By now you’re probably noticed that this issue of the River Hills Traveler is a little bigger than most. It’s actually double the size of our average issue.

That’s because it includes our 7th Annual Ozarks Float Trippin’ & Camping section, and I couldn’t be more proud. If you’re planning to float in Missouri, or take the family camping, this is a must-read main good

In it you will find:

• Safety tips and instructions for first time and experienced floaters.

• A mile-by-mile breakdown of Missouri’s most popular rivers and creeks.

• Cabins, campgrounds and places to stay overnight.

• A thorough listing of Missouri’s best outfitters for canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing and floating in general.

• How to build a fire from scratch, and how to pitch a tent without poles.

• Campfire recipes and places to eat.

• And a whole bunch more!

Ozarks Float Trippin’ is published inside the Traveler each June and we’re also distributing several thousand free copies throughout the state at convenience stores, travel and visitor centers, rest stops, national and state parks, campgrounds and resorts, outfitters, hatcheries, outdoor shows and events, as well as chambers of commerce.

Jimmy Sexton

Jimmy Sexton

It’s a great resource and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together. If you have any story ideas for next year’s Float Trippin’ issue, please let me know.

And, oh yeah. We couldn’t fit all of the stories we worked on in this section, so we will be publishing them over the next two to three months in the regular Traveler. Be on the lookout for them.

Now, on to other news that might interest you.


The MDC is now offering its monthly magazine, Missouri Conservationist, through a new free app for Apple and Android mobile devices. Read about research and other happenings with fish, forest, and wildlife in Missouri. Get info on conservation news and events, in-depth articles, and ways to discover nature.

Once downloaded, the app will offer current issues of the magazine to save and read. Get more information and download the new MO CON MAG app at

I remember reading this magazine as a youth at my grandma’s house. Loved it so much, we even took it camping with us to Wayside Campground in Noel, Mo., where my grandparents permanently camped every summer. I would read it over and over until a new one arrived. Then I’d do it all over again.

I still read the magazine and am excited to see what it looks like on my phone or iPad.


The National Park Service is preparing to replace failing utilities and infrastructure in the Big Spring District at Ozark National Scenic Riverways (the park). Their plan would design and replace and/or upgrade existing electrical lines and sewer lines and systems to industry standards.

To ensure visitor safety, Big Spring Lodge and Cabins could be closed to visitors for an extended period of time during construction. It’s not known how long they would be closed right now, however, partial use of the facilities would be made available as much as possible.

The project is located in the Big Spring District, which is considered a historic landscape and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The district includes 16 concessions buildings, 15 rental cabins, and one dining lodge — all constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1934–1937. The park also includes a world-class spring system, 134 miles of clear spring-fed streams, and hundreds of caves.

The Big Spring District’s aging utilities and infrastructure are increasingly prone to significant and costly failures, including downed electric lines, sewer line blockages, and failing septic tanks. Numerous repairs have been made to address these failures, but repairs in summer months affect visitors, and the park loses revenue when buildings are closed for repairs.

Degraded wastewater pipes and deteriorated electrical lines threaten visitor health and the fragile, pristine spring branch located in the Big Spring District.


This year marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of Wappapello Reservoir and Dam, and there’s a full slate of activities throughout the year to celebrate Wappapello Lake’s rich community and history.

Everyone is invited to participate in these events. The festivities will take place in and around the lake area and offer something for the entire family.

• June 18 — 75th Year Celebration Day (Gate House and Redman Creek Recreation Area).

• June 25 — Lawn mower races (below the dam).

• July 1 — Movie at the lake (Spillway Recreation Area).

• July 2 — Fireworks.

• July 3 — Ranger Willie’s Wet’N Wild Waterfest (Redman Creek Beach).

• Sept. 2-5 — Annual Labor Day 25-Mile Yard Sale (visitor center grounds and Highway T and D).

• Sept. 10 — Wappapello outdoor opportunities for disabled sportsmen (Redman Creek Recreation Area).

• Sept. 17-18 — Old Greenville Days.

• Nov. 25-Dec. 25 — Festival of Lights (Redman Creek Campground East).

By Jimmy Sexton

(Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or