A sunny day, a couple of canoes, some friends and a clear, fast-flowing stream. It’s a great way to see part of our scenic state.
A hot dog and maybe a cold beverage fit right into this scene too – but things have gotten out of hand. Too many hard-partiers have really put a damper on things for families and other groups with kids trying to enjoy a mellow time floating Missouri’s many spectacular rivers.
The federal government manages activities on some of these rivers, and it has clamped down on the rowdiness. Now the Missouri General Assembly has passed legislation along the same lines: no more beer bongs, no more kegs. In fact, no more Mardi Gras beads. These are the things that have helped make many of the rivers – the Niangua near Bennett Spring might be the nearest good example – something far short of family friendly. Making an example of a few of the worst offenders obviously hasn’t been much of a deterrent. (The bill is on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk.)
These rivers ought to be there for everyone to use and enjoy, and they ought to attract out-of-state visitors who will spend a dollar or two here. But the clean-flowing waters need to be matched with cleaned-up behavior before that fully comes to pass.