In the Visitor's center there was information about the animals of the park. There are about, 200 species of birds here and half of them (such as cardinals) are here year round. There was a stuffed hawk 'flying' in the rafters, and a pictures of a Wood Duck which is said to be a common sight on almost any section of the river. We may have seen a Bald Eagles resting in trees on the way out. They are easier to see when you don't have leaves on the trees.
Over the fireplace there was a pair of elk antlers. The elk were extinct in this area but due to a re-stocking project, now special-permit hunting is required to keep the ever-growing population in balance. Since visitors see elk most frequently in the late winter and early spring, I had hoped that we would see some but we did not.
Fondest memory: The sign in photo 2 says
Between 1981 and 1985, 112 Rocky Mountain Elk were stocked in Newton County near Buffalo National Park. the habitat of the Buffalo National River provides suitable habitat for its survival. Elk now number nearly 500 animals and have spread along the river corridor from Boxley Valley to the Tyler Bend area. the most promising place to view elk is at Boxley Valley....
The antlers on display were found by a park ranger in the Tyler Bend area. Bull elk antlers can weight up to 40 pounds and are shed every year. Adult bulls can have 6 to 8 "points" on one antler.
Counting only points on one antler:
A six point bull is called a "Royal"
A seven point bull is an "Imperial"
An eight point bull is called a "Monarch"
Which one is on display here?
I've been through Buffalo River US 65 several time, but only stopped once. Tyler Bend is the visitor center just of US 65. Well, actually, it's down and around the park road. Right down on the river. Here, you're below the bluffs. The river sound is all you can hear.
Description: Cross-section of the Buffalo River, its floodplain, ecosystem, and limestone bluffs.
Artist: Hazard, Charles R.
The Buffalo River is one of the few remaining unpolluted, free-flowing streams in the United States outside of Alaska. Most of the other rivers in America have been dammed, channeled or diverted.
The Buffalo begins as a spring-fed trickle in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark National Forest and flows unhindered for 150 miles. Along its course the river is often framed by massive multi-colored cliffs, some reaching as high as 400 feet. The River cuts eastward through the Ozark Mountains, dropping 2000 feet in its journey before it empties into the White River.
Long pools and shallow riffles provide excellent habitat for aquatic life. The Buffalo River and its tributaries comprise one of America's richest areas in total number of fresh-water fish with 64 species. Along the river banks, differences in elevation (from 375 to 2,385 feet), moisture, exposure, and soil types, allow more than 1,500 plant species to live here. Wildlife is also abundant along the shores.
135 miles of the Buffalo are now protected as the Buffalo National River, and the first 15 miles are also protected on National Forest land. Within the boundaries of the National River are three designated wilderness areas.
During the era when the Corps of Engineers was building dams on every river, the Buffalo was protected from a dam-building project at first by being made a state park. The history of the protection effort is a story that is told in the film that is shown at the Visitor's Center at Tyler Bend. The Buffalo River was designated a National River in 1972.
The NPS website says :It begins as a trickle in the Boston Mountains 15 miles above the park boundary. Following what is likely an ancient riverbed, the Buffalo .. travel[s] eastward through the Ozarks and into the White River. The national river has three designated wilderness areas within its boundaries
The bluffs reach as high as 440 feet above the river - the highest in the Ozarks'. There are many species of plants and animals native to the park. But it the river isn't just about hiking, fishing and boating. Prehistoric sites dating back 10,000 years and historic cultural sites are located throughout the park from bluff shelters once occupied by Archaic Indians to the cabins built by early settlers. Four areas, Boxley Valley, The Parker-Hickman Farmstead at Erbie, the CCC-built structures at Buffalo Point and the Rush mining district, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fondest memory: When we drove in towards the visitor's center, I took some pictures of the information on the signs that were along the road. The first one is a map of the park. Next are pictures of activities to do in the park. The third sign offers rules and regulations for the various activities such as camping, hunting, fishing and horseback riding. It also offers rules and safety warnings for the back country, and boating. The last picture is one I took when we were leaving the park of the sign on the highway at the entrance to the Visitor's Center road.