Most people have seen the grandeur and beauty of the Buffalo River. Much of the year it has way too many people, but there are times during mid-week in the off season when you can float it and think you are seeing it in a time before white men came here, if you can overlook an occasional trash bag on a gravel bar.
Most people have seen the grandeur and beauty of the Buffalo River. Much of the year it has way too many people, but there are times during mid-week in the off season when you can float it and think you are seeing it in a time before white men came here, if you can overlook an occasional trash bag on a gravel bar. Perhaps the water in the Buffalo is as clean as any water anywhere in the Ozarks, but you can bet the upper reaches of the river will be polluted significantly in a few years. On mountaintops above the river near Mount Judea, Arkansas, thousands and thousands of hogs will be raised at one time. Why there instead of Illinois or Ohio? Cheap land!
It is an unstoppable venture apparently, because the owners, who couldn’t care one whit about the Buffalo, got all the necessary permits from the Arkansas agency responsible for controlling pollution in the state, which has been laughingly referred to as the Arkansas Pollution Permission Commission. It was all done under something of a cloak of secrecy, keeping the Parks Department, the Game and Fish Department, and the National Park Service from knowing anything about it until it was completely done and all permits required were in place.
Of course, the land is cheap in that Ozark area and that’s why the chicken industry and hog industry have settled there like the vultures many of them are. To so many, only money is important in this lifetime, and they figure on not needing it in heaven, when they can get away from the ugliness they created here. The word is that all the hog waste will be spread on local pastures and be a big benefit to cattle farmers. There will be dams pushed up to hold the liquid coming off the operation, and there will be no problems with that system overflowing in heavy rains to put hog manure in the river. Dead hogs will be no problem either, as they were in western Missouri, when a few years ago a company was fined a million dollars or so for just dumping carcasses in a creek. That fine was no big deal to them, when you raise millions of dollars with huge hog farms, you can pay it and forget it, and keep on operating as you have been.
You can bet everything you have that hog waste, and decaying dead hogs will be a part of the future of the Buffalo, but the thousands of floaters who come to see it can probably swim in it and not know much about it until you get to where you can smell it. The sorry thing about all this is, nothing can be done to stop it because the law has been followed with the obtaining of proper permits.
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