Avoid "Black Friday" -- Join us in paradise for Green Friday!
Round trip canoe adventure to Buck Island for fun and exploration, Nov 24, 2023, 9am-3pm, with the Mississippi River State Park, Forecast Sunny, High 56
Green Friday Nov 24, 2023, 9am-3pm The day after Thanksgiving Avoid "Black Friday" -- Join us in paradise for Green Friday! Round trip canoe adventure to Buck Island for fun and exploration with the Mississippi River State Park!
Beat Black Friday madness by recharging on the Mississippi River with Mississippi River State Park and Quapaw Canoe Company. Everyone will paddle together in a 29-foot voyageur canoe (canoes used in the 18th- and 19th-century North American fur trade). Your guide will help transport you back to a time when the rivers were the highways of the vast land that would become the United States of America. No previous experience necessary! Reservations required: call (870) 295-4040 Canoe adventure on the Mississippi River with stops along the way for exploring, birding, beach combing, or just absorbing your surroundings. Green Friday Nov 24, 2023, 9am-3pm Reservations required. $145 each. • Fee includes guide and gear • Drinking water provided • Please bring a snack, lunch, a reusable water bottle, and clothing layers appropriate for the weather Mississippi River State Park To register, call (870) 295-4040
Buck Island Roundtrip Adventure
The Buck Island Adventure is a roundtrip voyageur canoe paddle on the biggest river in North America, the Mighty Mississippi, involving a tour of an archipelago of Mississippi River Islands with big beaches, swim holes, birds, turtles, and other wildlife. This round trip paddle affords an incredible variety of giant sandbars, wetlands, gravel/fossil bars, deep willow forests, and miles of beaches to swim from or walk along. So — a little bit of everything!
Buck Island is a 1,498 acre island located 1 mile upstream of the mouth of the Helena Harbor. It is one of the big islands of the Lower Mississippi. At low water its sandbars stretch 5 miles north to south and 1 ½ miles east to west. The forested high ground of the island is approximately 2 miles tall and a mile wide, in kind of a half moon shape, with a smaller forested “splinter island” found to the east. (During low water this splinter island becomes joined to the main island by a wide valley of sand & muddy pools).
Meet at 9am at the big boat ramp in the Helena Harbor, in downtown Helena. Round-trip paddle. Pack your own lunch, snacks and water.
Itinerary: Meet: 9am Big Boat Ramp in the Helena Harbor Park your car near Boardwalk (In the Helena River Park, over the levee from downtown Helena) Intro Talk, Safety Talk 10am: Arrive Buck Island 11am-2pm: explore sandbar beach, birding, tracking, lunch 2pm: board canoe to return to Helena 3pm: Return back to Helena Harbor Quapaw Provides: Canoe, paddles, lifejackets and all necessary river gear, first aid kits, VHF Marine Radio, running lights, and all necessary emergency gear. We’ll pack group water in 5 gallon jugs Pack in Daypack or Drybag: Each person should pack: -waterbottles -lunch & snacks -sun protection -bug protection -shoes that can get muddy and wet (or go barefoot) Optional: -cell phone -camera -bird book -binoculars -swim gear -towel Note: Pack any electronics in dry bag, dry box, or zip lock bags Water Bottle Refill: We’ll pack a 5-gal jug of water to refill your personal water bottles. Wear: Dress for weather. Wear shoes that can get muddy and wet (or go barefoot).
More about Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead)
Like all the big islands of the Lower Mississippi a wide variety of micro-ecosystems are found on and around Buck Island, including a bottomland hardwood forest, younger willow/cottonwood forests, small grassy fields, sandbars, gravel bars, blue holes, and muddy flood pools (left behind in the flats after high water), each with its own particular inhabitants and characteristics. It should be noted that the Lower Mississippi fluctuates 45-50 vertical feet in an average year -- as such much of the island and most of its habitats become covered with flowing river water at some point during a normal year. For instance, at high water the only portion of the island found above water is the mature floodplain forest and its isolated grassy areas.
For the paddler Buck Island is an ideal location for a picnic, an overnight camp, a base camp, or a voyageur’s camp (if you’re traveling long distance down the river). It can be approached easily from Helena via the boat ramp at the Helena Harbor (upstream paddling), or from above by putting in at the mouth of the St. Francis River. You can paddle to the sandbars, or into the forest. At low water there are huge sandbars to hike with limitless possibilities for tracking birds & animals, and an enormous gravel bar at the head of the island with great fossil-finding, rock hounding and beach combing. At med water you can sneak through hidden channels that bisect the island. At high water you can paddle into the forest and wander through the woods in your canoe or kayak. Infrequently, at the very highest of flood stages, the entire island goes underwater.
You can make landings in deserted alcoves, and swim in blue holes. You can paddle all the way around the island (circumnavigation) or make a simple approach, a quick landing, and then keep going.
Above the Island on the West bank (Arkansas shore) is a series of small islands to explore, as well as East bank (so called “Helena Islands” – Mississippi shore). You can enter a mature willow forest following old river at Trotter’s (East shore), at higher waters it is possible to work your way through the woods all the way up to Tunica Lake.
Driving Directions to Helena Harbor from Mississippi:
Directions to Helena Harbor from Mississippi: On US Hwy 49 North go across the Helena Bridge from Mississippi, and take the right turn 49B (Biscoe) into downtown Helena. Follow Biscoe through a 4-way stop sign, and two lights. The second light is Perry Street. Turn right on Perry St. Head east past the “Doughboy” statue to the second stop sign which is Ohio. Follow the pavement on top of and then over levee, to where it dead ends at parking lot, in the Helena River Park. Park vehicles and descend ramp for safety instructions, packing, and loading up canoes!
Big Boat Ramp Helena Harbor GPS: 34.52196250015302, -90.58215559939534 Call me 662-902-7841, or Mark River 662-902-6479, if you’d prefer to talk!
Thanksgiving Weekend: Community Canoe, Saturday Nov 25th! Roundtrip to Island 62 ~ From Quapaw Landing ~ 11am-5pm
Perfect fall weather! Sunny, with a high 55. Advance reservations required. Island 62 Archipelago encompasses giant beaches, blue holes, other wetlands, willow forests, gravel bars — and is inhabited by fishes, insects, birds, turtles, and other wildlife. This round trip paddle affords an incredible variety of giant sandbars, wetlands, gravel/fossil bars, deep willow forests, and miles of beaches to explore, clean up, count species, and wade and swim from for cool downs. On Sat Nov 25th, meet at 11am at our base in downtown Clarksdale, Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue. Follow us to river in your own vehicle. Round-trip paddle. Pack your own snacks and water. Dress for weather. Don’t forget sun protection. No previous experience necessary, all paddle together in our big canoes with guides. But must be willing to paddle — sometimes hard paddling necessary. Return to land around 5pm.
Cost: Free for youth under 18. 1/4 price for educators ($25). 1/2 price for adults ($50). Reservations required! You can use automatic online signup for making reservation. (Go to island63.com and click on "book my expedition" and then click on "community canoe" option, and then choose Sept 9th option.) Or Paypal (add 3% PP fee) paypal.me/quapawcanoecompany Or Venmo John-Ruskey-1 Community Canoe is made possible by the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. Dedicated to fostering long-term stewardship of the big river through its youth. Meet Place: Meet: 11am Quapaw Canoe Company downtown Clarksdale, MS ~OR~ Meet: 12noon Quapaw Landing Schedule: Sat, Nov 25th Meet: 11am Quapaw Canoe Company 291 Sunflower Avenue Clarksdale, MS 38614 Follow us to river Start: 12noon Quapaw Landing Paddle back channel of Island 63, cross main channel, and explore the vast sandbars of Island 62 End: 5pm Quapaw Landing Pack in Daypack or Drybag: Each person should pack: -waterbottles -lunch -snacks -sun protection -bug protection -shoes that can get muddy and wet (or go barefoot) Optional: -cell phone -camera -bird book -binoculars -swim gear -towel Note: Pack any electronics in dry bag, dry box, or zip lock bags Wear: Dress for weather. Perfect fall weather! Sunny, with a high near 55. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Wear shoes that can get muddy and wet (or go barefoot). Call me 662-902-7841, or Mark River 662-902-6479, if you’d prefer to talk! Sincerely yours in service of the big river. Made possible through a partnership with the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. Dedicated to fostering long-term stewardship of the big river through its youth.
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