Give Finley River a try

By Todd Wilkinson

Volunteers hard at work during a May cleanup of the Finley River, organized by James River Basin Partnership and the City of Ozark, Mo.

I learned to kayak on the Upper Current. My job frequently finds me underway on the James. 

But the Finley is my “fun” river.

One Legend says the Finley was named for John Finley, a contemporary of Daniel Boone who guided him through the Cumberland Gap. 

The river was also where a New York tenderfoot named Henry Schoolcraft discovered Smallin Cave, which had been used by the Osage Tribe during hunting trips.

Schoolcraft even envisioned a city at the confluence of the Finley and James when he first observed it on his journey through the Ozarks in 1819.

I’m almost ashamed to admit I had never floated the Finley, save the occasional paddle on the stretch between Riverside and Finley River Park, until recently.

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