A new boardwalk and elevated observation deck along the Little Sac River, near the output of Indian Spring, will allow guests visiting Fantastic Caverns another opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the Ozarks’ scenery, this time above ground.
The observation deck and boardwalk front 175 feet of the Little Sac River’s southern bank. Over two miles of lumber and more than 15,000 nuts, bolts, screws and anchors were used in the construction.
The triangular-shaped observation deck overlooks Indian Spring and its convergence with the Little Sac River.
“It is a great addition to the property as we kick-off the summer season,” said Fantastic Caverns’ general manager, Doug Campbell.
The boardwalk begins at the river’s edge where Fantastic Caverns’ Canyon Trail ends. The trail, which starts near the visitor’s center and parking lot, passes through a collapsed cave system and into the valley directly beneath the cave’s entrance and exit.
Horseshoe pitches are located in the valley adjacent to the boardwalk as another entertainment option for cave guests looking to connect with nature.
The boardwalk and observation deck provide great opportunities for relaxing, birding and wildlife viewing. Fantastic Caverns is a part of the Great Missouri Birding Trail and numerous bird species can be spotted on the grounds and near the Little Sac River.
The Springfield and Branson chapters of the Missouri Trout Fishermen’s Association will hold their second annual Fly Fishing Exposition on July 27-28.
It will be a celebration of everything fly fishing held in one of the premier trout fishing areas of the Ozarks — Branson.
The venue is the Branson-Hollister Lions Club Community Center at 1015 E. State Highway 76, approximately one mile east after you cross the bridge over Lake Taneycomo from the Landing Boulevard.
“We expect to have approximately 63 flytiers demonstrating their skills, talking about flies, and sharing tying tips,” said Dennis Stead, on of the organizers of the event.
“We will have nearly 25 vendors and factory reps on hand to show you their products and make you a deal. We will raffle and auction off some fine tackle, nets, boots and waders, tackle bags, fly tying stations, artwork, signature flies, and more.”
He also said one of the chapter’s members, Larry Wegmann, will give a program about aquatic midges, of prime importance to local tail water fishery.
In addition, a very famous guide on the White River in Arkansas, Davy Wotton, will be on hand to present his program on fishing the White River.
Also, another world-famous flytier, who specializes in “sculpting” deer hair, Mike George, will be there to demonstrate his amazing deer hair flies.
Adults can learn from fly casting experts demonstrating their skills in a casting pool.
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“We’re looking forward to a great Branson Fly Fishing Expo, and we hope we’ll see you there,” said Stead.
On Saturday, July 28, there will be a did’s fishing event for children 15 and under at the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery below the Table Rock Dam from 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
“Barney Fife” will be there to help the kids and entertain them. Terry Sanders, five-time comedian of the year, will play the Barney character. Terry plays numerous comedic characters at both Silver Dollar City and the CJ Newsome Classic Country and Comedy show.
A limited number of rods will be available, but feel free to bring your own. Mentors will be on hand to assist the kids.
The Powder Mill River Access on the Current River along Highway 106 is temporarily closed to vehicles due to a washout of the paved road near the access point.
This closure does not affect walk-in use of the river access, which remains open to foot traffic.
The Powder Mill River Access was badly damaged during the April 2017 flood, which also destroyed the adjacent Powder Mill Campground.
Even though the flood caused the Powder Mill Spring Branch to change course and flow across the paved road on its way to the Current River, the road was still passable by vehicles using the river access.
Since that time, however, the constant flow of the spring branch and two additional floods have eroded the pavement and cut into the roadway base.
This has caused a section of pavement to collapse and wash out, creating a significant hazard for vehicles.
Because the roadway is now impassable and unsafe for vehicle travel, barricades have been placed across the road near the closed Powder Mill restroom facility.
There is no estimate for how long it will take to correct this safety hazard and reopen the road to the access point.
The channel of the spring branch will need to be evaluated to determine the best way to divert it from the road and then the roadway repairs will be completed.
River users can still walk to the Powder Mill access point from the parking area near the closed restroom to use the gravel bar, or to carry their gear for floating. Vehicles can continue to use the parking lot near the trailhead for the Ozark Trail at the Powder Mill Center.
In addition, park managers are working to improve an alternate access point directly across the river near the old Owls Bend School for vehicle access.
This will provide a launch point for jet boats and floaters.
(Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or firstname.lastname@example.org.)