The Rivergator is a website dedicated to the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail, full of maps, photos, stories, and accurate information concerning the BIG RIVER!  The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail is the longest free-flowing water trail in the continental United States, over 1100 miles from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico (including the Middle Miss from the Missouri River confluence).  There are thousands of islands, backchannels, side channels and oxbow lakes to explore.  The trail connects cities, states, public lands, festivals and all of the people and businesses found along the Lower Mississippi.

Who is The Rivergator written for?

The Rivergator is written specifically for paddlers who want to explore the wilds of the Lower Mississippi River.  Canoeists, kayakers and stand up paddle boarders will all find it to be the definitive guide to the BIG RIVER.

Who is The Rivergator written by?

The Rivergator is written by John Ruskey with consultation from a team of regional river experts including Ernest Herndon, Big Muddy Mike Clark, Paul Hartfield, Ken Jones, Joe Royer, Dale Sanders, Tim McCarley, Adam Eliot, Mike Beck and Paul Orr and others.  This team varies with the section of river being described.

Why is The Rivergator important?

The Lower Mississippi River is possibly the most spectacular and yet also the most unrecognized wild river in North America.  It should be one of the classic paddler destinations alongside the Boundary Waters, the Okeefenokee, or the Alagash.  Big volume water, towboats and industry have scared paddlers away.  Until now there was no good written description of how to navigate the powerful waters. Enter The Rivergator !

When will The Rivergator be completed?

The Rivergator is still under construction.  Go to www.rivergator.org for a preview.  We are on a 3-year timeline to be completed in 2015.  This year we will add 3 new 100-mile sections to cover the BIG RIVER including the greater Memphis region, the Chickasaw Bluffs, and the entire length of the Mississippi Delta, everything from Caruthersville, Missouri to Vicksburg, Mississippi.  In 2014 we will add the Middle Mississippi from St. Louis down to Cairo, and then continue the Lower Miss connecting back down to Memphis.  In 2015 the entire Lower Miss will be completed with the addition of the river from Vicksburg to the Gulf of Mexico, including Natchez, St. Francisville,  Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Venice.

How do I get involved with The Rivergator?

Any knowledgeable river rats are welcome to join in! The more eyes the better.  Write me john@island63.com and I will include you in the circle of reviewers.

Furthermore, any interested paddlers can participate in the creation of The Rivergator by joining in on one or more of three exploratory trips coming up in the next two months:

May 23-27

Memphis to Helena

June 5-10

Caruthersville to Memphis

June 19-23

Greenville to Vicksburg

In November 2013 we will be celebrating the creation of the water trail by paddling these same sections of river.   Contact john@island63.com for more info.  Go to www.rivergator.org for an idea of what we’re creating along the Lower Mississippi River, and join us in making it come to life!