Riverways news: exhibit in VB, camping at Alley, mill open May 6
Although we currently (April 24, 3 p.m.) have flood conditions on the Jacks Fork at Alley Spring (over 13 foot) and the Current River at Van Buren (about 17 foot) and the rivers are closed to floating, we’ve got a little better news to report from Ozark National Scenic Riverways in regards to their visitor facilities.
First of all, a retraction. ONSR reported earlier this month that the Alley Campground would be closed for a repaving project until mid-May. That project has been put off until this fall, so (river permitting) camping at Alley Spring is open. Visitors may make Alley Spring Campground reservations through Reserve America by calling 1-877-444-6777, or just take advantage of one of the first-come, first served sites. River levels can be found at the USGS site.
Next, the visitor contact station at headquarters in Van Buren is now staffed 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m in Van Buren at 404 Watercress Drive. A special exhibit on the Ozark logging industry, including the Grandin Mill, is in the lobby, and other information is available from the information desk or for purchase.
Finally, and special thanks to Jeff and Karen Wade of Mountain View, Alley Mill will once again be functioning this year, and able to show about 30,000 visitors how a water mill operates. The Wades took their family to the mill last year and found it non-operational. Jeff is an auto mechanic and engine machinist from Mountain View; he volunteered to fix the idler pulley mechanism. This device transfers power from the turbine in the spring to the main mill shaft– it has to maintain tension for the mill to grind.
Over last winter, Wade rebuilt and refurbished the pulley at his Mountain View garage, donating all parts and labor. make any repairs to the idler pulley at his Mountain View shop at no cost to the American taxpayers. “I want the public to see the mill operating. It’s such an important part of history,” he stated. The idler pulley was re-installed in the mill in March.
There will be a grand opening on May 6 at 11 a.m. where Superintendent Reed Detring will publicly recognize Wade for his service, and rangers will conduct tours of the operating mill and tell of its history. Beginning Saturday, May 7, the mill will be open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Beyond May 7, the mill will be open Sundays, Fridays, and Saturdays until Memorial Day weekend and daily afterwards.
Thanks Jeff and Karen!