On March 1, 1972, the Buffalo River was first "saved" through its official establishment as a National River. Forty-five years later we find this an opportunity to glance back in time and honor the people and continued efforts that have allowed our acclaimed and widely-loved Buffalo River to remain free flowing and natural.
Save the Buffalo (TAKE 1):
The battle to originally save the Buffalo River first began back in the 1930s with the Flood Control Act of 1938, an act that included the Buffalo River in national damming plans for hydroelectric power. Though these plans were set aside during the chaos of World War II, the early 1960s brought with them the reinitiating of such plans. The Army Corps of Engineers had selected two potential damming spots along the Buffalo and it was time to take action. However, an unwavering group of conservationists, heavily opposed to such damming, spurred political uproar that would last for over ten years to come. Leading anti-damming advocates, such as the Ozark Society led by Neil Compton, understood the importance of a free-flowing, natural river and ecosystem, while locals to the Buffalo River area aided in the fight.
In 1971, the tension finally broke. After years of political maneuvering and media attention, Congress finally voted to "save" the Buffalo from damming, by establishing it as the country's first "national river." Forty-five years later, these efforts still hold strong-- the Buffalo National River still flows free for 135 miles, marking it as one of the last remaining free flowing rivers in the lower 48 states.
Save the Buffalo (TAKE 2):
While we acclaim the efforts of those who have come before us, there is now new stormy water to tread. In 2013, the C&H/Cargill corporate hog farms established major operational plants in the Mt. Judea, AR area, specifically on Big Creek, a major Buffalo National River tributary. Due to the inevitable pollution that large scale corporate farming has, the disposition of the Buffalo National River is once again under scrutiny. In direct response to the massive threat that the runoff waste warrants the Buffalo River, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance (BRWA) was established. Its volunteers work tirelessly to fund grounds for legal protection of the rivers as well as to advocate and educate the public and legislators on the environmental and public health risks posed by CAFOs in the Buffalo National River watershed.
How Can You Help?
In the recent months, we have made it a mission at Fayettechill to educate our audience and support organizations like the BRWA that are working to keep our beautiful river natural and clean.
There is now a call to "Save the Buffalo River... Again!" The "again" represents the call to raise funds and awareness about the risk that the corporate hog farm pose to the Buffalo. After 45 years of protection as a National River, we refuse to let pollution forever harm this natural artifact and state gem. Educate your friends & community, donate to the BRWA directly here, or support the cause by buying one of our Buffalo fundraising tees.