The Ozark Society releases a feature-length documentary to mark the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo River’s official designation as America’s first National River.
The full release from KTLO/KFSM is below:
“First River: How Arkansas Saved a National Treasure” will premiere at the Skylight Cinema in Bentonville on today, with free public streaming available on the Ozark Society website.
All tickets to this event have been reserved, but the film will screen again on Saturday at Compton Gardens & Arboretum.
The Buffalo River brings 1.5-million visitors annually to the area and remains one of the longest undammed rivers west of the Mississippi today.
The film explores the Buffalo River’s conservation history and contemporary issues while highlighting activities in the 1960s to protect the river from plans to construct two dams on the waterway.
“Arkansas has this national treasure because of the vigilance of people who fought for its preservation,” says Ozark Society President David Peterson. “We believe First River will inspire public awareness and involvement in conservation issues for the preservation of the Buffalo River, Arkansas wilderness areas and other unique natural resources.”
The film also touches on Arkansas conservation advocates, state governors and congressional officials that led to the designation of the Buffalo River as America’s first National River in 1972. Footage of crucial persons, including Dr. Neil Compton, the Bentonville physician who created the Ozark Society, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, who assisted in gaining national support for the river’s protection and floated the Buffalo River in 1962, are included in the film.
First River also includes interviews with current National Park Service staff about the conservation of Arkansas natural areas and the challenges to the Buffalo River watershed from commercial development and recreational usage.
First River will be distributed to museums, public libraries and schools at no charge, along with an educator’s guide to assist classroom discussion of the film’s content and summary. DVD copies and a film poster can also be requested.
For more information on the film or The Ozark Society, click here.