Among our nations's most valuable treasures: a web of inland waterways that winds its way through America's heartland to the Mississippi River. Boats carrying people and freight use these well-traveled "marine highways" to travel from one city or town to the next.
A far-reaching impact
The inland waterway system includes about 12,000 miles of navigable channel.
Together, they offer a reliable alternative to road, rail and air transportation. They:
· Move commerce to and from 38 states.
· Serve industrial and agricultural centers.
· Facilitate imports and exports at gateway post on the Gulf of Mexico
The Kate Adams was a famous steamboat that made twice weekly stops, at Helena, caring passengers, mail, and freight. Here the boat is grounded at Helena, as the river had gone down suddenly.
Did you know?
Each steamboat has a unique whistle.
William Short, a cotton broker in Helena, built a stately mansion for himself in 1904. The home was just a few blocks from the river. Before long, Mr. Short could distinguish one steam whistle from the next, making it easy to tell when a boat that shipped cotton was near.
On the banks of the river
Helena is the only town between Memphis and Vicksburg that sits directly on the river. Passenger vessels often stop in the
town long recognized for its scenic beauty. Inland river vessels usually make stops daily to drop off and pick-up barges.
"Helena occupies one of the prettiest situations of the Mississippi"
In Life on the Mississippi
Inland river towboats and tugboats that travel along the nation's waterways generate fewer emissions than trains and trucks.
Relish the river
The Lower Mississippi River is absolute paradise.
Enjoy an afternoon canoeing, kayaking or riding a stand up paddle board. Of course, be prepared, and make sure you have the right equipment. (Novice paddlers should seek instructions on big river safety and navigation or hire a local guide.)
You can also enjoy a variety of other outdoor pursuits. Go camping, fishing or beach combing. Have a peaceful picnic and, when the sun goes down.
Gaze into a stunning star-lit sky.
Did you know?
Over the course of a year, water levels on the Mississippi River can rise and fall as much as 50 feet. When the river is low, water tends to be calmer and more serene. When the river is high, it becomes very powerful and turbulent.
The Currents can be fast
The river is a powerful body of water, and conditions can change rapidly. Strong currents can pull even a very experienced swimmer into harm's way. Do not underestimate the strength of the might river. Always treat it with reverence and respect.