The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is serious about cracking down on rowdy, reckless behavior on the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. Floaters, campers and visitors acting out in dangerous ways can compromise the enjoyment and safety of other visitors and will not be tolerated. The crackdown is being done to ensure everyone visiting the Ozark Riverways can have an enjoyable and positive experience while at the park and visiting the riverways. Public misbehavior will not be tolerated anywhere, and the Ozark Riverways is no different.
While consuming alcohol is strongly associated with unacceptable conduct in the park and while authorities are not banning it, there are new measures in place to deal with rowdy people. The new regulations place a ban on “beer bongs,” and similar devices. Those individuals in possession of beer bongs and similar equipment will receive a citation. Jello shots and/or other gelatin based alcoholic beverages will also be banned and the individual bringing it into the park will be cited.
It is a matter of using common sense and exercising caution and limiting oneself to a responsible amount of alcohol. Adult visitors are being asked to only bring in one six-pack of beer or similar quantities of alcohol beverages per day. People floating in canoes and rafts should bring in a cooler the size of 48-quarts or smaller, unless camping along the river. When people are intoxicated and floating, it can be as deadly as drunken driving and it is important for everyone to be safe on the river.
People gathering and making an exorbitant amount of noise will be discouraged and park rangers will be strictly enforcing sound level laws. There will be no noisy blasting of stereo systems, air horns or dangerous “dry ice” bombs. There will also be no jumping from rocks or cliffs and rope swings within the park will also be banned to reduce injuries, cut down on parties and make sure everyone is safe.
The use of polystyrene or Styrofoam food and beverage coolers is also prohibited because they frequently wind up as trash in the river and pose a danger to wildlife and are a source of pollution. When canoes flip over in the river, coolers can lose their lids or break, which results in the spilling of contents, however foam bait containers will still be allowed for fishermen. It is not about stopping people from having a good time, but it is about protecting everyone and making sure the parks and rivers stay clean and safe at all times.
All drugs and underage drinking are strictly prohibited and the laws will be vehemently enforced, as well as laws which outlaw glass containers, disorderly conduct, public nudity, profanity and littering. Distributing or accepting Mardi Gras beads is also prohibited and people caught doing it will be cited and fined. The National Park Rangers and various Missouri law enforcement agencies will be working together to crack down on violators and will cite or arrest troublemakers and kick people out of the parks. Observant visitors will notice a vast influx of uniformed and plainclothes officers on the river and throughout the park; because there is a great need to enforce public safety.
If you have not visited the Ozark Riverways recently, now is the time to come back and have some summer fun. The presence of rangers and law enforcement officers has been making a real difference in the past few years and by cracking down on unacceptable and deviant behavior, now more than ever the parks and riverways are family friendlier. If you are wondering what to do with your family this summer, visiting the Ozark Riverways is a great way to have some fun and make some memories.