First National River celebrates 50 years
BY CASSIE BRANSTETTER
Public information officer
Buffalo National River invites everyone to join in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the designation of Buffalo National River, the first national river in the United States. To celebrate this historic milestone, the park is planning a series of event weekends throughout 2022. The preparation and presentation of these events is made possible through the hard work and volunteerism of many park partners and the community, including Buffalo National River Partners, Buffalo River Historic Prison and Museum, Arkansas Master Naturalists, and Lucky Star Farm.
Buffalo National River Superintendent Mark Foust said, âThe creation of Buffalo National River was the first of its kind. We would like our communities and park visitors to come and celebrate this incredible park and what it has been, is and will be. Please join us in sharing the river, its resources and its history throughout the year. Much like the park itself, the celebrations offer a bit of everything for everyone to enjoy.
The Buffalo National River was originally designated by Congress as a public park in 1972 to retain the unique scenic and scientific features of the area, while preserving the free flow of a significant segment of the Buffalo River for the enjoyment of future generations. The event weekends planned in 2022 to celebrate the 50 anniversary of Buffalo National River are as follows:
â The History Weekend from February 26 to March 1, 2022, celebrating the rich cultural history of the region and the creation of the park.
â Saturday February 26, 2022: StoryCorps oral history event. Buffalo National River Oral History – StoryCorps Archive Collects oral histories of those with stories to tell about their experiences at the river or around the creation of the National River in 1972. Location to be announced
â Saturday February 26, 2022: Conference on the geological history of the region presented at Buffalo Point.
â Sunday February 27, 2022: A presentation at the St. Joe High School auditorium discusses current and historical tribal connections with the Buffalo National River. Coordinated by Bob King of the Buffalo River Historic Prison and Museum
â March 1, 2022: Scientific Symposium organized at North Arkansas College including an opening ceremony for the anniversary year and a celebration with a birthday cake!
â Art in the Park Weekend June 9-12, 2022, celebrating how Buffalo National River inspires artistic endeavor.
â Thursday June 9, 2022: Student Film Festival at Kenda Drive-in.
â Friday June 10, 2022: Evening of folk tales at the amphitheater at Buffalo Point Campground. Coordinated by Lucky Star Farm
â Saturday June 11, 2022: Music Festival in Tyler Bend, featuring performers demonstrating traditional Ozark musical traditions and how the river inspires modern creations. Organized by Buffalo National River and Buffalo National River Partners.
â Sunday June 12, 2022: The Chinelos Morelenses Unidos in Arkansas, an American-Mexican dance group from Springdale, will perform at Steel Creek and talk about their inspiration from nature and their visit to the Buffalo area River.
â Park RX Weekend October 8-9, 2022, celebrating the natural resources of Buffalo National River and the health benefits they provide.
â All weekend, throughout the park there will be a photo geocaching treasure hunt.
â Saturday October 8, 2022: âYoga in the Parkâ with yoga instructors at Steel Creek and Buffalo Point Campgrounds.
â Saturday October 8, 2022: Moon Party at the Tyler Bend Pavilion, a program to see the moon through telescopes and discuss the importance of the night sky.
â Sunday October 9, 2022: naturalization ceremony held at the Ozark Campground lodge, naturalizing 15 new US citizens.
Please note that events are subject to change due to COVID or weather requirements. Buffalo National River encourages everyone to visit the park’s website www.nps.gov/buff and the Calendar of Events for the most recent information.