Rymers restroom project will shift to Powder Mill

Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) will soon replace deteriorating or flood-damaged restroom facilities at various locations in the park.  

New vault toilets will be installed at Rocky Falls, Shawnee Creek Campground, and Buck Hollow Access as scheduled. The installation of a new vault restroom facility previously planned for the Rymers Access has been canceled due to the inability to get heavy equipment transported to the site. 

That vault toilet will be shifted to the Powder Mill Campground, to replace the waterborne (flush) restroom that is no longer operational following the April 2017 flood.  

There are no plans to restore electricity to Powder Mill because it is at the end of an electrical service line and all other buildings requiring electricity at Powder Mill were destroyed in the flood. Without electricity, there is no way to operate the water system necessary for a flush restroom.

Jimmy Sexton

Installation of the vault toilet at Powder Mill will provide a usable restroom for river users and campers in the future, when the river access and campground are repaired and reopened. 

The National Park Service will continue to work with the Federal Highway Administration to accomplish major repairs to both the campground road and river access road.

A suitable replacement option for the deteriorating restroom at Rymers will be considered in the future. That restroom was not damaged in the 2017 flood, but needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.

New waterborne (flush) restrooms will still be installed in the 200 Loop of the Big Spring Campground and the 400 Loop of the Alley Spring Campground as previously announced. Those installations are scheduled to occur in late March and take about one week to complete. 

The previous restrooms in those locations were destroyed during the 2017 flood. Landscaping and construction of sidewalks will occur after facility installation, and is expected to be finished prior to April 15.

The existing outdated vault toilets at Buck Hollow and Rocky Falls are in very poor condition and were already a high priority to be replaced prior to the 2017 flood. Demolition has begun on those buildings and on the existing restroom at Powder Mill. 

There will be no restrooms available at those locations until the new facilities are installed. Installation for the new vault toilets is expected to occur in early March. The new vault toilet at Shawnee Creek Campground will also be installed at that time. 

Currently, there is no restroom at Shawnee Creek because the previous restroom was destroyed in the 2017 flood.
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The new restroom facilities are all constructed of cast concrete and designed for use in flood zones.


Visitors to Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site can now experience a rotating exhibit of artifacts relating to the site. 

Many of these original artifacts have never been displayed until now. Upcoming displays:

• March-April — “Why this Valley?” depicts how natural resources influenced settlers to stay and make a home in the valley.

• May-June — “Dropped and Found” displays a variety of items that were dropped during the heat of battle and then found later.

• July-August — “Guess what this is” gives visitors a chance to view several unique items pertaining to the battle and the history of the valley. 

They can then venture a guess as to what they are and what the items were used for.

• September-October — “Before the Fort” highlights Native American life in the valley before European settlement.

• November-December — “Remembering the Past” features battle participant reunions and picnics which kept the memory of the battle alive. This exhibit also shows the development of the museum and the prior reenactments.

The site will have an event passport card for visitors to get signed by staff at each of the exhibits. The first five people to turn in their completed passport form will receive a VIP pass to the September 2020 reenactment. 

The pass will include VIP seating and parking at the event as well as other incentives.

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic site is located in southeast Missouri at 118 E. Maple St., Pilot Knob. For more information about the event, call the site at (573) 546-3454.

(Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached by phone or text at (417) 451-3798, or jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com.)

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