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Current River Jon Boat Float Video


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Why would you pack heat on a river like that, why shooting turtles and snakes of course. Back in the day, it was sporting target practice to pluck snakes and turtles off of logs on a float trip.

Great video, I downloaded it and watched it tonight. The river has really changed and opened up since then, those chutes are gone for the most part.

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

Hunter S. Thompson

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What a great video!!! Recognize some of the guides from growing up in Eminence. LeRoy Lewis and Doug Keeling were both school teachers. I had LeRoy for a teacher. He was a local history expert and a great volleyball coach. Also recognized the commissary cooks, Fodder Jones and Walt Winterbottom and Judge Orchard in the clip of unloading boats. Thanks for putting that out to be seen.

Al, don't mean to argue because I know you are a Missouri river expert. But, I don't think the jet boats are the cause of the changes in the river. But, the changes in the river are a cause of the jet boats. It got to be that you couldn't run a boat with a prop, even with a lift without breaking props and shearing pins.

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What a great video!!! Recognize some of the guides from growing up in Eminence. LeRoy Lewis and Doug Keeling were both school teachers. I had LeRoy for a teacher. He was a local history expert and a great volleyball coach. Also recognized the commissary cooks, Fodder Jones and Walt Winterbottom and Judge Orchard in the clip of unloading boats. Thanks for putting that out to be seen.

Al, don't mean to argue because I know you are a Missouri river expert. But, I don't think the jet boats are the cause of the changes in the river. But, the changes in the river are a cause of the jet boats. It got to be that you couldn't run a boat with a prop, even with a lift without breaking props and shearing pins.

You could be right...but I've had several old timers tell me the same thing, that the river didn't start widening and shallowing until jetboats got popular. And if it wasn't jetboats (if it started before jetboats) then what caused it? It's the same on both the Current and the Meramec. As far as I know, there weren't a lot of unusual flooding, etc.

Thing is, except for those old pictures and videos and the memories of the old timers (and memories are notoriously unreliable) we really don't have a clear picture of what the rivers were like and when they began changing. And we don't have any data at all on whether or not the wakes from big high speed boats are damaging the banks. So we can argue about it til the cows come home and not settle anything!

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You're right, there is no point to argue over it. I personally think it is just due to run off into the rivers and creeks that has filled them in with gravel. My dad tells of wading on Shawnee and Mahan creeks that feed into the Jacks Fork and having to swim through some of the holes because they were so deep. Now you have to look pretty hard to find water waste deep anywhere in those creeks. And I know that jetboats have not been in either one of those creeks. Upper Jacks Fork is kind of the same way. Holes of water that 30 years ago where really deep now are filled in with gravel. Big jetboats don't run up there.

Again, sure was good to get to see some of the old folks that I grew up with on that video.

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I'm more familiar with the Meramec instead of the Current, but I know that on the Meramec it's due to widening of the river channel in many places, something that gravel erosion wouldn't cause. Places that were once narrow chutes with stable banks on both sides are now wide riffles. That's what seems to have happened...the banks eroded and the channel widened. I also know a lot of banks on the Meramec that were covered with trees, and big floods actually took the bank, trees and all. That's something that seldom used to happen...tree lined banks were always pretty stable.

The theory is this: Boat wakes continually attack a very narrow horizontal zone along the banks. On a given weekend, there will be a lot of those wakes hitting the banks. If you look at a gravel bar with fairly steep sides, you'll see that zone of loose gravel right at water's edge from the wake action. Now if it's a rocky bank or a bank that is well lined with water willows, or even a bank with thickly intertwined root systems, the wakes should be no problem. But if it's a gravel bank with more scattered plant growth, or a steep mud bank with spaces in between the tree roots (which is rather common along the riffles on the Meramec), the wakes could be loosening those more vulnerable spots. Then when a big flood comes along, it has those spots that are weak points that the flood can work on, and once the spot starts to go, the damage spreads during the flood. We know big floods can really do a lot of damage to banks, but it's almost always in specific places where the flood can attack a weak spot. A good example is a stretch of steep clay bank where the trees have been cleared so there is no root system to hold the mud in place. Every flood erodes this bank a little farther, but it also spreads the damage, because where the clear clay bank stops and the tree-lined bank starts, eventually the bank will erode until it can hit that first tree root system directly and take it out, and then the next root system falls, and so on. The theory is that boat wakes make for weak spots, floods attack the weak spots, and the weakness spreads upstream and downstream with each flood.

I think the key may be the magnitude and frequency of the wakes. Compared to the number of people running jetboats on Current River today, there was always just a small percentage of that number who had the skill to run the river in a prop boat. The banks see a lot more boat wakes now than they did then.

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