Mardi Gras on Water - The Missourian: Editorials

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Mardi Gras on Water

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:31 am

If you missed Mardi Gras in New Orleans earlier this year don’t fret, there’s plenty of debauchery to be had on Missouri’s popular canoeing streams on any given weekend this summer.

Float trips on Ozark streams, some of the best in the country, are the perfect way to experience our state’s greatest natural assets. The pristine spring-fed waterways cut through steep and rocky bluffs offering stunning landscapes for visitors.

In our view there isn’t a better way to commune with nature than a leisurely float trip on a Missouri stream. It’s a great way to relax and take in wildlife and the natural beauty of our state.

Just don’t go on a weekend if you are with children.

That’s when the rivers are taken over by young people who are more interested in partying than nature. Imagine floating down Bourbon Street in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday in a canoe or rubber raft and you get a pretty good idea of what many of the popular streams are like on a typical weekend in the summer.

Rowdiness, lewd behavior, bad language, nudity and drunkenness are on full display often before noon. Since when did Jello-shots, beer bongs and beads become essential gear for a float trip?

Recognizing the problem, Missouri lawmakers try to curb some of the rowdy behavior when they passed a law banning kegs, beer bongs and other drinking devices in 2009.

Missouri state water patrol and federal park rangers do their best to enforce laws and preserve some order on the rivers but the sheer volume of people on the rivers often makes the task challenging if not impossible.

It’s one of the reasons that locals stay clear of the rivers on the weekends. That’s too bad because weekends are often the only time many people can get away to enjoy the outdoors.

/opinion/editorials

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