Preserving the Lower Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo. to the Gulf of Mexico
Paddling in a 29' voyageur canoe - handcrafted from Louisiana cypress - documenting 1150+ miles of America's longest water trail: The Mississippi River. Why? To create greater access to the River's wild landscape, diversify the people paddling, and preserve the health and wilderness of one of our country's greatest assets. To do this, we are producing as much content as possible, most notably a feature-length documentary film.
The expedition is underway and will occasionally afford the opportunity to share content moment-by-moment. Our end goal is to produce a feature length documentary, bring the story of the Rivergator and paddling the Mississippi River to broader audiences. Here is an example of the various types of content and imagery from the river thus far. More documentary content to come. [Work in Progress, but follow along on Facebook and Instagram.]
- BetweenTheLevees.org (Boyce Upholt contemporary writing project)
- SeparateBoats.com (John and LaNae Abnet adventure blog, lots of details)
- 1Mississippi.org (Become a River Citizen, helping to protect the Mississippi River)
- LowerMississippiRiverFoundation.org (Oversees the Rivergator project)
- WildMiles.org (Ongoing list of the last remaining miles with no sign of mankind, along the Middle and Lower Miss.)
- 2muddy.com (Guide outfit, based out of St. Louis, Mo.)
- LoveYourBigMuddy.com + 1Woman3GreatRivers.com (History-making project(s) by adventurer Janet Moreland)
- BlueMindCollective.com (Dr. Wallace J. Nichols' growing initiative of people around the world who love water and are committed to changing the way people think, feel and act toward it.)
Why We Paddle
The trip celebrates the completion of the Rivergator: A Paddler's Guide to the Lower Mississippi River. The Rivergator is a compendium of maps, photo, video, and detailed information to increase access to the river's ecology and recreational capacity.
From our launch into the Missouri River on March 20, through the end of our journey on May 10, 2017, we are a large roster of people celebrating the completion of a six year long public service project. The Rivergator is a free, online, paddlers guide to the Lower Mississippi River. It describes the River, the camp sites, and general safety and practice best suited for paddling in a recreational craft. Our craft happens to be a handmade, 29' voyager-style canoe.
The voyageur culture came to be in the 1600's, wherein fur trappers and French Canadian pioneers traveled on waterways throughout North America. I represent an small constituent on this expedition, paddling the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., to the Gulf of Mexico. The mission is simply this: create the filmic companion to the Rivergator; to breathe life into the life work of John Ruskey; and produce a documentary about the wilderness within. -CAB
Meet the Voyageurs
JOHN "DRIFTWOOD" RUSKEY, Expedition Leader
Founder of the Quapaw Canoe Company and the Rivergator.
BOYCE UPHOLT, Expedition Writer
Penning a nonfiction book about the Mississippi River Valley. Current project work can be found at betweenthelevees.com
JANET MORELAND, St. Louis Support Guide
First woman and first American to paddle the entire Missouri-Mississippi River complex, solo, from source to sea. Aided from St. Louis to New Madrid, Mo.
MARK "RIVER" PEOPLES, Expedition Guide
St. Louis born, youth leader, and Quapaw Canoe Company Guide
CHRIS "MAGIQUE" BATTAGLIA, Expedition Filmmaker
Inspired by Thoreau, exploring film, video, photography, and oral tradition on the Mighty Mississippi.
"BIG MUDDY" MIKE CLARK, St. Louis Support Guide
Guide and founder of St. Louis-based Big Muddy Adventures. St. Louis to New Madrid, Mo.
LENA VON MACHUI, Expedition First Mate
Quapaw Canoe Company first mate and secretary!
ANDY McLEAN, Expedition Adventurer
From New Zealand, living in London. Explorer and adventurer on the expedition.
Adam Elliott, Quapaw Natchez Support Guide
Guide and owner of Quapaw Natchez Canoe Company, based out of Natchez, Miss. Guided from Greenville to Natchez.