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The Arkansas
Arkansas
River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States
United States
in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas
Arkansas
River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas. At 1,469 miles (2,364 km), it is the sixth-longest river in the United States,[7] the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi–Missouri system, and the 45th longest river in the world. Its origin is in the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
in Lake County, Colorado, near Leadville. In 1859, placer gold discovered in the Leadville area brought thousands seeking to strike it rich, but the easily recovered placer gold was quickly exhausted.[8] The Arkansas
Arkansas
River's mouth is at Napoleon, Arkansas, and its drainage basin covers nearly 170,000 sq mi (440,300 km²).[5] In terms of volume, the river is much smaller than the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, with a mean discharge of roughly 41,000 cubic feet per second (1,200 m3/s). The Arkansas
Arkansas
from its headwaters to the 100th meridian west
100th meridian west
formed part of the U.S.-Mexico border
U.S.-Mexico border
from the Adams–Onís Treaty
Adams–Onís Treaty
(in force 1821) until the Texas Annexation
Texas Annexation
or Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Contents

1 Pronunciations 2 Hydrography 3 Allocation problems 4 Riverway commerce 5 The river in history

5.1 American Civil War 5.2 Post Civil War

6 Angling 7 Image gallery 8 Notes 9 See also 10 References 11 External links

Pronunciations[edit] Name pronunciation varies by region. Many people in western states, including Kansas
Kansas
and Colorado, pronounce it /ɑːrˈkænzəs/ ar-KAN-zəs,[9] People in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and Arkansas
Arkansas
typically pronounce it /ˈɑːrkənsɔː/ AR-kən-saw, which is how the state is always pronounced according to a state law passed in 1881.[10] Hydrography[edit]

The headwaters of the Arkansas
Arkansas
near Leadville, Colorado

The Arkansas
Arkansas
has three distinct sections in its long path through central North America. At its headwaters, the Arkansas
Arkansas
runs as a steep fast-flowing mountain river through the Rockies in its narrow valley, dropping 4,600 feet (1.4 km) in 120 miles (193 km).[11] This section supports extensive whitewater rafting, including The Numbers (near Granite, Colorado), Brown's Canyon, and the Royal Gorge. At Cañon City, Colorado, the Arkansas
Arkansas
River valley widens and flattens markedly. Just west of Pueblo, Colorado, the river enters the Great Plains. Through the rest of Colorado, Kansas, and much of Oklahoma, it is a typical Great Plains
Great Plains
riverway, with wide, shallow banks subject to seasonal flooding and periods of dwindling flow. Tributaries include the Cimarron River and the Salt Fork Arkansas River. In eastern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
the river begins to widen further into a more contained consistent channel. To maintain more reliable flow rates, a series of large reservoir lakes have been built on the Arkansas
Arkansas
and its intersecting tributaries including the Canadian, Verdigris, Neosho (Grand), Illinois, and Poteau rivers.[12] These locks and dams allow the river to be navigable by barges and large river craft downriver of Muskogee, Oklahoma, where the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System joins in with the Verdigris River. Into western Arkansas, the river path works between the encroaching Boston and Ouachita Mountains, including many isolated, flat-topped mesas, buttes, or monadnocks such as Mount Nebo, Petit Jean Mountain, and Mount Magazine, the highest point in the state. The river valley then expands as it encounters much flatter land beginning just west of Little Rock, Arkansas. It continues eastward across the plains and forests of eastern Arkansas
Arkansas
until it flows into the Mississippi River. Water flow in the Arkansas
Arkansas
River (as measured in central Kansas) has dropped from approximately 248 cubic feet per second (7 m³/s) average from 1944-1963 to 53 cubic feet per second (1.5 m³/s) average from 1984–2003, largely because of the pumping of groundwater for irrigation in eastern Colorado
Colorado
and western Kansas. Important cities along the Arkansas
Arkansas
River include Pueblo, Colorado, Garden City, Kansas, Dodge City, Kansas, Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Little Rock, Arkansas. The I-40 bridge disaster
I-40 bridge disaster
of May 2002 took place on I-40's crossing of Kerr Reservoir on the Arkansas
Arkansas
River near Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. Allocation problems[edit] Since 1902, Kansas
Kansas
has claimed Colorado
Colorado
takes too much of the river's water, resulting in a number of lawsuits before the U.S. Supreme Court that continue to this day,[13] generally under the name of Kansas
Kansas
v. Colorado. The problems over the possession and use of Arkansas
Arkansas
River water by Colorado
Colorado
and Kansas
Kansas
led to the creation of an interstate compact or agreement between the two states.[13] While Congress approved the Arkansas
Arkansas
River Compact in 1949,[13] the compact did not stop further disputes by the two states over water rights to the river. The Kansas- Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Arkansas
Arkansas
River Basin Compact was created in 1965 to promote mutual consideration and equity over water use in the basin shared by those states. It led to the Kansas- Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Arkansas
Arkansas
River Commission, which was charged with administering the compact and reducing pollution. The compact was approved and implemented by both states in 1970, and has been in force since then.[12] Riverway commerce[edit]

Inland waterway system with McClellan-Kerr Navigational Channel shown in red

The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System begins at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa
Tulsa Port of Catoosa
on the Verdigris River, enters the Arkansas River near Muskogee, and runs via an extensive lock and dam system to the Mississippi River. Through Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and Arkansas, dams which artificially deepen and widen the river to sustain commercial barge traffic and recreational use give the river the appearance of a series of reservoirs.[citation needed] The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System diverts from the Arkansas
Arkansas
River 2.5 mi (4.0 km) upstream of the Wilbur D. Mills Dam to avoid the long winding route which the lower Arkansas River follows. This circuitous portion of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River between the Wilbur D. Mills Dam
Wilbur D. Mills Dam
and the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
was historically bypassed by river vessels; early steamboats instead following a network of rivers—known as the Arkansas
Arkansas
Post Canal—which flowed north of the lower Arkansas
Arkansas
River and followed a shorter and more direct route to the Mississippi River. When the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System was constructed between 1963 and 1970, the Arkansas
Arkansas
Post Canal was significantly improved, while the lower Arkansas
Arkansas
River continued to be bypassed by commercial vessels.[14] The river in history[edit]

Arkansas
Arkansas
River in Colorado, with Mount Harvard
Mount Harvard
in distance, circa 1867. Photo by William Henry Jackson.

Many nations of Native Americans lived near, or along, the 1,450-mile (2334-km) stretch of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see the river were members of the Spanish Coronado expedition on June 29, 1541. Also in the 1540s, Hernando de Soto discovered the junction of the Arkansas
Arkansas
with the Mississippi. The Spanish originally called the river Napeste.[12] "The name "Arkansas" was first applied by Father Jacques Marquette, who called the river Akansa in his journal of 1673. The Joliet-Marquette expedition travelled the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin towards the Gulf of Mexico, but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River. By that time, they had encountered Native Americans carrying European trinkets, and feared confrontation with Spanish conquistadors. Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, a French trader, explorer and nobleman had led an expedition into what is now Oklahoma
Oklahoma
in 1718-19. His original objective was to establish a trading post near the present city of Texarkana, Arkansas, but he then extended his trip overland as far north as the Arkansas
Arkansas
River (which he designated as the Alcansas). The explorer wrote he and 9 other men, including three Caddo guides and 22 horses loaded with trade goods had come to a native settlement overlooking the river, where there were about 6,000 natives, who gave the strangers a warm welcome. La Harpe's party were honored with the calumet ceremony and spent ten days at this location. In 1988, evidence of a native village was discovered along the Arkansas
Arkansas
River 13 miles (21 km) south of present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma. By then, the site was known as the Lasley Vore Site.[15][a] French traders and trappers who had opened up trade with Indian tribes in Canada and the areas around the Great Lakes began exploring the Mississippi and some of its northern tributaries. They soon learned that the birch-bark canoes, which had served them so well on the northern waterways, were too light for use on the southern rivers, such as the Arkansas. They turned to making and using dugout canoes, which they called pirogues, made by hollowing out the trunks of cottonwood trees.[b] Cottonwoods are plentiful along the streams of the southwest and grow to large sizes. The wood is soft and easily worked with the crude tools carried by both the French and Indians. The pirogues were sturdier and could be more for navigating the sandbars and snags of the Southern waterways.[16] In 1819, the Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
set the Arkansas
Arkansas
as part of the frontier between the United States
United States
and Spanish Mexico. This continued until the United States
United States
annexed Texas
Texas
after the Mexican-American War, in 1846. The treaty was made shortly after "Old Settler" Cherokees moved to near what became known as Webbers Falls on the Arkansas River. That area, then part of Arkansas
Arkansas
Territory would become Indian Territory and later Oklahoma, was traditional territory of the Osage, leading to conflict and a treaty in 1828 but still unresolved by the time thousands of additional Cherokee refugees moved to the area during the Trail of Tears.[17][18] By the time Fort Smith was established in 1817, larger capacity watercraft became available to transport goods up and down the Arkansas. These included flatboats (bateaus) and keelboats. Along with the pirogues, they transported piles of deer, bear, otter, beaver and buffalo skins up and down the river. Agricultural products such as corn, rice, dried peaches, beans, peanuts, snake root, sarsaparilla, ginseng had grown in economic importance.[16] On March 31, 1820, the Comet became the first steamboat to successfully navigate part of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River, reaching a place called Arkansas
Arkansas
Post,[c] about 60 miles (97 km) above the confluence of the Arkansas
Arkansas
and the Mississippi Rivers.[19] In mid-April, 1822, the Robert Thompson, towing a keelboat, was the first steamboat to navigate the Arkansas
Arkansas
as far as Fort Smith. For five years, Fort Smith was known as the head of navigation for steamboats on the river. It lost the title to Fort Gibson in April, 1832, when three steamboats, Velocipede, Scioto and Catawba, all arrived at Fort Gibson later that month.[16][d] Later, the Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail
followed the Arkansas
Arkansas
through much of Kansas, picking it up near Great Bend and continuing through to La Junta, Colorado, unless users elected to take the challenging Cimarron Cutoff in Cimarron, Kansas.[20] American Civil War[edit] Main article: Ambush of the steamboat J. R. Williams During the American Civil War, each side tried to prevent the other from using the Arkansas
Arkansas
and its tributaries as a route for moving reinforcements. Initially, the Union Army abandoned its forts in the Indian Territory, including Fort Gibson and Fort Smith, in order to maximize its strength for campaigns elsewhere, while the Confederate Army sent troops from Texas
Texas
to support its Native American allies. Union Troops returned later in the war, after defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Pea Ridge
Battle of Pea Ridge
and the Battle of Fort Smith, and began recovering the position it had previously abandoned, most notably Fort Gibson, reopening the Arkansas
Arkansas
River as a supply route. In September 1864, a body of Confederate irregulars led by General Stand Watie successfully ambushed a Union supply ship bound for Fort Gibson. The vessel was destroyed, and a part of its cargo was looted by the Confederates. Post Civil War[edit] In the 1880s, Charles "Buffalo" Jones, one of the cofounders of Garden City, Kansas, organized four irrigation companies to take water one hundred miles from the Arkansas
Arkansas
River to cultivate 75,000 acres (300 km2) of land.[21] By 1890, water from the Arkansas
Arkansas
was being used to irrigate more than 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) of farmland in Kansas. By 1910, irrigation projects in Colorado
Colorado
had caused the river to stop flowing in July and August.[22] Flooding in 1927 severely damaged or destroyed nearly every levee downstream of Fort Smith, and led to the development of the Arkansas River Flood Control Association.[22] It also led to the Federal Government assigning responsibility of flood control and navigation on the Arkansas
Arkansas
to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE).

Fly fishermen on the Arkansas
Arkansas
River near Salida, Colorado

Angling[edit] The headwaters of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River in central Colorado
Colorado
have been known for exceptional trout fishing, particularly fly fishing, since the 19th century, when greenback cutthroat trout dominated the river.[23] Today, brown trout dominate the river, which also contains rainbow trout. Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited
considers the Arkansas
Arkansas
one of the top 100 trout streams in America,[24] a reputation the river has had since the 1950s.[25] From Leadville to Pueblo, the Arkansas
Arkansas
River is serviced by numerous fly shops and guides operating in Buena Vista, Salida, Cañon City and Pueblo. The Colorado
Colorado
Division of Wildlife provides regular online fishing reports for the river.[26][27] A fish kill occurred on December 29, 2010, in which an estimated 100,000 freshwater drum lined the Arkansas
Arkansas
River bank.[28][29] An investigation, conducted by the Arkansas
Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission, found the dead fish "... cover 17 miles of river from the Ozark Lock and Dam downstream to River Mile 240, directly south of Hartman, Arkansas."[29] Tests later indicated the likely cause of the kill was gas bubble trauma caused by opening the spillways on the Ozark Dam.[30] Image gallery[edit]

The Arkansas
Arkansas
River passing through Little Rock, Arkansas, as viewed from the north bank in North Little Rock

The Yancopin Bridge
Yancopin Bridge
is the last crossing of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River before it flows into the Mississippi River

Arkansas
Arkansas
River in downtown Pueblo, Colorado

Downtown Wichita, Kansas, skyline at night from The Keeper of the Plains at the Arkansas
Arkansas
River

Arkansas
Arkansas
River, looking across to North Little Rock

John Martin Dam and Reservoir on the Arkansas
Arkansas
River in Bent County, Colorado

The Arkansas
Arkansas
River in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Royal Gorge

Arkansas
Arkansas
River in Salida, Colorado

The Arkansas
Arkansas
River in Natural Steps, Arkansas

Arkansas
Arkansas
River between Van Buren and Fort Smith, Arkansas

Notes[edit]

^ A team led by Dr. George H. Odell, an anthropology professor from the University of Tulsa, uncovered artifacts that showed the natives were members of the Wichita people, and that the European artifacts also found there were of the same time period. Dr. Odell concluded this was most likely place that la Harpe met the natives he described.[15] ^ Pirogues are still used in the swamps and marshes of South Louisiana by descendants of the "Cajuns," who were exiled from Canada by the British.[16] ^ Arkansas
Arkansas
Post is said to have been the first European settlement in the Mississippi Valley,[16] ^ Fort Gibson had been built in 1824 on the bank of the Verdigris River in what had been called the "Three Forks" area of Indian Territory.

See also[edit]

Ackerman Island Kansas
Kansas
v. Colorado List of crossings of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River List of longest rivers of the United States
United States
(by main stem) Listing of rivers for each state: Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas McClellan–Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System

References[edit]

^ a b c " Arkansas
Arkansas
River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1980-04-30. Retrieved 2010-09-20.  ^ The mouth has changed since plotting by USGS. ^ The mouth has changed since plotting by USGS to Mississippi River Mile 580 from Mile 582 in the 1980 survey. ^ "McClellan-Kerr Arkansas
Arkansas
River Navigation System (MKARNS)". History & Culture. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved 2010-09-20.  ^ a b See watershed maps: 1 Archived October 27, 2004, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "USGS Gage #07258000 on the Arkansas
Arkansas
River near Dardanelle, AR (monthly flow data)". Water Resources of the United States. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-01-03.  ^ J.C. Kammerer (May 1990). "Largest Rivers in the United States". United States
United States
Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 21 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-05.  ^ "Chaffee County Colorado
Colorado
Gold Production". Westernmininghistory.com. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15.  ^ Random House Dictionary ^ Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 335–340.  ^ Kellogg, Karl S.; et al. (2017). Geologic Map of the Upper Arkansas River Valley Region, North-Central Colorado. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 31 January 2018. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link) ^ a b c O'Dell, Larry. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
History and Culture. " Arkansas
Arkansas
River. Archived 2013-05-30 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c Kansas
Kansas
v. Colorado
Colorado
514 U.S. 673 (1995), 185 U.S. 125 (1902) ^ " Arkansas
Arkansas
- Verdigris River
Verdigris River
Navigation" (PDF). American Canal Society. Retrieved April 30, 2017.  ^ a b Odell, George H. "Lasley Vore Site." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed January 26, 2017. ^ a b c d e Wright, Muriel H. "Early Navigation and Commerce along the Arkansas
Arkansas
and Red Rivers in Oklahoma." Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 8, Number 1, March, 1930. p. 65. Accessed September 29, 2017. ^ "Treaty with the Western Cherokee, 1828". Oklahoma
Oklahoma
State University Library. Retrieved 2017-03-28.  ^ "A New Treaty" (PDF). Cherokee Phoenix. University of North Dakota. 1 (20). 1828-07-09. Retrieved 2017-03-28.  ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District/ Mission/Navigation. Accessed June 2, 2017. ^ National Park Service ^ Charles Jesse "Buffalo" Jones exhibit, Finney County Historical Museum, Garden City, Kansas ^ a b "History of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River (1540 to 2000)". South Central Service Cooperative. 2017. Accessed June 4, 2017. ^ Harris, William C. (September 1892). "The Trouts of Colorado
Colorado
and Utah". The American Angler. XXI (12): 515–528.  ^ Ross, John (2005). Trout Unlimited's Guide to America's 100 Best Trout Streams. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press. pp. 241–243. ISBN 1-59228-585-6.  ^ Campbell, Duncan (1960). 88 Top Trout Streams of the West. Newport Beach, CA: Western Outdoors. pp. 64–65.  ^ Bartholomew, Marty (1998). Fly Fisher's Guide to Colorado. Belgrade, MT: Wilderness Adventures Press. pp. 38–49. ISBN 978-1-885106-56-8.  ^ Colorado
Colorado
Division of Wildlife Fishing Reports Archived March 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Experts Close In On What Killed Fish - NW Arkansas
Arkansas
News Story - KHBS NW Arkansas". KHBS. January 3, 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011.  ^ a b " Arkansas
Arkansas
River Fish Kill Investigation Continues". Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 3 January 2011. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017.  ^ "Gas Bubble Trauma likely cause of fish kills". Arkansas
Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arkansas
Arkansas
River.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia
Collier's Encyclopedia
article Arkansas
Arkansas
River.

Colorado- Kansas
Kansas
Arkansas
Arkansas
River Compact Friends of the Arkansas
Arkansas
River Aquifer
Aquifer
saturation map for Equus Beds Aquifer
Aquifer
Recharge Project Arkansas
Arkansas
River Coalition Full Scale Map Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe Trail
Research Wichita Water Center Tours Animated Map of navigation system Encyclopedia of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
History and Culture - Arkansas
Arkansas
River Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Digital Maps: Digital Collections of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and Indian Territory  "Arkansas, a river of the United States
United States
of America". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(11th ed.). 1911.   " Arkansas
Arkansas
River". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.   "Arkansas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (9th ed.). 1878.  Arkansas
Arkansas
River is discussed at the end of this article.  "Arkansas, a S. W. river of the United States". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. 

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 248152

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