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Scrapbook: Walkin' the Walk on the Jacks Fork

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

June 20, 2012

Walkin' the Walk on the Jacks Fork


Earlier this month, Missouri Water Sentinel Angel Kruzen, above at right, coordinated the 14th annual cleanup of the Jacks Fork River in the Missouri Ozarks. That's longtime Jacks Fork defender and Scenic River Stream Team Association president Ted Haviland, speaking.

Working with the Missouri Stream Team program and more than two dozen Ozark partner groups, businesses, and supporters, some 146 volunteers—including 26 kids—collected more than a ton of trash along 25 miles of river by canoe, kayak, and on foot. Hundreds of pounds of recovered trash were recycled.

Jacks Fork cleanup

"I'm blessed to have a group of volunteers who worked with me doing hauling, set-up, and pretty much anything I asked," says Angel.


No one was paid a dime, but the Missouri Stream Team fed everyone a BBQ dinner and raffled off a brand new canoe (for free) after the cleanup. The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals baseball teams also donated half a dozen tickets, and the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs football teams donated a signed hat and a signed photo of their quarterback, respectively. "Not bad!" Angel says.


"For the locals, it was just another day of service to show some love to this river that they cherish," says Water Sentinels national director Scott Dye, himself a Missourian. Below, high bluffs along a wild stretch of the Jacks Fork.


The Jacks Fork and Current Rivers were given national park status in 1964 as the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The Eleven Point River, just to the south, was included in the original proposal but instead received separate protection as a National Wild and Scenic River in 1968.

The spring-fed Jacks Fork, the most primitive and undeveloped river in the region due to difficulty of access, is the major tributary of the Current. It was popularized in song when folk singer Greg Brown mentioned the Jacks Fork in the song "Walkin' Daddy" on his 2000 album, Covenant.

    I'm walkin' daddy where the Jack's Fork River bends
    Down in Missouri where the Jack's Fork River bends
    With you and ma and my sister and all my dear friends

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways receive some 1.3 million visitors each year for canoeing, horseback riding, hunting, hiking, fishing, and camping. The park contains numerous caves and the United States' largest concentration of "first magnitude" springs, including Big Spring, below, one of the largest in the world. Its enormous volume of 400 cubic feet per second makes it the second-largest tributary of the Current River.


Learn more about the Sierra Club Water Sentinels, and how you can get involved.


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