This week’s National Park Getaway comes ranger-recommended by a 10-year veteran of the National Park Service who sees Missouri National Recreational River as one of America’s greatest waterways.
Missouri National Recreational River protects 98 miles of relatively natural, free-flowing river in South Dakota and Nebraska and portions of two tributaries – 20 miles of the lower Niobrara River and eight miles of Verdigre Creek. The two sections of the mighty Missouri that Congress designated as Wild and Scenic flow fast and wide through sandstone and chalk bluffs where willows and cottonwoods, black oak and walnut trees flourish. Wildlife is abundant. Bald eagles, piping plovers and least terns are among those often seen along this significant flyway for migratory birds.
Visitors can find outstanding conditions for paddling, hiking, camping and fishing. In summer, ranger programs focus on the natural world, recreational opportunities and the historical connections of Plains Indian tribes, Lewis and Clark and steamboat captains such as Grant Marsh.
Paddlers can float downstream along the Wild and Scenic River portions of the “Big Muddy” starting from the Fort Randall or Gavins Point dams. Start your journey by reading this week’s National Park Getaway article at www.nps.gov/getaways.