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On the Same Page with Kenneth Smith

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Gain appreciation for one of Arkansas' natural treasures the Buffalo River in "AETN Presents: On the Same Page with Kenneth L. Smith". Smith brings his lifelong accumulation of knowledge to OTSP with the "Buffalo River Handbook." The handbook includes complete trail and river guidelines, geology and history of the Buffalo River area and more than 170 photos, maps and diagrams that are coordinated with Trails Illustrated geographic maps.

Smith grew up in Hot Springs and, in 1952, enrolled at the University of Arkansas as a mechanical engineering major. During his freshman year he joined a university hiking group that developed his great love for the Buffalo River country of northwest Arkansas. He accepted a position with the National Park Service and worked for 12 years as a civil engineer in western parks and as a park planner in Washington, D.C. In 1974, Smith left the service and returned to Fayetteville, where he became a freelance writer, photographer and researcher.

During his years outside of Arkansas, Smith retained his ties with environmentalists in the state, including members of the Ozark Society. The society has published two of his books, "The Buffalo River Country" in 1967 and "Illinois River" in 1977.

The Ozark Society was founded in 1962 in response to the United States Army Corps of Engineers' plans to dam the Buffalo River in order to create the Gilbert Reservoir. Because of the actions of the Ozark Society, in 1972 the Buffalo River became the first river to be given the status of National River in the United States' national park system.

OTSP host Tommy Sanders had the opportunity to speak with Smith at That Bookstore at Montebanq Place in Conway. Following the interview, Sanders met with a panel of readers.

Those discussing the book are: Larry Foley, associate professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas and an award winning independent television producer; Dana Steward, author of "A Rough Sort of Beauty," editor, retired teacher and member of the Ozark Society; and Mike Mills, owner of Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca, where he has built more than 50 cabins and leads canoeists down the river between April and June.

 

About the Author

Ken Smith's life-long accumulation of knowledge about the Buffalo River country, including complete trail and river guides and a fascinating sourcebook for geology and history of the Buffalo river area. All in a compact size, with more than 170 photos, maps, and diagrams. Coordinated with National Geographic Maps, Trails Illustrated. Ken Smith is the author-photographer of the Buffalo River Country, the Ozark Society Books classic now in its ninth printing.

Panelists include

Larry Foley

- Associate professor, broadcast journalism at the University of Arkansas and an award winning independent television producer

Dana Steward

- Editor "A Rough Sort of Beauty" Dana Steward retired english and writing teacher. She has won the top nonfiction award from the Arkansas Literary Society and Memphis Magazine's annual short story competition. She is also the author of "A Fine Age" (August House, 1984). She is a memeber of the Ozark Society.

Mike Mills,

the owner of Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca, Arkansas. Mills has built more than 50 cabins in these woods, and leads canoeists down the river between April and June. He also pilots a hot air balloon, and rents out a series of cute cabins of all sizes, many of which face the sweeping vista we first saw from the main lodge of the River Wind Lodge and Cabins.

Transcript

WELCOME TO ON THE SAME PAGE, I AM TOMMY SANDERS, AND THIS TIME WE'RE COMING TO YOU FROM THAT BOOKSTORE HERE IN CONWAY, ARKANSAS. IF YOU ARE AN ARKANSAS FAMILY, OR A PERSON IN GENERAL WHO IS IN THE OUTDOORS, YOU LIKELY HAVE A COPY OF THIS BOOK, "THE BUFFALO RIVER COUNTRY" WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY KEN SMITH. KEN SMITH HAS A NEW BOOK OUT. IT'S CALLED "BUFFALO RIVER HANDBOOK," AND WE'RE THINKING THIS BOOK WILL BE SEEN IN A LOT OF ARKANSAS HOMES IN THE YEARS TO COME. WE'LL VISIT WITH THE AUTHOR, KEN SMITH, AND A PANEL OF ARKANSAS READERS. KEN SMITH, AND A PANEL OF ARKANSAS READERS. SO STICK AROUND. ♪

KEN SMITH IS THE AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE "BUFFALO RIVER HANDBOOK," AND KEN SMITH FOR THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER HAS BEEN A CONSERVATION, A PARK PLANNER, A DESIGNER AND PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR, AND ON MANY OF THE RIVERS' HIKING TRAILS. YOU ARE WORKING ON ONE RIGHT NOW AS A MATTER OF FACT, IS THAT TRUE?

THAT'S RIGHT, TOMMY. AND, BOY IS IT FUN. (LAUGHTER) 

I CAN IMAGINE.

I CAN'T TELL YOU.

LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH FUN YOU HAD WRITING THIS BOOK. WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR THE WRITING OF THE BOOK? YOU HAD THE BIG BOOK WHICH SO MANY PEOPLE IN ARKANSAS OWN, BUT WHAT WAS THE NEED FOR THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU SET OUT TO DO?

A LOT OF THINGS. I'VE BEEN AROUND THE BUFFALO A LONG TIME, AND IT WAS TIME TO SHARE SOME THINGS THAT I HAD PICKED UP IN THE WAY OF KNOWLEDGE. AND I WAS ALWAYS CURIOUS, AND I AM ALWAYS CURIOUS, AND I WANTED TO FIND OUT MORE. SO I WENT ABOUT FINDING OUT MORE FROM A LOT OF EXPERTS, AND GEOLOGISTS, BIOLOGISTS, HISTORIANS, AND SO ON. IS WHAT I WOULD CALL A SECON SECOND-GENERATION GUIDE BOOK. THE FIRST-GENERATION GUIDE BOOK IS USUALLY TELLING YOU WHERE TO GO -- HOW TO GET TO THE TRAILS, HOW TO GET ON THE RIVER AND SO FORTH. I WANTED TO GET BACK INTO THE WHY AND GET MORE DEPTH. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I GOT INTERESTED IN WAS THE NAMES, THE PLACE NAMES. AND I WAS HOPING PUT TOGETHER A BOOK -- OR RATHER A MAP -- TWO MAPS OF THE BUFFALO FOR TRAILS ILLUSTRATED THERE AND THEY'RE PART OF THE "NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC." AND THERE WERE SOME BLANK SPOTS ON THE MAP. AND FORTUNATELY I FOUND THAT OLD FOLKS WHO COULD FILL -- ONE MAN IN PARTICULAR LIVES NEAR BIG FLAT DOWN NEAR THE LOWER RIVER, AND HE GAVE ME INFORMATION ABOUT THE NAMES OF HOLLOWS, AND RIDGES DOWN THERE.

WELL LET ME ASK YOU RIGHT NOW. WHO NAMED IT THE BUFFALO RIVE RIVER? WHEN DID IT GET THAT NAME?

WE DON'T KNOW. PROBABLY THE INDIANS. BUT MAYBE THE FIRST FRENCH HUNTER OR TRAPPER THAT CAME UP THE WHITE RIVER THAT FAR IN THE AINth CENTURY AND THERE WERE PROBABLY NOTICEABLE NUMBER IN THE BARONS OR PRAIRIE NEAR THE BUFFALO. SO IT BECAME THE BUFFALO RIVER.  SOMEBODY NAMED IT. THE AMERICAN BISON IS THE BUFFALO.

YOU HAVE THREE PARTS TO I IT. YOU HAVE A SOURCE BOOK, AND A GUIDE TO PRETTY MUCH A FLOAT DOWN THE RIVER, AND A GUIDE TO THE HIKING TRAILS OF THE RIVE RIVER. BUT THE SOURCE BOOK STARTS OUT 500 MILLION YEARS AGO. THAT'S A LOT TO BITE OFF.

WELL, AROUND 500 MILLION WAS WHEN THE ROCK THAT IS PRESENT ALONG THE BUFFALO WAS LAID DOWN A SEDIMENT IN ANCIENT SEAS. AND THE SEAS CAME AND WENT, AND VARIOUS LAYERS, DIFFERENT TYPES OF ROCK WERE LAID DOWN FROM TIME TO TIME OVER 100 AND -- WHAT IS IT? 180 MILLION YEARS, I BELIEVE THAT IT IS. AND SO THERE IT IS NOW. OF COURSE, ABOUT 300 MILLION YEARS AGO THE LAND BECAME LAND PERMANENTLY. IT WAS NOT SUBMERGED AGAIN. AND THAT WAS WHEN THE EROSION THAT SHAPED THAT COUNTRY BEGA BEGAN.

SO WATER AND WIND IS THE REASON THAT WE HAVE THESE MAGNIFICENT CLIFFS THAT EVERYONE ASSOCIATES WITH THE BUFFALO.

YEAH. AND IT HAS HAPPENED IN WAYS THAT WE DON'T KNOW -- OR AT LEAST THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS OVER 300 MILLION YEARS IS NOT CERTAIN. WE CAN GUESS AT IT, BUT AS THE OLD GERMAN SAID, I WAS NOT THERE. (LAUGHTER) 

THAT'S RIGHT. THAT'S THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT. WE WEREN'T THERE TO KNOW. BUT IT'S FASCINATING, AND YOU CAN READ THE BOOK AND GET AN IDEA OF THE TRADEMARK CLIFFS AND HOW THEY CAME ABOUT THROUGH THE YEARS. AND ALSO EXTENSIVE WRITING ON THE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY OF THIS AREA WHICH YOU SAY IS AKIN TO MORE HIGHER AND MRI SHAN CLIMATES THAN THE REST OF ARKANSAS AS A WHOLE.

VARIOUS CLIMATES, AND THE CLIMATE HAS CHANGED OVER THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS OF YEAR YEARS, WHAT CAN I SAY? ANOTHER THING IS THAT YOU HAVE A VARIETY OF EXPOSURES TODAY THAT MAKE FOR VERY DIFFERENT LIFE FORMS, OR COLLECTIONS OF LIFE FORM. THE SOUTH SIDE OF A RIDGE UP THERE, IT CAN BE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT IN ITS PLANT COMMUNITY FROM THE NORTHSIDE. AND I GUESS THAT GOES FOR ANIMALS TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, TOO.

THAT'S WHY YOU SEE THE BIG BEACH FOREST ON NORTHSIDE OF THE RIDGES, AND SOMETHING ON THE SOUTH SIDE.

GREEN BRIER. (LAUGHTER) 

THAT'S WHAT YOU WOULD CALL IT.

A SUN-LOVING PLANT CALLED GREEN BRIER. (LAUGHTER)  I KNOW THAT VERY WELL.

IT'S ALL IN THE BOOK. IT'S VERY FASCINATING. AND THEN WE GO THROUGH THE HUMAN HISTORY AS WELL IN THIS FIRST SECTION OF THE BOOK. A LOT OF HIGHLIGHTS THERE. AS YOU MENTIONED, A LOT OF ARTICLES THAT YOU WORK UP AND WORK INTO THE TEXT, AND SOMETIMES JUST SET THERE AS INSERTS, VISITS WITH PEOPLE LIKE YOU MENTIONED, THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE GIVEN YOU THE HUMAN HISTORY THAT'S NOT WRITTEN DOWN. YOU HAD TO DO A LOT OF LEG WORK TO GET A LOT OF THESE THINGS.

WELL, A LOT OF THAT HISTORY, OF COURSE, IS TIED INTO SPECIFIC PLACES, AND IT WAS AN IDEA OF GIVING SOME DEPTH TO THE HISTORY OF A PLACE LIKE WILLEM WHICH IS NOTHING MORE THAN A LANDING ON THE RIVER, BUT IT HAD AN IDENTITY AS A COMMUNITY, OR JUST ACROSS THE RIVER IN RICHLAND VALLEY IN THE TRAIL GUIDE I TALK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY OF POINT PETER. IT ALL HAD PRETTY WELL DISAPPEARED 50 YEARS AGO, BUT BACK IN THE 19th CENTURY IT HAD A POST OFFICE.

A LOT OF LOST TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES ALL UP AND DOWN THE BUFFALO RIVER.

OH, YEAH.

IT'S FASCINATING TO READ ABOUT THEM IN THE BOOK. AND THE HUMAN HISTORY KIND OF CONCLUDES WITH YOUR ACCOUNT OF HOW THE RIVER ESCAPED BEING DAMNED FOR HYDROELECTRIC AND FLOOD-CONTROL PURPOSES, WHICH IS REMARKABLE IN ITSELF, RIGHT?

THAT WAS A CONTROVERSY THAT WENT ON FOR 10 YEARS, AND IT IS TYPICAL MORE OR LESS OF ALL OF THE CONTROVERSIES THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE OVER THE CREATION OF THE NATIONAL PARK AREAS. THERE IS ALWAYS A LOCAL COMMUNITY LOOKING FOR ECONOMIC BETTERMENT, AND A LARGER COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE THE AREA WHO SEE THE PLACE AS UNIQUE IN A LARGER SENSE, UNIQUE IN THE CASE OF ANY NATIONAL PARK AREA, I'D SAY, UNIQUE IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES, AND THE BUFFALO AS THE MOST SPECTACULAR SCENERY OF ANY RIVER IN THE OZARKS. NOW, OVER IN MISSOURI THEY HAVE THE CURRENT RIVER WITH ITS BEAUTIFUL SPRINGS, BUT THE HIGHER BLUFFS ON THE BUFFALO ARE, IN A SENSE, A MATCH FOR THOSE FEATURES ON THE CURRENT RIVER.

WE'RE LUCKY TO HAVE IT, AND I THINK THAT WE CAN AGREE ON THAT. THAT'S THE FIRST PART OF THE BOOK, THE SOURCE BOOK. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH AS MUCH AS I CAN IN THE SHORT TIME THAT I'VE OWNED THE BOOK. IT'S FASCINATING. THE SECOND PART OF THE BOOK, EQUALLY FASCINATING, PART NUMBER 2 IS A FLOAT DOWN THE RIVER. IT'S EVERY INCH OF THE RIVER. HOW DID YOU IMAGINE TO PUT ALL OF THAT INFORMATION IN? DO YOU JUST GO DOWN AND WRITE IT DOWN AS YOU GO? DO YOU DICTATES TO YOURSELF? HOW DOES IT WORK?

I TAKE NOTES A LOT OF TIMES. A LOT OF THAT FLOAT ALONG THE RIVER IS TIED INTO THE FEATURES, THE HISTORIC FEATUR FEATURES AND NATURAL FEATURES THAT ARE TOUCHED ON IN THE FIRST PART OF THE BOOK. I SEE THE BOOK AS REALLY INTERLOCKING WHAT YOU HAVE IN THAT FIRST PART IS JUST BUILDING YOU UP TO THE RIVER GUIDE AND THE TRAIL GUIDE IN THE THIRD PART OF THE BOOK.

AND YOU GO OVER -- HOW MANY MILES OF TRAIL? 120? 130 MILES OF TRAILS IN THE BUFFALO RIVER AREA?

ABOUT 120 MILES OF TRAIL. I'VE NEVER SHAVED IT DOWN VERY FINELY TO FIND OUT EXACTLY.

HAVE YOU TRIED EVERY STEP OF THAT?

JUST ABOUT, UH-HUH. GUESS I HAVE EVERY STEP.

YOU'VE BUILT A LOT OF THE TRAIL.

I BUILT A LOT OF TRAIL. WE HAVE USED VOLUNTEERS OVER THE YEARS SINCE THE LATE 1980 1980s. ALSO, A PARK SERVICE TRAI TRAIL-PROOF FOR A FEW YEARS. THEY HAD A APPROPRIATION TO BUILD TRAILS IN THE VICINITY OF TYLER BEND, FOR EXAMPLE, AND WE HAD A EMPLOYED CREW. I WAS SUPERVISING THEM. BUT MORE OF THE TIME IS WITH VOLUNTEERS. AND THEY'VE COME FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AT TIMES BECAUSE WE'VE USED NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE SIERRA CLUB AND AMERICAN HIKING SOCIETY TO RECRUIT THESE VOLUNTEERS. AT ONE TIME I HAD COUNTED, I THINK, 30 STATES, AND TWO OR THREE FOREIGN COUNTRIES THAT WERE REPRESENTATIVES AMONG THESE VOLUNTEERS.

THAT'S FASCINATING, TOO. AND THAT'S PART, I GUESS, THE RIVER DOESN'T CHANGE. THE HISTORY DOESN'T CHANGE. BUT AS YOU REVISE THIS BOOK IN THE YEARS TO COME, THE TRAILS ARE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO REVISE THE MOST, RIGHT?

THAT'S RIGHT. YOU'VE HIT IT! AND WE'RE BUILDING OR JUST BEGINNING TO BUILD NEXT YEAR A 25-MILE STRETCH OF TRAIL. IF IT'S DONE PRINCIPALLY WITH VOLUNTEERS, IT WILL TAKE SEVERAL YEARS, FIVE, SIX YEARS MAYBE. AND WHEN THAT 25 MILES IS COMPLETE, CERTAINLY I WOULD HOPE TO COME OUT WITH A REVISION, JUST AN EXPANSION OF THE BOOK REALLY.

TO ADD MORE PAGES IN THERE, BECAUSE THAT WILL BE SOME FASCINATING STUFF. I THINK THAT YOU TOLD US FROM HIGHWAY 65 TO HIGHWAY 14.

THAT'S RIGHT ABOUT.  25 MILES.

THAT'S GOOD NEW STUFF. IS THERE AN OVERALL PURPOSE? DO YOU HAVE AN OVERALL PURPOSE IN THE BOOK TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO TREASURE THE BUFFALO? TO LOOK AFTER THE BUFFALO?

TOMMY, YOU ARE HITTING AT IT RIGHT THERE. AND AT THE VERY END OF THE BOOK THERE IS A OBSCURE LITTLE SECTION CALLED "CONCLUSION."  TWO PAGES, I BELIEVE. THAN IS WHAT I HOPE EVERYBODY WILL READ AND TAKE TO HEART. IT MEANS NOT ONLY PROTECTING THE BUFFALO, BUT THINKING ABOUT THE LARGER PROBLEM OF ENVIRONMENT, PEOPLE, AND CONSUMPTION. THERE ARE THREE PARTS TO THAT LITTLE BALANCE OR EQUATION, AND I THINK THAT IS THE LARGEST PROBLEM FACING PEOPLE WORLDWIDE REALLY. IT'S NOT REALLY ARKANSAS.

IT'S NOT JUST THE BUFFALO.

IT'S NOT JUST THE UNITED STATES. IT'S NOT JUST NORTH AMERICA, BUT IT'S A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE. AND WHAT WE DO IN THAT LARGER CONTEXT WITH THAT LARGER PROBLEM IS GOING TO AFFECT THE QUALITY OF THE BUFFALO RIVER THAT WE WILL HAVE TO -- THINGS FROM OUTSIDE THE BUFFALO RIVER ARE GOING TO HAVE IMPACT ON THE BUFFALO AND AT THE SAME TIME OUR LIVES IN GENERAL.

CAN IT STAY THE WAY IT IS FOR ANOTHER 400, 500 YEARS, ANOTHER MILLENNIUM?

IF WE IN SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS TAKE CARE OF IT, IF WE COME TO A BALANCE BETWEEN THAT BALANCE BETWEEN POPULATION, CONSUMPTION, RESOURCES, THEN WE WILL HAVE THE BUFFALO RIVER, OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL HAVE IT ON THROUGH THE GENERATIONS.

ALL RIGHT. THE BOOK IS CALLED "THE BUFFALO RIVER HANDBOOK."  KEN SMITH IS THE AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER. DON'T FORGET TO READ THE "CONCLUSION," RIGHT?

THAT'S RIGHT.

WE'LL TAKE A QUICK BREAK. WHEN WE COME BACK WE'LL HAVE A PANEL OF ARKANSAS READERS AND EXPERT OF BUFFALOS YOU MIGHT SAY TO TALK ABOUT THE BOOK. EXPERT OF BUFFALOS YOU MIGHT SAY TO TALK ABOUT THE BOOK. SO STICK AROUND. 

WE'RE BACK READY TO TALK TO OUR READERS ABOUT THE BUFFALO RIVER HANDBOOK. I WANT TO INTRODUCE THEM TO YOU INCLUDING LARRY FOLEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS, AWARD-WINNING, INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCER. BEFORE HE BECAME SO INDEPENDENT HE WAS ACTUALLY A FULL-TIME PRODUCER FOR THIS NETWORK, FOR AETN. IT'S GOOD HAVE YOU BACK HERE. LANA STUART IS A WRITER FORMALLY TAUGHT AT HENDRICKS COLLEGE, LOOKS WITH THE LITTLEROCK WRITING PROJECT. WE SHOULD IN A SENSE OF DISCLOSURE SAY SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE OZARK SOCIETY WHO IS THE PUBLISHER. AND MIKE MILLS, FOUNDER AND OP RARITY OF THE BUFFALO OUTDOOR CENTER WHICH WAS SET UP WHEN THE NATIONAL RIVER DESIGNATION WAS BRAND-NEW UP THERE IN NORTH ARKANSAS. HE HAS DONE AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF WORK FOR ARKANSAS AND BUFFALO IN GENERAL, AND THE FACE OF THE BUFFALO RIVER WHEN THE PEOPLE FROM THE MAGAZINES AND TVS COME, THEY FIND THIS GUY AND TALK TO HIM ABOUT THE BUFFALO RIVER. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. IS THIS A BOOK THAT YOU SIT DOWN AND READ? DO YOU KEEP IT LIKE KEEP THE ENCYCLOPEDIA? YOU GO FOR WHAT YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED IT?

BOTH.

YOU'VE READ IT ALL?

I'VE READ IT ALL. I ENJOYED IT AS A READ. BUT I ALSO PLAN TO TAKE IT WITH ME WHEN I CANOE.

USING IT FOR BOTH.

MIKE, DID YOU READ IT ALL?

YES, SIR. I WOULD AGREE WITH THAT. KEN SAYS THAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TAKE IT OFF AND JUST READ BITS AND PIECES, BUT CERTAINLY THE ENTIRE BOOK IS REAL READABLE. AND YOU LEARN SO MUCH IN DOING SO. AND THEN I CAN UNDERSTAND THE GOING BACK AND GETTING IT AGAIN BECAUSE YOU CAN'T DIGEST IT ALL THE FIRST TIME. SO YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO BACK AND REALLY WHEN YOU ARE THERE ON THE SPOT WHEN -- OR THE EVENING AFTER WHEN IT WOULD REALLY BE GREAT.

THAT'S WHEN IT COULD COME ALIVE 4. YOU READ IT ALL LASHTIONRY?

ABSOLUTELY, TOMMY. THERE ARE BOOKS THAT HAVE LOTS OF PRETTY PICTURES IN THEM, AND THIS HAS NICE PICTURES, TOO, AND BOOKS OUT THERE ABOUT HIKING THE TRAILS, BUT ONE THING THAT KEN DOES GOOD WITH THIS IS THAT HE REALLY TELLS THE HISTORY, THE WHOLE STORY OF THE BUFFALO. YOU KNOW, THE GEOLOGY, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE BUFFAL BUFFALO, STORY OF THE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THE MINING, YOU KNO KNOW, THE FLOATERS, THE EARLY SETTLERS, THE BUY NEARS.  -- PIONEERS. IT'S A REALLY GOOD READ. IT'S TWO THINGS. IT'S A GOOD BOOK IF YOU LIKE THE BUFFALO. IT'S A PLACE YOU WANT TO GO TO OR YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST. IT'S ALSO A GOOD BOOK TO THROW IN THE CAR WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO GO UP THERE AND FLOAT OR HIKE THE NEXT TIME BECAUSE IT'S A GOOD REFERENCE AND IT WILL TAKE YOU TO SOME INTERESTING PLACES THAT MAKE KEN HAS BEEN TO THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GO TO.

YOU HAVE WON AWARDS FOR YOUR RESEARCH, JUST YOUR RESEARCH, LET'S NOT TALK BURR FILMS, BUT YOUR RESEARCH, AND HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE QUALITY OF KEN SMITH'S RESEARCH ON THIS?

IT'S VERY THOROUGH, VERY COMPLETE. THE BOOK IS CRISPLY WRITTEN WHICH AS A JOURNALISM TEACHER IS IMPORTANT. IT'S A REAL INTERESTING READ. KEN IS METICULOUS WITH THE INFORMATION THAT HE HAS ACQUIRED FOR THIS BOOK. AND I WOULD RATE THIS AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF WORK, TOMMY, IMPORTANT FOR NOT ONLY THOSE OF HOUSE WANT TO GO TO THE BUFFALO NOW AND WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE STORY, BUT LET'S JUST SAY THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO DO A DOCUMENTARY ON THE BUFFALO WHICH IS NOT A HALF BAD IDEA.

YOU'VE BEEN WANTING TO DO THAT FOR A LONG TIME.

EXACTLY. THIS IS THE FIRST PLACE GO RIGHT HERE.

THAT'S A GREAT POINT! DANNY, YOU ARE A OZARK SOCIETY MEMBER, YOU ARE A WRITING AND WRITING TEACHER. YOU WOULD BE A TOUGH CUSTOMER TO PLEASE WITH A BOOK LIKE THIS. HOW DOES IT STACK UP FOR YOU?

WELL, BEYOND ALL OF THAT, ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, KEN SAYS HE IS A CURIOUS GUY WHO WANTED TO KNOW MORE. AND WANT TO KNOW WHY. AND AS A WRITER AND WRITING TEACHER I THINK THAT THERE IS A LARGE PIECE OF US THAT WANTS TO DO THAT. SO HE TELLS US WHY, AND DOES A GOOD JOB OF TELLING US WHY. I AGREE THAT IT'S CRISPLY WRITTEN, BUT ALSO IT'S A CHARMING NARRATIVE AT TIMES. CHARMING NARRATIVE, ARM CHAIR NARRATIVE. THE SOURCE BOOK IS THE FIRST PART OF THE BOOK IS JUST A GOOD READ.

YOU READ THIS, AND YOU FIND ALL OF THIS WONDERFUL INFORMATION, BUT YOU SORT OF TAKE FOR GRANTED, YOU KNOW, THAT THIS IS EASY TO WRITE. IT'S NOT EASY TO TAKE THIS RAW INFORMATION AND TRANSFORM IT INTO SOMETHING THAT'S READABL READABLE, RIGHT?

IN FACT, I THINK THAT THE READER -- THAT IS A DIFFICULTY FOR THE READER. THERE IS SO MUCH HERE THAT ACCESSING IT, YOU JUST SORT OF HAVE TO GO WITH THE WAY KEN GOES.

AND DOG EAR HERE AND THERE.

THAT'S RIGHT. (LAUGHTER) 

OR HIGHLIGHT IT. I'VE GOT IT ALL HIGHLIGHTED.

THEY SAY YOU SHOULDN'T DOG EAR BECAUSE BOOK RURS FRIENDS AND YOU WOULDN'T DO THAT TO YOUR FRIENDS.

I FLATTERED THAT YOU WOULD PUT ME IN THAT CATEGORY.

EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT. I DON'T THINK THAT I AM WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BUFFALO. MUCH OF WHAT I HAVE LEARNED CAME FROM KEN'S FIRST BOOK, AND THAT'S WHAT THIS IS JUST AN EXTENSION OF THAT BOOK. THE RIVER MILEAGE, THE NAMES OF THE BLUFFS, THE NAMES OF THE SWIMMING HOLES, AND NOT ONLY THE NAMES, BUT HOW THAT NAME GOT ATTACHED TO THAT SPOT. THOSE ARE THINGS THAT AN AN INTERPRETER LIKE MYSELF WHO DEALS WITH THOUSANDS OF TOU TOURIST AS YEAR, I CAN USE THAT AS A RESOURCE TO DRAW A MORE EDUCATED PICTURE FOR A GUEST.

AND HUMANIZE A LOT OF THE PLACES.

AND HUMANIZE THEM. AND I'VE DONE THAT FOR YEARS, ONCE AGAIN, NOT ONLY FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE, BUT BASICALLY USING KEN SMITH'S RESEARCH THAT HE DID ON HIS FIRST BOOK. ALL HE HAS DONE IS JUST DONE A WHOLE LOT MORE RESEARCH AND APPLIED IT IN A DIFFERENT MANNER. AND WHEN IT'S -- WHEN THE TITLE OF IT IS "BUFFALO RIVER HANDBOOK," THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THIS IS THE TYPE OF BOOK YOU PUT RIGHT NEXT TO THE WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY AND THE BIBLE. BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT IS. IT'S THE BOOK THAT YOU WILL REFER TO OVER AND OVER AGAIN ABOUT THE BUFFALO RIVER.

IT IS THE ESSENTIAL. AND IT IS THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BUFFALO RIVER. I GUESS AS FAR AS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW. THE STYLE IS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD. AND DANA MENTIONED THAT. IT'S WHAT WE CALL TRANSPARENT IN THAT IT DOESN'T ATTEMPT TO EDITORIALIZE. YOU DON'T READ IT AND SAY, "WOW THIS, GUY IS REALLY TR TRYING TO WRITE REAL HARD."  YOU KNOW, IT'S STRAIGHTFORWARD. THAT'S HARD WRITING TO DO. IT'S HARDER THAN IT SEEMS, BECAUSE IT SEEMS EASY TO READ, AND YOU THINK THIS, IS EASY. BUT IT'S NOT.

I DON'T REMEMBER WHO SAID THIS, BUT I'VE HEARD IT SAID THAT GOOD WRITING GOES UNNOTICED. YOU KNOW, YOU ARE NOT REALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PROES, BUT YOU ARE JUST LOOKING AT THE INFORMATION. HE BRINGS FORTH SOME REALLY INTERESTING STORIES. EVEN IF YOU THINK THAT YOU KNOW THE BUFFALO RIVER AND YOU KNOW THE STORY, WELL, MAYBE YOU DON'T KNOW THAT THE TYLER BEND WAS NAMED AFTER A GUY WHO -- EITHER HIM OR HIS FAMILY -- YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE THAT LIV LIVED UP ON THE BUFFALO, TOMM TOMMY, TRIED TO STAY OUT OF THE CIVIL WAR. THEY TRIED NOT TAKE A SIDE. THE CONFEDERATES CAME UP HERE AND GOT THESE GUYS AND DRAGGED THEM OFF TO THE WAR, AND MR. TYLER DIED IN THE WAR.  WHO KNEW THAT? AS MANY TIMES AS I HAVE BEEN TO TYLER BEND, I DIDN'T KNOW THAT AND MY FAVORITE STORIES ARE ALWAYS THE STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE. A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW THAT ORVILL FALBUSS HAD QUITE A BIT TO DO WITH THE RIVER OF NOT BEING DAMMED. YOU WILL FIND THAT IN THE BOOK. AND THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS ABOUT THE PEOPLE, PLACE NAMES, THE IMPACT THAT VARIOUS PEOPLE HAD ON THE -- THOMAS HART BEN BENTTON. HE IS A BIG PART OF THE BOOK.

A LOT OF THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HIM, AND HOW OFTEN HE WOULD COME TO THE BUFFALO RIVER IS REALLY QUITE FASCINATING. KEN SMITH HAS RESISTED THE TEMPTATION TO OVERTLY EDITORIALIZE IN THIS BOOK.

I AGREE.

HE LET'S THE FACTS DO THE TALKING. DO YOU LIKE THAT? WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A LITTLE MORE OPINION OR PASSION IN THERE?

NO. I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT. AND PROBABLY ONE OF THE GREA GREATEST GIFTS THAT KEN GIVES US IS SIMPLY TO TELL THE STORY. EVEN THE CONTROVERSY OF THE RIVER THE OZARK SOCIETY HAS OTHER BOOKS THAT TALK ABOUT THAT CONTROVERSY. BUT KEN SIMPLY SAYS, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED. AND YOU ARE ALLOWED TO FORM YOUR OWN ON THAT. HE DOES NOT TRY TO TAKE YOU OVER. THAT WAS, TO ME, VERY GOOD WRITING.

HE ASSUMES THAT THE READER IS FAIRLY INTELLIGENT.

EXACTLY. HE ASSUMES THE READ LETTER HAVE A MIND AND BRING IT TO BEAR IN THAT BOOK.

THAT'S REALLY GOOD. THAT'S ONE OF THE MAIN ATTRIBUTES OF THE BOOK TO ME. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE SEEN MORE OF, MIKE MILLS, FOR THE SFWHOOBING OR DO YOU THINK THAT IT'S PRETTY COMPLETE?

THE ONLY THING THAT YOU CAN ADD TO IT IS MORE OF KEN'S PHOTOGRAPHS. HAVING SEEN THEM, HOW HE GOT DOWN TO THE FEW PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE BOOK WAS A NIGHTMARE I'M SURE. GOING FROM 200 TO HOW MANY ARE IN THE BOOK WOULD HAVE BEEN A HUGE CHORE. I KNOW HIS PHOTOGRAPHY, AND HE HAS GOT FABULOUS STUFF. I THOUGHT HE DID A REALLY GOOD JOB OF -- EVEN THE STUFF THAT YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT IT. THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE CLEARED LAND IN 1965, AND THE CLEARED LAND IN 2000. THAT HAS AN IMPACT WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT. YOU ARE THINKING, HOLY SMOKE! AND THAT SORT OF THE CLOSING GIVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE RIVER, AND HOW EVERY SINGLE PERSON, VISITORS FROM KANSAS CITY OR LOUISIANA HAVE THE SAME RESPONSIBILITY AS DO THOSE OF US WHO ACTUALLY LIVE RIGHT THERE. AND I THINK THAT THAT'S PART OF THE GREATNESS OF THIS PARTICULAR BOOK IS WITHOUT BEING A TREE-HUGGER BOOK, IT REALLY GIVES A MESSAGE FOR EVERYBODY TO HEAR.

HOW IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF ARKANSAS IS THE BUFFALO RIVER? HOW VALUABLE IS IT TO THEM?

I DON'T THINK THAT YOU CAN PUT A DOLLAR VALUE ON IT. I ALWAYS TELL GUESTS AT THE BUFFALO OUTDOOR CENTER THAT THIS RIVER WILL HOLD ITS OWN WITH ANY RIVER ON EARTH. AND WHEN YOU THINK OF THAT, YOU'RE TALKING THE GRAND CANYON, IN CHILE, ALASKAN RIVERS, THE NILE, ANY RIVER ON EARTH. THE BUFFALO RIVER WILL HOLD ITS KNOWN COMPARISON TO THAT RIVER.

SO IT'S VERY VALUABLE.

IT'S PROBABLY THE CROWN JEWEL OF ARKANSAS NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM PRODUCTS.

DO YOU THINK THAT THE BOOK DOES A GOOD JOB OF CONVEYING THAT SENSE OF VALUE? OF CONVEYING WHAT THE REALLY IS WORTH TO ALL OF US?

I THINK THAT IT DOES IN THAT ASPECT AS FAR AS, ONCE AGAIN, HE IS TELLING A STORY HERE. HE IS NOT TRYING TO SELL THE RIVER. HE IS TELLING A STORY. SO ONCE AGAIN, I WILL REFER BACK TO HOW IT'S THE WAY HE WANTS TO US PROTECT IT. THAT'S WHERE THAT VALUE COMES OUT AT. AND THAT'S KEN, REALLY, THE UNDERNEATH KEN. AND I'VE KNOWN HIM SINCE 1967, AND THAT'S HIM. AND SO THAT'S THE MESSAGE THERE. THE VALUE IS NOT PROJECTED, IT'S JUST UNDERLYING.

BUT YOU CAN FIND IT.

YOU CAN FIND IT.

YOU CAN FIND IT IN THERE. WHAT ELSE BESIDES THE TYLER BEND THING THAT YOU FOUND IN THE BOOK THAT SURPRISED YOU, LARRY FOLEY?

THERE WERE A LOT OF THINGS IN THERE. I HAD BEEN BY RUSH, THAT'S WHERE THE GHOST TOWN IS, AND I KNEW THAT IT WAS AN ABANDONED MINING TOWN, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY MINED THERE. AND I'VE BEEN TO THE BUFFALO MANY, MANY TIMES. BUT HE GOES INTO TALKING ABOUT THAT. AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THE DEPTH OF WHAT KEN WRITES ABOUT IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANYTHING. MAYBE HE KNEW A LITTLE BIT OF SOMETHING, BUT GOES INTO MORE DEPTH. AND JUST TO PICK UP ON WHAT MIKE WAS SAYING, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE THE BUFFALO. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU ARE READING THIS BOOK IS THAT YOU FEEL THE WAY KEN FEELS ABOUT IT, AND HOW IMPORTANT THAT HE FEELS. IT IS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE. IT'S SORT OF BECOME HIS SPECIAL PLACE LIKE IT'S BECOME A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S SPECIAL PLACE. AND, YOU KNOW, GOODNESS KNOWS HOW MUCH TIME HE SPENT WORKING ON THIS. BUT I THINK WE ARE GRATEFUL, AND I THINK THAT GENERATIONS ARE GOING TO BE GRATEFUL THAT HE DID THIS WORK BECAUSE IT REALLY IS GOING TO BE AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF WORK FOR A LONG TIME, I THINK.

ALL RIGHT. LARRY FOLEY, MIKE MILLS, DANA STUART, THANK YOU FOR COMING DOWN HERE AND VISITING WITH US ON THIS ONE. GOOD JOB. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY ON ON THE SAME PAGE. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY ON ON THE SAME PAGE. AND WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

YOU CAN CARRY IT WITH YOU IN THE CANOE. IT'S EASY.

THE IDEA IS THAT YOU CAN TAKE IT, AND IT'S AN ALL-YEAR GUIDE TO THE RIVER AND THAT THE BUFFALO IS AN ALL-YEAR, OR WHAT I WILL CALL A SCENIC RESOURCE.

THE BUFFALO RIVER HAND BOOK IS COORDINATED WITH TRAILS ILLUSTRATED TOP GRAPHIC MAPS.

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