The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail


Panel of Experts:

All writing is reviewed by a panel of paddlers, naturalists and other river experts including (for this section) Layne Logue, Kayaker; Russell Reynolds, kayaker; John Keen, photographer, kayaker; Meg Cooper, Director Lower Delta Partnership; Tommy Shropshire, outdoorsman, kayak-fisherman; Dora Ann Hatch, Agritourism Coordinator LSU AgCenter; David Dupree, kayaker, Barry Boyette, kayaker, Dan Fordice, river air-rat; Wayne Pratt, kayaker, Bluz Cruz organizer; Tim McCarley, big river pilot; Angeline Rodgers, Director, Lower Mississippi River Commission; Bruce Reid, ornithologist, Lower Mississippi River Commission; Kevin Pierson, National Audubon Society Lower Mississippi Program; Ernest Herndon, canoeist, author of Canoeing Mississippi also Canoeing Louisiana, Paul Hartfield, biologist, pilot, big river expert; Ray Acock, big river naturalist; Mark River Peoples, big river guide, Chris “Wolfie” Staudinger, big river guide, and Braxton Barden, big river guide.  I, John Ruskey, am primary author.  I have been taking notes, photographs and documenting the river since my first raft trip down the Mississippi in 1982, and so the Rivergator is the culmination of 30 years of exploration.  I have paddled the Mississippi on anything that floats including a log.  To verify all information I have been making “refresher expeditions,” (I last paddled this section with a team of explorers during the June rise, 2013).  I’ll try to keep myself out of it as much as possible, and let the river speak for herself.  But I’ll also spice the journey with stories and vignettes from my adventures along the way, and others who have first-hand experience.  Other important Rivergator sources include the National Weather Service “Lower Mississippi River Gauge and Week Forecast,” the US Army Corps 2007 Flood Control and Navigation Maps: Mississippi River, Google Maps Satellite View, Marion Braggs’ Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi River, Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi, The Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Lower Delta Partnership, Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, Greenville CVB, Vicksburg CVB, City of Vicksburg, LSU Agritourism, Explore North Louisiana, Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, John James Audubon Birds of America, Parkman’s LaSalle, DeSoto’s Narrative, Stan Finger Finger on the Weather, Wikipedia, Quapaw Canoe Company and Wild Miles.  See “Sources” for complete listing and suggestions for further reading.


Wild Miles:

The wonderful thing about the Lower Miss is that it’s still wild!  You will see some industry and agriculture between Memphis and Helena, but for the most part your experience will be big water, big forests, big sandbars, big bluffs and big skies!  Does this sound like Alaska?  Or Lake Superior?  Or Puget Sound?  Yes -- but it’s not.  It’s nothing but the muddy big river, the biggest river in North America, and the longest stretch of free-flowing waters in the Lower 48. 


In this section the wild places include Mile 725 to 664, 61 Wild Miles from below Memphis Harbor to above Helena Note: Tunica River Park & Museum, Buck Island protected public-use island. Some casinos seen. Bright night lights from casinos. Lights of Memphis dimly seen along northern horizon. Casino section Mile 708-695 might need to be removed from Wild Miles.