LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For being a landlocked state Arkansans are pretty blessed with several options to be on the water. We can take the boat on Lake Hamilton, float the Buffalo River, and so much more.
But what about the biggest of them all? The Arkansas River.
The Arkansas River is the 6th largest in the United States, running from Colorado all the way to Mississippi.
“It is a navigation channel, so we do have barges and boats going up and down river at all times of the day," Erin Jimenez, public affairs specialist with the US Army Corps of Engineers. "There’s also underwater hazards like logs and trees that can pose a threat.”
She said as temperatures rise, so does amount of people on the water.
“Anytime it starts to get warm out, people want to go out," she said. "They want to go fishing, swimming, camping, and hang out with friends.”
Jimenez highly recommended not to swim on the Arkansas River. However, there are activities you can do safely.
Samuel Ellis, owner of Rocktown River Outfitters, has seen his business boom with Arkansans wanting to kayak on the river.
“Started out with three boats, I bought three boats our first year and it was just a hope and prayer that I wasn’t as crazy as some people thought," Ellis said. "Now we have about 30 kayaks.”
Ellis credits social media for uptick in people wanting to get off their phones and onto the water.
“I would post these, and friends and family would comment, 'Oh my God, where did you go kayaking? I want to go so bad'," Ellis said. "Well, that’s in your backyard.”
Ellis also added the views are unmatched.
“It’s just the scenery," he said. "Downtown you’re paddling through the heart of Little Rock and North Little Rock. You see the city come to life at night and all the lights come on.”
If you do want to find yourself on the river this summer, U.S.A.C.E wants to make sure you know rule number one.
“Wear the lifejacket anytime you’re near or around water. Know how to swim and don’t overestimate your swimming abilities."
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