beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge and which is large enough to permit an individual to enter, whether or not the entrance is naturally formed or manmade, and includes any natural pit, sinkhole, or other feature which is an extension of the entrance.

  • Historic Structures
    • The following historic structures are closed to the public for the purposes of resource protection and public safety due to their present deteriorated condition.
      • Alley Spring Cabins
      • Big Spring Fire Tower
      • Big Spring Shooting Range Barn
      • Buttin Rock School
      • Chilton Farm House
      • Cotton House
      • Klepzig Mill
      • Lesh Farm Complex
      • Maggard Cabin
      • May House
      • Macy Tract Cabin
      • Owls Bend Barn Complex
      • Owls Bend School
      • Parker School
      • Partney House
      • Partney School
      • Pulltite Cabin
      • Shockley Barn
      • Susie Nichols Cabin and Barn
      • Welch Caretaker House
Determination: Presently these historic structures are in a deteriorated condition rendering their use or occupancy a hazard to public safety and detrimental to their preservation. An historic preservation plan is underway to stabilize and restore these structures
  • Springs
    • All activities and entry (to include but not limited to fishing, wading, swimming, remote control devices and vessels) into all spring pools and spring branches on federally owned land within ONSR boundaries is prohibited, without a written permit from the Superintendent. The following exceptions are:
      • Big Spring Branch – Boating access from the Current River upstream to the boat dock at the Big Spring Lodge, on the Lower Current River.
      • Cave Spring – The vehicle crossing at Cave Spring Branch to access the Hickory Landing area, on the Lower Current River.
      • Schafer Spring – The vehicle crossing at Schafer Spring Branch to access the Suzie Nichols area, on the Upper Current River.
Determination: ONSR’s enabling legislation mandates "preservation of springs" as a main purpose of the park. Prohibiting all activities and entry into springs will minimize negative impacts upon their sensitive ecosystems. Their stable year-round temperatures and distinctive water chemistry provide a unique environment for plants and animals not commonly found in the river. Watercress and other aquatic plants play a key role in the spring ecosystem by providing organic matter used by other plants and animals and habitat for aquatic insects. Dislodging aquatic plants and trampling delicate vegetation would damage and alter this ecosystem. Significant degradation of springs would occur if only a minimal percentage of visitors entered the springs.

  • Hunting
    • Hunting and trapping is prohibited 300 yards from any developed area, which includes buildings, administrative compounds, camping areas, hiking trails and public use facilities administered by ONSR.
    • The following developed areas are closed to regular hunting and trapping:
      • Alley Spring – Highway 106 (former state park boundaries)
      • Big Spring – Highway 103 (former state park boundaries)
      • Round Spring – Highway 19 (former state park boundaries)
        • Portions of these areas may be open to hunting in coordination with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
        • It is prohibited to discharge a firearm, shoot an arrow from a bow, or shoot an arrow from a crossbow in the direction of any of the aforementioned areas.

Determination: ONSR’s enabling legislation permits hunting, trapping and fishing within the park in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. In addition, the Superintendent may designate zones where, and establish periods when, no hunting shall be permitted, for reasons of public safety, administration, or public use and enjoyment and shall issue regulations after consultation with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

  • Jumping and/or Diving into the River
    • Trees - It is prohibited to jump or dive into the Current or Jacks Fork Rivers from a tree.
    • Rope Swings - The installation or use of rope swings or other similar devices from stationary objects, such as trees, with the purpose of descending one from land to water is also prohibited.

Determination: Repetitive climbing on and jumping from trees causes damage and stress to the trees and destroys vegetation. There have been many past incidents involving visitors who have been seriously injured and/or died due to a jumping or diving accident. The compendium does not prohibit the jumping from rocks or bluffs; however, it is highly discouraged due to safety risks involved.

  • Campsite Closures
    • The Pin Oak Campground
    • The Big Spring Campground, loops 600 and 700

Determination: The April 2017 flood completely destroyed the Pin Oak Campground. Although this campground is not expected to reopen, the park is exploring other options for developing campsites in this area of the park. Loops 600 and 700 of the Big Spring Campground were also significantly damaged by the flood, including all of the restroom facilities. Due to the distance campers would have to travel to the nearest restroom, both campground loops were closed.Both campground closures are considered temporary until further notice.

  • Feral Swine Hunting

The hunting of feral swine is prohibited on all fee-owned lands of ONSR. The following persons are exempt from this closure:

  • Any federal, state, or local officer, member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of official duty.
  • Persons with an agreement, special use permit or contract from the National Park Service authorizing feral swine elimination activities on ONSR and their employees, sub-contractors, or agents are exempt from the prohibition listed above to the extent authorized by the special use permit or contract.
  • Persons possessing a valid Missouri deer or turkey hunting permit who are hunting deer or turkey in compliance with the permit.

Determination: ONSR’s enabling legislation authorizes hunting and fishing activities in accordance with applicable federal and state laws (Public Law 88-492, Section 5 (b)). Regulations pertaining to hunting are only issued after consultation with the Conservation Commission of the state of Missouri. ONSR is an active member of the Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership (the Partnership), which is comprised of several state and federal agencies along with multiple conservation stewardship land managers. The Partnership is taking a strategic incremental approach, clearing watersheds inhabited by feral swine. This closure prohibits hunting of feral swine by the public on ONSR fee-owned lands in support of the efforts aimed at eliminating feral swine in the state of Missouri. This closure will include an exception to allow hunters possessing a valid Missouri deer or turkey hunting permit, who is hunting deer or turkey in compliance with the permit, the opportunity to kill feral swine. Feral swine have caused substantial resource damage through observed rooting, wallowing, and feeding behaviors. Such activity can severely damage the appearance and integrity of cultural and historical resources as well as native species and associated habitats.

  • Managed Deer Hunts

In coordination with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the park may host managed deer hunts within the Big Spring area. The Big Spring Campground will be temporarily closed from the Friday before the hunt through Sunday. The Peavine Pavilion and all hiking trails within the Big Spring area will be closed Saturday and Sunday. The boat ramp and Big Spring will remain open during the hunts. The following dates have been selected for hunts in 2023:

  • The Youth Managed Deer Hunt will be held October 7-8, 2023.
  • The Exceptional Warrior Mobility Impaired Managed Deer Hunt will be held October 21-22, 2023.

Determination: The objective of these hunts is to help manage high deer densities on NPS lands. Individuals participating in the hunt will be carrying firearms; however, hunting is prohibited 300 yards from any open developed areas or public use facilities. To ensure public safety all Big Spring hiking trails and the Peavine Road will be closed to all park visitors. The managed hunts are published annually in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Fall Deer & Turkey booklet. In addition, the public will be notified through a press release prior to each hunt and the closure will be posted on the park’s website and Facebook page.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

  • Rock Faces and Bluffs:
    • The installation and/or use of any permanent bolt, anchor, or chipped rock hold is prohibited.
    • Technical rock climbing and rappelling is not allowed in designated state natural areas within the park. A list of those designated natural areas can be found at the Missouri Department of Conservation website at https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places/natural-areas.
    • Technical rock climbing and rappelling is prohibited on rock faces that are located above and/or adjacent to caves, spring pools, spring branches or trails. This would include bluffs in the following developed areas: Big Spring, Alley Spring and Round Spring.

Determination: These restrictions will prevent permanent resource damage to rock faces or bluffs. Technical climbing can cause rocks or debris to dislodge and fall below, which could cause injury and/or death to visitors who are below.

  • Hammocks:
    • Hammocks may not be used in developed campgrounds, unless they are self- supported. Developed campgrounds include Big Spring, Alley Spring, Round Spring, Pulltite and Two Rivers.

Determination: The use of hammocks in developed campgrounds causes damage to trees due to high frequency using the same trees and may cause encroachment upon other campsites.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

  • Boats, rafts, tubes and/or canoes
    • The practice of lashing or tying together two or more vessels or float devices while underway on the Current River and tributaries thereof and the Jacks Fork River is prohibited. Unoccupied tubes (such as innertubes with a cooler) are exempt from this restriction.

Determination: Large flotillas can block and congest narrow river passages, making it difficult for other users to avoid obstacles. Because flotillas are not maneuverable, they pose safety problems by increasing the chance of floaters becoming caught on root wads, and potentially drowning if they fall off and become trapped underneath the mass float. Flotillas of vessels are a significant hazard to visitors and resources on the river.

  • Geo-caching
    • Park visitors participating in the practice of geo-caching are restricted to using “virtual” caches only. Virtual caches consist of providing GPS coordinates to existing points of interest, such as a geologic or cultural feature, wayside exhibit, or another object. Virtual caches do not involve a physical cache. Any other form of caching is prohibited.

Determination: Virtual caching provides a significant recreational and educational value to visitors, including opportunities for a growing number of families to experience appropriate outdoor adventures in parks. Allowing this use doesn’t impact the protection of park resources.

  • Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD):
    • The use of OPDMDs within the park is restricted to people with mobility disabilities as defined in 35.104 of Title II of the Americans with Disability Act. A copy of the park’s OPDMD Policy can be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/ozar.
    • The following OPDMD devices are authorized to operate upon trails and roads within the park boundary.
      • Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD). A two-wheeled, gyroscopically stabilized, battery-powered transportation device, including, but not limited to, devices manufactured by Segway.
      • Mobility Scooters (Power chair). An electrically powered wheeled device on which a single user sits (also referred to as a power chair), for use by an individual with a mobility disability for indoor or outdoor locomotion.
      • Electric Bicycle. A bicycle or tricycle with a low powered electric motor weighing less than one hundred (100) pounds, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of twenty (20) miles per hour.
  • Authorized OPDMD Areas:
  • Class V designated hiking trails. A trail defined by United States Forest Service Trails Management Handbook (FSH 2309.18, Chapter 20) as uniform, firm and stable, with likely imported material and routine grading. Design width of 36-72”, no protrusions/obstacles, slope of 2-3%, and turning radius of 6-8’. The Alley Spring and Big Spring (hardened sections) are examples of Class V hiking trails.
  • Park owned roadways that are closed to motor vehicle traffic but are open for pedestrian use. This would exclude roads and trails within the proposed Big Spring Wilderness Area as all mechanical devices are prohibited.
  • Park owned roadways.
  • Campgrounds and trails/paths open to pedestrian use within these areas.
  • Sidewalks, parking lots and routes of travel designated for pedestrian use within developed public use areas.
  • OPDMD Use Guidelines:
    • The use of an OPDMD is limited to the person(s) providing credible assurance of disability. Non-disabled passengers are prohibited from riding on OPDMDs.
    • A person operating an OPDMD will do so in a safe and responsible manner: maximum speed will not exceed more than 5 miles per hour, so as not to endanger one’s self or other park visitors.
    • A person operating an OPDMD upon a sidewalk and/or trail, while crossing a roadway or on any other surface shall have the same rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian. Operators shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and/or motor vehicles to avoid collisions.
    • Trails/paths open to pedestrian use may have changed slopes, grades, surface conditions and widths that hinder OPDMD operation. The operator should exercise caution and understand that they assume all risks and liability operating in such areas.

OPDMD - Any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines, whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities, that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion. Wheelchairs are not considered OPDMDs.

Determination: The use of OPDMDs allows persons with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy recreational activities in the park. Types of OPDMDs and areas of authorized use were carefully chosen to ensure that OPDMD operation does not affect public safety, impact natural and cultural resources or alter the experiences and/or activities of other park visitors.

  • E-bikes
    • E-bikes are allowed in ONSR where traditional bicycles are allowed which includes, park roads, parking areas, and administrative roads and trails. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.
    • A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(h)(2)-(5).
    • Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within ONSR is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.
    • When used by persons with disabilities the park considers e-bikes to be a “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices” (OPDMDs). Individuals with disabilities may request a reasonable modification to policies to use an e-bike in areas that are not designated for e-bike use. A copy of the park’s OPDMD Policy can be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/ozar.

E-bike - Per 36 CFR section 1.4, the term E-bike means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 HP) and meets one of the following three classes:

  • Class 1: Has a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 2: Has a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle and that is unable to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 3: Has a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 28 mph.

Determination: This change addresses this emerging form of recreation so that the National Park Service can exercise clear management authority over the use of e-bikes within the National Park System. A full version of the regulation pertaining to e-bikes can be found at 36 CFR 4.30(i).

  • E-cigarettes
    • The use of e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) is prohibited in any park owned or leased building, vehicle, vessel or shared government residence.

ENDS - The term Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS encompasses all forms of vaping, the process of inhaling vaporized nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals with a battery-powered device. Electronic or e-cigarettes are a type of ENDS.

Determination: The use of ENDS is prohibited in areas where smoking is restricted by Management Policies (2006) and Director’s Order #50D (Smoking Policy). The NPS is moving forward with revising the current regulation at 36 CFR § 1.4 to include the use of ENDS in the definition of smoking. Once promulgated, section 2.21 will apply to the smoking of tobacco and the use of ENDS.

  • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft
    • Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of ONSR is prohibited except as approved in writing by the NPS Regional Director.

Unmanned aircraft - The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links.) This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Determination: The usage of unmanned aircraft within the park boundaries poses a substantial threat to visitor and wildlife safety, visitor experiences and privacy considerations. The visual and sound disturbance caused by the use of an unmanned aircraft also detracts from the natural soundscape and aesthetic setting of the park, preventing visitors from benefiting from its primary purpose. Prohibiting unmanned aircraft will avoid conflict among visitor use activities, while protecting the natural and cultural resources.

  • Filming Activities
    • Commercial Filming
      • All commercial filming requires a permit. Non-commercial filming shall be evaluated to determine the requirement for a permit.
    • Filming in Wilderness
      • In order to help preserve wilderness character, the Superintendent must require a permit for all filming activities in the Big Spring Wilderness area other than casual filming by visitors, regardless of the group size or equipment used.
Determination: The National Park Service manages and protects more than 67 million acres of park lands and waters as wilderness areas. These areas have additional laws and policies to preserve their wilderness character for future generations. Filming activities in wilderness areas must not violate provisions of the Wilderness Act. Filming activities in wilderness areas must follow all applicable laws and regulations that govern wilderness areas in the park, including prohibitions on structures, installations, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, motorized equipment, motorboats, or landing of aircrafts.
  • Still Photography Activities
  • Still photography activities require a permit ONLY if it: Involves the use of a model, set, or prop; or requires entry into a closed area. Portrait subjects such as wedding parties and graduation photos are not considered models.

Determination: The decision to require a permit rests with the park superintendent based on potential impacts to park resources or the visitor experience. For more information please visit the NPS Filming & Still Photography Permit Page, https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/commercial-film-and-photo-permits.htm.


(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the Superintendent is required:

§1.5(d) The following activities relate to Public Use Limits:

  • Activities within all spring pools and spring branches, with the exception of boating access to lower portion of the Big Spring Branch up to the Big Spring Lodge, the Cave Spring Branch vehicle crossing near Hickory Landing and the Schafer Spring Branch vehicle crossing near Parker Ford.
  • Any activity having the tendency to affect normal park operations, impact the quality visitor experience, or impair normal park use such as, but not limited to, organized events involving more than 25 persons, road races, vehicle rallies, etc.
  • Entering a closed area

The Superintendent may issue written permits for entering closed areas. Exceptions include but are not limited to applicants engaging in a scientific or educational purpose.

§2.5(a) Specimen collection (the taking of plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)

§2.10(a) Camping in a non-designated area

§2.23(b) The following special recreation activities (per 36 CFR Part 71):

  • Entry into Round Spring Cavern. Individuals entering the cave must abide by the permit conditions.

§2.50(a) Conducting a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and/or similar events

§2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, religious activities, and other public expressions of views protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment (First Amendment activities).

    • Written applications for permits must be submitted to the Superintendent within a reasonable time frame prior to the date desired for the event; processing usually requires ten business days. The activity may not conflict with any scheduled NPS function or program.
    • A small group of 25 people or less (36 CFR 2.51(b)) in most cases is not required to obtain a First Amendment Permit if they are located within a park designated First Amendment site(s) and have no more than leaflets, booklets and/or handheld signs.
    • A group of more than 25 people is required to obtain a First Amendment Permit even if they are utilizing a park designated First Amendment site.
    • The following areas have been designated as available for public demonstrations or assemblies: The Burr Oak picnic area at Alley Spring, the CCC exhibit area near the Big Spring Lodge, and the Round Spring Cave parking lot (maps attached).

§2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising

§2.60(b) Livestock use

§2.61(a) Residing on federal lands

§2.62 Memorialization:

  • Erection of monuments (requires approval from Regional Director)
  • Scattering ashes from human cremation

§5.1 Advertisements – Display, posting, or distribution

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (Requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to a special regulation).

§5.5 Filming/Photography:

  • (a) Filming activities – such as a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project.
  • Outdoor filming activities involving more than five persons and/or equipment that cannot be carried at all times. The organizer of any other type of filming activity must provide written notice to the Superintendent at least 10 days prior to the start of the proposed activity.
  • All filming activities in the Big Spring Wilderness area other than casual filming by visitors, regardless of the group size or equipment used.
  • (b) Still photography activities require a permit ONLY if it: Involves the use of a model, set, or prop; or requires entry into a closed area. Portrait subjects such as wedding parties and graduation photos are not considered models.

§5.7 Construction of buildings, facilities, trails, roads, boat docks, path, structure, etc.

Part 7 Special Regulations

  • Scuba Diving, § 7.83 (b)
The Superintendent may issue written permits for scuba diving in springs provided the permit applicant is engaged in a scientific or educational investigation (Refer to page 26, 7.83 (b) for the full regulation).

Permit Information:

Special regulations, restrictions and fees may apply when applying for a permit.

Information regarding permit is available at park headquarters during normal business hours at (573) 323-4236, or can be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/ozar, under Permits and Reservations. Written requests can be mailed to the following address:

Ozark National Scenic Riverways
P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, Missouri 63965.

Permits may be denied/terminated based on 36 CFR.6(a), (d), (e), (g)(1), (g)(2), (h)

Federal law and agency policy require that certain activities that fall outside the scope of normal visitation be managed through the issuance of a permit. Permits may only be issued if the activity is in keeping with the purpose of the park and will not result in damage to the resource or conflict with other park users.



(a)(4) Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park in the following areas:

  • Park wide, with the exception of any privately-owned property within the boundary.
  • Firewood must be used in the park where it is collected.

(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts and berries may be possessed by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:

  • apples (1 bushel)
  • blackberries (4 gal)
  • black cherries (4 gal)
  • deer berries (4 gal)
  • dewberries (4 gal)
  • elderberries (4 gal)
  • grapes (1 bushel)
  • hackberries (4 gal)
  • hazel nuts (1/2 bushel)
  • hickory nuts (1 bushel)
  • horse chestnuts (1 bushel)
  • mushrooms (1/2 bushel)
  • pawpaw fruit (1/2 bushel)
  • pears (1 bushel)
  • peaches (1 bushel)
  • persimmons (1/2 bushel)
  • plums (1/2 bushel)
  • prickly pear fruit (1/2 bushel)
  • raspberries (4 gal)
  • red mulberries (4 gal)
  • rose hips (4 gal)
  • serviceberries (4 gal)
  • strawberries (4 gal)
  • sumac berries (4 gal)
  • black walnuts (1 bushel)

Determination: The gathering of fruits, berries and nuts, in these small portions, will not affect park wildlife, the reproduction potential of these species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.


(b)(4) Hunting and trapping is authorized and activities shall be conducted in accordance with federal law and the laws of the state.

(d) T
he transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:

  • Lawfully taken wildlife may be transported through the park in accordance with Missouri State Wildlife Code, 3 CSR 10-4.135.
  • Any carcass must be properly tagged.

(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:

  • Park wide - In accordance with the Missouri State Wildlife Code 3 CSR 10-7.405, viewing wildlife with the aid of an artificial light, headlight, infrared light/beam or spotlight is prohibited with the exception of when using the light with the aid of dogs to tree raccoons.

36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING

  • Fishing in spring pools and spring branches is prohibited on federally owned land within the boundaries of ONSR.


(a)(2)(i) Weapons, traps or nets may only be carried, possessed or used at the following designated times and locations:

  • In accordance with Missouri state law, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable federal law. For more information about Missouri state weapon laws go to https://revisor.mo.gov/chapter 571.
  • Firearms are prohibited in facilities owned or leased by the federal government where federal employees are regularly present for performing their duties. These facilities are posted with signs informing the public that firearms are prohibited in these buildings.

(a)(2)(ii) Facilities and locations designated for target practicing:

  • The Alley Spring firearms range is designated for administrative purposes, by authorized personnel in the performance of their official duties.


(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

Camping is allowed at the designated campsites listed below:

  • Developed campsites are defined as front-country campgrounds. In addition to the basic amenities listed below, developed sites might include showers, RV dump stations, electric hook-ups, reservation systems and campground hosts. Camping fees are collected from all developed campgrounds during the peak season.
  • Back-country campsites are defined as having some basic amenities. Basic amenities include restrooms, tables, fire grills and lantern posts. Camping fees are collected from all back-country sites during the peak season.
  • Primitive campsites are defined as having few or no amenities. Camping in a non-designated primitive site requires a special use permit, subject to the approval of the Superintendent (example: hunting camps, special events, scientific research). Camping fees are not collected from primitive sites.

Developed Campsites


Type of Camp


Akers Group Sites


Upper Current



Upper Current

Round Spring


Upper Current

Alley Spring


Jacks Forks

Two Rivers



Big Spring


Lower Current

Back-country Campsites


Type of Camp




Upper Current

Dee Murray


Upper Current

Sinking Creek


Upper Current



Upper Current



Upper Current

Blue Spring


Jacks Fork

Baptizing Hole


Jacks Fork



Jacks Fork



Jacks Fork

Bay Creek


Jacks Fork

Shawnee Creek


Jacks Fork

Two Rivers (Gravel)


Middle Current

Powder Mill


Middle Current

Log Yard


Middle Current

Big Tree


Lower Current

Cedar Spring


Lower Current



Lower Current

Gooseneck (Hawes)


Lower Current

Primitive Campsites


Type of Camp




Upper Current

Big Creek


Upper Current

Welch West


Upper Current

Akers West


Upper Current



Upper Current

Lipps Hole


Upper Current

Boyds Creek


Upper Current



Upper Current



Upper Current

Bee Bluff


Upper Current

Twin Rocks


Upper Current

Sutton Creek


Upper Current

Martin Bluff


Middle Current

Martin’s Landing


Middle Current

Goose Bay


Middle Current

Ozark Trail


Current River Section

Roberts Field


Middle Current



Middle Current

Lost Man Ridge


Cave Spring area

Bluff View


Jacks Fork

Flat Rock


Jacks Fork



Jacks Fork

Old Horse Camp


Jacks Fork



Jacks Fork



Jacks Fork

Camping – General Information

  • Camping reservations can be made through www.Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444- 6777 for the following developed campgrounds: Akers (group campsites only), Pulltite, Round Spring, Alley Spring, Two Rivers (cluster campsites only), and Big Spring. All other campsites are available on a first come – first served basis.
  • Campers utilizing the first come – first served basis, must register and pay for their campsite at the self-service pay stations in each area, prior to camping.
  • Camping refunds are not issued through the park; however, refunds may be available through the reservation website at https://www.recreation.gov/
  • Camping stays are limited to 14 days in a 30-day period in the same campground, with said period to commence the date the site is occupied. All camping equipment, including vehicles, must be removed from the camping area at the end of such 14-day period.
  • Camping equipment, including vehicles, campers and trailers, must not be left unattended for longer than 24 hours.
  • Campsites are limited to a maximum of 6 people, 2 tents, or a combination of 1 tent and 1 RV/camper, and a maximum of 2 vehicles (an RV is not considered a vehicle).
  • Cluster campsites are limited to parties comprised of 7 to 20 campers per site, 6 tents or a combination of 4 tents and 2 RV/campers.
  • Group campsites are limited to parties comprised of 15 to 45 campers per site.
  • Checkout time for leaving campsites is at noon.
  • Camping inside caves or within 50 feet of the mouth of caves is prohibited.
  • Camping within 50 feet of any river access or landing is prohibited.
  • Campers may not hold or reserve campsites for friends or family members, unless the site is paid for and occupied. In addition, campers are not allowed to set-up unattended tents, campers, or RVs in a campsite with the intention of holding the site 24 hours prior to camping.

(b)(3) Camping within 25 feet of a fire hydrant or main road, or within 100 feet of a flowing stream, river or body of water is authorized only in the following areas, under the conditions noted:

  • Drive-in camping along the river is allowed in designated sites. Designated sites are listed under section 36 CFR §2.10 (a) of this compendium.
  • Gravel bar camping is allowed by visitors who float-in by motorized or non-motorized vessels, as long as the locations are approximately 300 yards away from any designated campground.
  • Ozark Trail – Camping along the Ozark Trail is authorized provided the following conditions are met.
    • Dispersed camping is allowed along the trail but must be at least 100’ from water and scenic areas.
    • Camping is not allowed on roads or in historic structures.
    • Campers must use "Leave No Trace" practices, listed at https://lnt.org/why/7- principles/.


Conditions for Picnicking:

  • Picnicking is allowed on all gravel bars, including scenic easement property, which is allowed up to 300 feet from the water’s edge.
  • The following picnic shelters can be reserved in advance: Big Spring day use (Big Spring and Peavine), Alley Spring day use (Alley Spring and Burr Oak), and Round Spring day use (Round Spring). Otherwise, if the pavilion is not reserved for the day, it is available on a first-come first-served basis. All picnic pavilion reservations are made thru www.Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
  • The following picnic shelters cannot be reserved on www.Recreation.gov, but are available on a first-come first-served basis: Big Spring area (Chubb Hollow), Round Spring area (CCC), and Pulltite area (Pulltite).

36 CFR §2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

  • Campfires are permitted at designated campsites and must be contained in the metal fire ring provided. If a fire ring does not exist utilize the “Leave No Trace” practices for a small fire.
  • Campfires are permitted on gravel bars under conditions listed in section (b).
  • Cooking fires are permitted in designated picnic areas and must be contained in the provided metal grills, or in a portable grill or stove.
  • Fires are prohibited in caves and within 50 feet of the mouth of caves.
  • Fires are prohibited within 50 feet of designated river accesses/landings, except during gigging season.
  • Fires are allowed along the Ozark Trail using the “Leave No Trace” practices to minimize impacts.
Established Conditions for Fires:
  • The burning of tires, metal, aluminum, plastic, glass or any other type of hazardous material is prohibited.
  • During periods of elevated fire danger, open fires will be restricted or prohibited in accordance with the park’s Fire Management Plan. The park will also coordinate fire restrictions with appropriate federal, state and local fire agencies. Notice of any fire restriction will be posted at all visitor contact stations, landings, and other major public use facilities.
  • To help minimize the introduction of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and other non-native insect pests into the park, firewood should be obtained locally or collected from dead and down wood within the park. All firewood should be burned and not left on site.
  • Moving or relocating receptacles (fire rings and grills) is prohibited.

(a)(2) The following restrictions are in effect for the use of stoves or lanterns:

  • The hanging of lanterns on trees or tree limbs is prohibited.
  • The operation of camp stoves on top of plastic-coated tables is prohibited.

(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:

  • All campfires and cook-fires will be extinguished and free of litter before any site is left unattended.
  • Burn all wood to ash and ensure fire is extinguished by soaking with water. Scatter unused wood as naturally as possible.


(b) Conditions for the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste have been established as follows:

  • Where a restroom is not available, human waste must be buried at least 6 inches underground and a minimum of 100 feet from any water body, trail or other developed facility.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

  • In all public buildings and historic structures, except for certified service animals who accompany persons with disabilities per the American Disability Act.
  • Dogs are prohibited from designated horse trails.

Determination: Per 36 CFR 2.15, dogs are not allowed to be off-leash and therefore should not be with park visitors who are riding on horses.

(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:

  • Pet excrement must be immediately collected and disposed of in the nearest trash receptacle.

(b) The use of dogs in support of hunting must be in accordance with federal and state laws and the following conditions:

  • Dogs used for hunting must be collared or tagged with the owner’s name and telephone number.
  • Dogs are only allowed off leash when actively engaged in legal hunting activities and according to State laws.

(e) Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:

  • In accordance with the Park Housing Management Plan.


(b) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed only on the following trails, routes, or areas:

  • State and County unpaved roads
  • Two Rivers Loop Horse Trail
  • Jerktail Loop Horse Trail
  • Shawnee Loop Horse Trail
  • Broadfoot Loop Horse Trail

(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:

  • Horse or mule driven wagons are permitted on unpaved County and State roads.
  • Rivers may be crossed with horses only at designated County roads or horse trail crossings. Bathing or lingering horses in the waters of the park is prohibited.
  • Tying horses directly to trees is prohibited. Cross tying to opposite trees is permitted.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, and all or portions of said buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:

  • Smoking in any park owned or leased building, vehicle, vessel or shared government residence is prohibited.
  • Smoking within 25 feet of any park owned or leased building entrance is prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the backcountry during posted fire bans.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

(a)(2) Property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours in the following areas and under the following conditions:

  • Visitors are authorized to leave vehicles unattended, in excess of 24 hours, in designated parking areas only while engaged in park activities such as overnight floating, hiking trips and camping. Property owners should contact park headquarters at (573) 323-4236 to advise the location where the motor vehicles will be left unattended and the duration of their trip. Parking is limited to seven days.
  • Park wide - In accordance with the Missouri State Wildlife Code 3 CSR §10-11.145, portable tree stands are allowed for hunting purposes from September 1 through January 31. Unattended stands must be plainly labeled on a durable material with the full name and address, or Conservation Number, of the owner and must be removed from the area before February 1. The use of nails, screw-in steps, and any material or method that would damage the tree is prohibited.
  • The use and installation of game cameras is prohibited. Park personnel may utilize game cameras for administrative purposes, in the performance of their official duties.


(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR Part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:

Daily Site Use Fee Areas:

  • Camping fee (per party per night)
- Family sites in developed areas, non-electric $20.00
- Family sites in developed areas, electric $30.00
-Group sites $65 - $140.00 (depending on site)
-Cluster sites $45.00
- Back-country sites $10.00
  • Pavilions (per day)
All $33.00

Camping fees are collected from April 15 – October 15. In the off-season, fees may be reduced or not collected due to changes in janitorial services, water lines, and the winterization of buildings. Off season rates are listed below.

-Family sites in developed areas, non-electric $10.00
-Family sites in developed areas, electric $20.00
-Back-count Group Sites $25.00
-Group sites $50.00


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:

  • Alley Mill
  • Alley Store
  • Story’s Creek School House
  • Any park owned or leased building, vehicle or vessel. This does not pertain to picnic pavilions or housing units in the park. Note that concession operations at Alley Spring, Round Springs, Pulltite and Two Rivers are currently permitted to sell alcohol in cans or plastic containers.

Determination: Park buildings are places of business and use and/or possession of alcoholic beverages is deemed inappropriate. These restrictions are necessary to protect visitors, park resources, to avoid visitor use conflicts and ensure safe and orderly operation of visitor use facilities.


(c)(2) The following locations are designated as available for demonstrations and the sale or distribution of printed matter.

These areas may be occupied by groups of 25 or fewer persons without a permit consistent with 36 CFR 2.51 and 2.52. However, there are exceptions and, even when not required, a permit is recommended in order to assure space will be available at a particular site. Detailed maps of each designated location can be found in Exhibit A of this document.

  • Alley Spring – the Burr Oak picnic area
  • Big Spring – the CCC exhibit area near the Big Spring Lodge
  • Round Spring – the Round Spring Cave parking lot


(a)(2) The following areas/sites are designated for the launching or recovery of vessels using a trailer:

  • Designated launch sites are identified through the 1989 River Use Management Plan and the 2015 General Management Plan. This list does not include launch sites on private or state lands.

Current River Launch Sites:

  • Cedar Grove
  • Akers
  • Pulltite
  • Sinking Creek (seasonal)
  • Round Springs (middle)
  • Jerktail
  • Two Rivers (gravel bar)
  • Roberts Field (Rocky Creek)
  • Log Yard
  • Big Spring (upper)
  • Hickory
  • Gooseneck (Hawes)

Jacks Fork River Launch Sites:

  • Buck Hollow
  • Blue Spring
  • Bay Creek
  • Alley Spring
  • Shawnee Creek

Launch Sites Dedicated for Motorized Vessels (only):

  • Big Spring Ramp (lower)
  • Chilton Creek Boat Ramp
  • Two Rivers Boat Ramp

Determination: Designated boat ramps are designed for backing and quick deployment of motorized vessels on trailers. Non-motorized vessel user groups (kayaks, canoes, tubes) using dedicated boat ramps have historically created significant conflicts throughout the Riverways.


The following restrictions apply to swimming or wading:

  • Swimming or wading is not permitted within 50 feet of the following designated boat ramps.
    • Big Spring
    • Chilton
    • Two Rivers
    • Round Spring (middle)
  • Swimming or wading is not permitted in spring pools or spring branches.

Determination: These restrictions are necessary to protect visitors, park resources, to avoid visitor use conflicts and ensure safe and orderly operation of visitor use facilities. ONSR’s enabling legislation mandates "preservation of springs" as a main purpose of the park. Prohibiting all activities and entry into springs will minimize negative impacts upon their sensitive ecosystems.


(a) Park roads, open for travel by a motor vehicle, are those indicated below, and/or as indicated in the following publication or document:

  • 2021 Roads & Trails Study – Copies of maps from this document are available by contacting park headquarters at (573) 323-4236.


(a) Restrictions for Motorized Vessels

(1) On waters situated within the boundaries of ONSR, the use of a motorized vessel is limited to a vessel equipped with an outboard motor only.

(2) For the purposes of this section, horsepower ratings on a particular motor will be based upon the prevailing industry standard of power output at the propeller shaft as established by the manufacturer.

(3) The use of a motorized vessel is allowed as follows:

(i) Above the Big Spring landing on the Current River and below Alley Spring on the Jacks Fork River with an outboard motor not to exceed 40 horsepower.

(ii) Above Round Spring on the Current River and above Alley Spring (at the Hwy 106 bridge) on the Jacks Fork River with an outboard motor not to exceed 25 horsepower.

(iii) Above Akers Ferry on the Current River from May 1 to September 15 with an outboard motor not to exceed 10 horsepower.

(iv) Above Bay Creek on the Jacks Fork River from March 1 to the Saturday before Memorial Day with an outboard motor not to exceed 10 horsepower.

(4) Operating a motorized vessel other than as allowed in §7.83(a) is prohibited.

(b) Scuba Diving

(1) Scuba diving is prohibited within all springs and spring branches on federally owned land within the boundaries of ONSR, without a written permit from the Superintendent.

(2) Permits. The Superintendent may issue written permits for Scuba diving in springs within the boundaries of ONSR; provided that the permit applicant will be engaged in scientific or educational investigations which will have demonstrable value to the National Park Service in its management or understanding of Riverways resources.

(c) Commercial Activities

The activities listed herein constitute commercial activities which are prohibited within the boundaries of ONSR, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States. The National Park Service reserves the right to limit the number of such permits, contracts, or other written agreements, when, in the judgment of the NPS, such limitation is necessary in the interest of visitor enjoyment, public safety, or preservation or protection of the resources or values of the Riverways.

(1) The sale or rental of any goods or equipment to a member or members of the public which is undertaken in the course of an ongoing or regular commercial enterprise
(2) The performance of any service or activity for a member or members of the public in exchange for monetary or other valuable consideration.
(3) The delivery or retrieval within the boundaries of ONSR of watercraft or associated boating equipment which has been rented or sold to a member or members of the public at a location not within the Riverways, when such delivery or retrieval is performed by a principal, employee or agent of the commercial enterprise offering the equipment for rental or sale and when these services are performed as an integral part, necessary complement, or routine adjunct of or to the rental transaction, whether or not any charge, either separately or in combination with any other charge, is made for these services.
(4) The performance, by a principal, employee, or agent of a commercial enterprise, within the boundaries of ONSR and any other service or activity for which a fee, charge or other compensation is not collected, but which is an integral part, necessary complement, or routine adjunct of or to any commercial transaction undertaken by that enterprise for which monetary or other valuable consideration is charged or collected, even though such transaction in initiated, performed, or concluded outside the boundaries of the Riverways.
(5) The solicitation of any business, employment, occupation, profession, trade, work or undertaking, which is engaged in with some continuity, regularity or permanency for any livelihood, gain, benefit, advantage, or profit.

(d) Fishing

(1) Fishing is authorized in accordance with Missouri State Wildlife Code; however, fishing is prohibited in all spring pools and spring branches that are located on federally owned land within the boundaries of ONSR.

(2) Digging for worms or other bait is prohibited on federally-owned land within the boundaries of ONSR.

(e) Frogs, Turtles and Crayfish

(1) The taking of frogs, turtles and crayfish is authorized in accordance with the Missouri State Wildlife Code.
Alley Spring

Map of the Alley Spring area with north oriented up. The map shows a campground on the south end, Jacks Fork River running west to east through the middle, a picnic area on the east and Alley Spring Mill, Spring, and Visitor Center in the northeast. Highway 106 runs in a backward S shape through the center of the map in north-south orientation. There is a designated area for public demonstrations and/or for distribution of printed matter near the restroom in the picnic area near Burr Oak Pavilion. This is accessed from HIghway 106. 
Big Spring Map

Map of the Big Spring area oriented with north to the right. The map shows a campground in the north, the Big Spring and river access in the center, dining lodge, and CCC cabins in the south, and the Current River running from the northeast to the south end of the map in an S shape. Highway 103 runs from the southwest corner of the map toward the center and branches into Highway Z going south and Peavine Road going north before running west. There is a designated area for public demonstrations and/or for distribution of printed matter near a parking area near the dining lodge. This is accessed from Highway Z near the intersection with Highway 103. 
Round Spring Map

Map of the Round Spring area with north orientation to the right. The map shows a group campground and parking lots in the north. Highway 19 runs through the center of the map in a north-south orientation. A family campground is in the south. The Current River runs from the northwest corner to southeast. A large parking lot is in the southwest corner of the map that is accessed from Highway 19. There is a designated area for public demonstrations and/or for distribution of printed matter in this parking lot.

Last updated: April 12, 2023

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


573 323-4236

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