Wondering where in the Ozarks we are? Well, wonder no more… we are in Missouri, midway between Eminence and Salem, just off of Highways 19 and EE where the road ends at Pulltite Campground. Follow the road through the campground to Group site 1 and take the Service Road up to the top of the hill, and there you’ll find us next to the maintenance building. It’s a cozy spot away from the mecca that is Pulltite Campground.
Alley Spring, Big Spring, Round Spring and Pulltite make up the National Park. As stated on their website, “Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you’ll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish. Besides these two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites such as Alley Mill.”
The storyboard at the visitor center asks and answers the question “Why Pulltite?” The name’s origin dates back to the 1800’s when a grist mill operated nearby. “The wagon driver either had to chain the back wheels together or cut a pole and slide it through the wheels to keep the loaded wagon from running away with the team. This was known as a “tight pull”.
Pulltite Spring is ranked as the 13th largest in Missouri and discharges between 38 and 47 million gallons of water daily. The spring and historic cabin for which the campground is named, are located a short distance away and accessible by paddling Current River.
The campground here has about 50 basic, grassy sites, 20 of which are first come, first serve. Apparently, the fact that there are no utilities doesn’t deter campers because the campground fills up on weekends with tents and small RVs.
We see many people floating the Current River here, most either from Akers Ferry to Pulltite (9.5 miles) or Pulltite to Round Spring (9 miles), and again, weekends are the busy time.
We have visited with more than 400 floaters at the landing on each of the last couple of Saturdays. That’s our volunteer job, to talk with people, welcome them, and share River safety tips with them.
The ABCs of River safety are: Aways Wear Your PFD (Wear an approved type 3 life jacket for all River activities), Bottom Down, Feet Up (Do not try to stand in fast water. Float with your bottom down and feet up until you reach calm shallow water.), and Climb That Rootwad (Never try to go through a strainer. Give it as much room as possible. If you find yourself being forced into a strainer that cannot be avoided, swim aggressively toward it and get on top of it.).
So, that’s it, our volunteer services here are to communicate safety and park information to visitors whether they arrive by kayak, bus, or personal vehicle. We can usually be found in the breezeway just outside of the visitor center that we also keep tidy and stocked with pamphlets and brochures. Stop in any Thursday through Sunday for a visit!