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The proposed management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways has finally been released by the National Park Service. After years of hearings, meetings, public brouhaha, and generalized hollering, the NPS has released not one plan, but three, with their preferred one identified.

Essentially, one is a high-preservationist model, one is a motorboats-and-dirtbikes model, and one (the NPS-preferred one) is sort of in-between. As compromises go, it’s typical. I suspect the NPS is hoping that everyone is modestly dissatisfied with it, but not dissatisfied enough to mount too much of a stink.

The NPS will hold public hearings on the plan on a Tuesday night in Van Buren and a Wednesday night in Kirkwood, both in early December. Here’s the schedule and the online site for posting comments.

Of the various media that cover outdoors and environmental events and issues in the Ozarks, one of my favorites is the River Hills Traveler. It started out years ago as a tourism magazine, and still retains that element. But it also provides coverage of the less tourist-savory news, such as the unfortunate shooting of a floater on the Meramec River earlier this summer and vandalism at the Castor River shut-ins. RHT has been following the winding trail of the NPS management plan over the years, and I’m sure it will continue to do so.

I highly recommend the River Hills Traveler for anyone interested in news about the Ozarks.