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Feds plot future of Ozark Riverways in Missouri

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm •  Published: February 2, 2014
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"I adamantly oppose their proposal to appease environmentalists by limiting the public use and enjoyment of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways," Smith said in a written statement. "This proposal would hurt small businesses that rely on the Riverways and keep my constituents from enjoying the rivers that belong to them."

In the current dispute, both Kinder and Smith invoke the National Blueways System, a U.S. Interior Department program intended to recognize conservation efforts along the nation's waterways that was dissolved in early January amid opposition from landowners and politicians who feared it would lead to increased regulations and possible land seizures.

The voluntary program had given that designation to just two bodies of water: the Connecticut River, in the Northeast; and the White River, which spans more than 700 miles through Missouri and Arkansas.

Similar fights have also unfolded in recent years in North Carolina, where National Park Service rules limiting off-road vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore were challenged in court; and the Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California, site of an oyster farm recently evicted to make room for a federal marine wilderness area.

The park service is accepting public comments on the Ozark Riverways plan through Feb. 7.

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Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at http://twitter.com/azagier