Memories bring visitors to national park

It’s where Pat’s grandfather taught him to to gig. It’s where his father took him on the prop boat when he was 11. It’s where his son caught his first fish, he had his bachelor party and his friends watched his wedding from their boats.

Pat Jackson, field ranger for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, has lived in the area surrounding Current River all his life. To him, the river is more than just a body of water.

“It is a part of what’s in me.”

Faye Walmsley, public information officer for the Ozark National Riverways, said Jackson’s sentiments are shared by many visitors of the national park.

Ninety-eight percent of park visitors are repeat visitors, Walmsley said. The park includes a natural spring, trails and an access point to the river.  But it isn’t just those natural features that are bringing people back. People are coming back for the reasons Jackson stayed.

“Memories that people have are a powerful tool,” Walmsley said.

Edited by Annette Jenkins


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