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Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814
EMINENCE, MO: Ozark National Scenic Riverways and Missouri State Parks will be hosting a Winter Paddling Clinic and First Day Float on December 31 and January 1. The Winter Paddling Clinic will be held at Echo Bluff State Park in conjunction with their New Year’s Eve Celebration. On January 1 paddlers will celebrate the New Year with a float on the Current or Jacks Fork Rivers, and then gather at Current River State Park in the afternoon for a bonfire and warm beverages.
Millions of floaters enjoy Missouri rivers each year from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Experienced paddlers continue to visit our rivers in September and October, but paddling activity can continue during the winter months with the right equipment and a few simple precautions. Winter paddling offers several advantages, including the opportunity to experience solitude on the river and the ability to more easily view wildlife and other river features often blocked by heavy vegetation during the summer.
Schedule of Activities
Saturday, December 31
Winter Paddle Clinic
5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Dinner at the Lodge (reservations suggested)
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Paddling Clinic Sessions
9:30 p.m. to Midnight - Echo Bluff New Year’s Eve Celebration (reservations suggested)
Paddling Clinic Sessions are free and open to the public, with no reservation needed. Participants who would like to make reservations for dinner or reserve a spot at the Echo Bluff New Year’s Eve Celebration should contact Guest Services at (844)322-3246.
Clinic Presenters and Topics
- Myles Arbeeny is a certified instructor for the American Canoe Association (ACA) and store manager for the Alpine Shop in the St. Louis metro area. His presentation will focus on winter paddling gear.
- Jennifer Hahn is an ACA-certified instructor. She will discuss ACA skill classes, essential kayaking paddle strokes, and basic maneuvers.
- Marty Koch is a former St. Louis County Park Ranger and a professional photographer specializing in river and nature photography. His work will be on display and he will participate in a panel discussion.
- Dave Tobey is the District Interpretive Ranger for the Upper Current River section of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Dave is a certified ACA Kayak Instructor and he will discuss programs and opportunities for paddlers on the Upper Current River.
- Connie Weber is the Park Naturalist at Echo Bluff State Park and a certified ACA Canoe Instructor. She will be available to discuss programming geared toward paddlers at Echo Bluff State Park and Current River State Park.
- Kathie Brennan is the Construction and Maintenance Coordinator for the Ozark Trail Association. Kathie will be on hand to discuss the construction of the Round Spring Section of the Ozark Trail and the unique paddling and hiking opportunities this new trail will offer to visitors.
- Josh Chilton is the District Interpretive Ranger for the Jacks Fork District of Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Josh is an ACA-certified Kayak Instructor. He will discuss paddling opportunities on the Jacks Fork River.
Sunday, January 1
First Day Float: Experienced paddlers are welcome to float any section of the Current or Jacks Fork River. Less experienced paddlers are encouraged to float the Current River between Pulltite and Round Spring. An instructional float will be conducted from Current River State Park to Round Spring, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Reservations for this free activity can be made by contacting Ranger Dave Tobey at (573)323-8093. Instructors for the guided float are ACA-certified. Current River State Park will provide a bonfire complete with warm beverages for paddlers and hikers throughout the day. A First Day Hike will also be offered at Echo Bluff State Park at 1:30 p.m.
Echo Bluff State Park is located 14 miles north of Eminence on State Highway 19. Current River State Park is located approximately 1 mile north of Echo Bluff State Park.
For information on Ozark National Scenic Riverways, visit the park Facebook page, the park website at www.nps.gov/ozar or phone (573)323-4236. Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nati