The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

American Land Conservancy's Buck Island Project in the Mississippi River

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 03:20 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus would like to convey this article from the American Land Conservancy about their exemplary project on Buck Island, a scenic forested island near Helena-West Helena, Arkansas. The Delta Caucus strives to maintain a balance and provide a forum for a wide range of views on maintaining the levee system, promoting wildlife areas that not only help preserve the environment but also generate tourist dollars for our region, and showcase the natural beauty of our region. Lee Powell, MDGC

American Land Conservancy Article on Buck Island, Mississippi River Project

The American Land Conservancy has purchased Buck Island, a 1,500-acre forested island located near Helena, Arkansas. Buck Island is an ideal, user-friendly wilderness destination, with five miles of year-round hiking trails and large white sand beaches during lower water stages, typical from July through February. In public ownership, Buck Island can become the location for the growing number of people who wish to experience America’ s Greatest River.

A real “Mark Twain” Experience

Just 3 minutes by motorboat from the public boat ramp in Helena, Arkansas and two miles south of the St. Francis National Forest, Buck Island offers the rare taste of outdoor adventure immortalized by Mark Twain in his tales of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. The island’s natural setting offers something for any outdoors enthusiast:

High-quality, low-maintenance hiking trails wind five miles through a 1,000-acre hardwood forest. –Huge sand bars covering over 500 acres for most of the year are a haven for bird-watching, camping, picnics, fossil hunting, and outdoor photography. –Wildlife watching includes sightings of deer, turkey, beaver, squirrel, opossum, rabbit, raccoon, bats, frogs, and turtles. –Three miles of Mississippi River frontage and three miles of side channel water offer great fishing for catfish and white bass.

Opportunities to explore the area by boat, kayak or canoe can be ideal at nearly every river water level.

Bringing the Mississippi River Fishing & Boating Trail to Arkansas

ALC’s vision, along with our partner, the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, is to establish a Mississippi River Fishing and Boating Trail from St. Louis, Missouri down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana that will eventually become a national tourist destination as renowned as the Appalachian Trail or the Grand Canyon.

The river trail already exists upriver featuring a series of public boat ramps and protected natural areas in public ownership totaling 25,000 acres. Buck Island would help establish the trail in Arkansas, linking Helena to the Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area at Arkansas City 106 miles down river.

This new trail segment would connect the Mississippi to the famed White and Arkansas rivers, whose confluences with the Mississippi occur between Helena and Arkansas City. In the end, a new, nationally significant recreation complex for boaters, canoeists, kayakers, birders, wildlife watchers, and nature lovers would be created.

Regional Revitalization and Economic Development

The Fishing and Boating Trail can jump-start a regional revitalization by drawing recreational river users to the Delta. With each site added to the trail, there will be new opportunities for local businesses to provide food, gas, bait, tackle, canoe and kayak rentals, and boat rides to a new influx of tourists.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service economic impact study for eastern Arkansas estimates that public ownership of Buck Island would help create 364 jobs, $8,662,900 in job income, $18,408,000 in retail expenditures, $23,622,100 in economic output, $994,100 in local tax revenue, and $1,691,700 in federal tax revenue based on anticipated increases in sport fishing and wildlife watching. For Helena and the Delta region, a natural asset like Buck Island can make a world of difference. (See “Mississippi River Ripe for Tourism Revenue”, Southeast Missourian news article.)

Help ALC make this vision a reality. Join us as a member or make a donation today!

Take a trip to Buck Island with our friends at Quapaw Canoe Company. Visit their website and learn more at

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