(Akers) Horsepower limits for motorized boats in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways have yet to be enforced more than four years after their approval.
The Sierra Club Missouri Chapter says with the busy floating season here, it’s time to put the rules in place.
The National Park Service’s 2015 General Management Plan laid out prohibitions for motorized boats of any horsepower on a 35-mile stretch of the Current River and 33-mile stretch of the Jacks Fork River, from April 1st through September 14th.
Marisa Frazier with the Sierra Club says the area is a major draw for recreation and the vast majority of people are enjoying the park without motorized boats.
Russ Runge, the deputy superintendent of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, says the park has been collaborating with the Midwest regional office to ensure the rules are clear and enforceable.
John Hickey, the head of the Sierra Club Missouri Chapter, says the upper stretches of the Current and Jacks Fork are shallow and so it makes sense to keep motorized boats out of them.
But new engine technology allows people to venture into shallower water.
Hickey says he was at a section of the Current River near Akers with his teenage son and friends, who were snorkeling in the river.
A half-submerged tree blocked part of the waterway and another visitor told Hickey his friend flipped his boat speeding over a tree.
Frazier adds that motorized boats disrupt the natural habitat and interfere with folks who want to experience the park’s quiet serenity.
A recent National Park Service report found 1-point-3-million people visited the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in southern Missouri in 2018 and spent more than 55 million dollars in communities near the park.