Forest 44 Canoe Rental is ready to make your summer a memorable one! We’ve made loads of friends and acquaintances over the last six summers, and we look forward to making yours this year.
Come discover the well-kept secret that is starting to get out. This section of the Meramec River Greenway has unspoiled scenery and amazingly near St Louis. You’ll be tickled that you arranged your float trip with us; we offer the friendliest service this side of the Saint Francois Mountains.
For reservations, callSteve at (314) 255 – 7091 or email us.
We’re only a half-hour drive from the city. Or as we like to say,
“Float with us and you can be home in time for dinner!”
Steve and Ben Hoffmann, father and son team
BTW: please come back and leave us your stories and experiences here.
More people are looking for “green” activities when choosing family recreation. Green activities emit less CO2 and have a smaller impact on natural resources. Floating down the Meramec Greenway (also called the lower Meramec) is definitely a green activity. Since we’re so close to St Louis, you use less gas to get here, reducing your carbon footprint.
We think everyone should get out and enjoy our rivers and streams more often. Like many rivers, the Meramec is shared between paddle crafts and motor boats. Paddling is naturally a green activity. By choosing to take a canoe, kayak, or raft, you can enjoy the river AND leave no trace. Compare that to motorized boats, which have a high environmental impact. Motors have their place when used responsibly; newer 4-stroke motors use less fuel and leak less into the water. But if you really want to be green, paddling is definitely the way to go!
Paddling a canoe, kayak, or raft at moderate speed:
-Burns 400-600 calories per hour source
-Is so silent you can enjoy bird calls
-Leaves little trace
-Doesn’t create user conflicts
Operating a 2-stroke 50HP outboard motor at cruising speed:
-Consumes about 5 gallons of fuel per hr source
-Produces noise levels of up to 100 decibels source
-Can dump up to 30% of its fuel directly into the watersource
-Creates wake and turbidity that can damage the shoreline and aquatic life source
-Can result in dangerous user conflicts when operated improperly or under the influence
Paddling a canoe, kayak, or raft is the green way to enjoy the Meramec Greenway!!
Today we’re starting a series of occasional posts where we’ll profile a species of freshwater mussel found in the Meramec River. Just like clams and oysters, mussels are bivalves; they all have two siphons to stick out of their shell, one to intake water and the other to release. The Meramec is home to a very large population of mussels, over the years we’ve identified over 30 species in the river. You can easily spot lots of mussel shells along the banks of the river, which are the remains of mussels that have been eaten by critters like raccoons. Live mussels typically bury themselves in the river bottom, but you may see some laying on the riverbed in slow and shallow water. Its OK to pick up live mussels and carefully look at them; be careful not to stick your finger inside a big open mussel, or you may not keep your finger very long. If you have a Missouri fishing license, you’re allowed to harvest a total of 5 live mussels or dead shells per day (you can take an unlimited number of the invasive Asiatic Clams). There are several mussel species that are endangered, which are illegal to take. Endangered species are listed in the Missouri state conservation regulations. If you’re unsure, better just to leave it. But the Pink Heel Splitter is not endangered, and here it is:
It’s is very easy to identify: 1.)It’s one of several species that have a square wing that protrudes from the back of the shell near the fin. 2.) The exterior of the shell is medium greenish-brown, and 3.)the interior is purplish-pink. Identify all three of those features and you’ve found a Pink Heel Splitter.
The Pink Heel Splitter is one of the largest mussels in the Meramec, growing up to 8 inches long, so its an impressive shell to find. Why is it called a heel splitter? Well, just imagine what one of those wings could do to your foot if you chance to step on it buried in the river bottom. That’s one of the reasons we recommend wearing old sneakers or water shoes when you’re in the water.
This week is morel season in our area. Be sure to find some time to hunt for some delicious edible mushrooms. In 2005 dad and I had a pretty good haul. If you ask where we found them, our answer is always “under the arch.” Below is a short story about the incident. **Some names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent hunting grounds.
Kitty calls around two on Sunday and says they’re going. I really want to go, but I’m feeling anxious about my deadline. She says she understands, but I sense maybe they’re not going without me. We hang up and immediately I’m feeling bad about the whole deal. We’d been planning to go the weekend before until things fell through. We had waited for Sal to get off work. But then Kitty decided not to wait, sprained her ankle in the woods and had to call for help on her cell phone. She had found a few but they were tiny. It was only the first weekend of the season. But this weekend, this is maybe prime season. It was certainly warm enough, and with the indicators in place. It was the middle of April, tax time, which is how dad remembers. The new oak leaves were small, big as a squirrel’s ear, fresh and seeming unnaturally green. And the lilacs were blooming. But the ground was dry, unusual for the time of year and not good for wild mushrooms. Read the rest
It turns out taking a float trip is not just something we like to do in Missouri. On my travels last year, I took a Chinese float trip. The trip was on the Dragon River near the popular tourist town of Yangshuo in Southern China.
The scenery is very different from the Meramec River, but it has some things in common. The famous teacup-shaped mountains rise steeply from the river valley. And around them are rice paddies still worked by straw-hatted farmers and water buffalo, the same way they have been for hundreds of years. The water is clean, a rarity in China these days.
Locals wait on the river’s edge and hawk rides on their bamboo rafts to foreign and Chinese tourists. A ride for a couple of hours costs about 7 bucks a person, pretty expensive entertainment by China standards. The rafts are long and flat, made of large stalks of bamboo with upturned ends, which keeps water out of the hollow bamboo and reduces drag. You don’t get to paddle, instead you get to sit in chairs under an umbrella as the local driver poles you down the river (In China, active outdoor recreation hasn’t caught on big yet). Every quarter mile or so there is a small overflow dam meant to keep the water high enough to navigate. But the dams are just part of the fun, and the driver will carefully pole you over the edge and down a couple feet as you hold on tight.
Floating down a beautiful river in a small hand-propelled boat, enjoying the natural wonders of creation is a human pleasure that recognizes no national boundaries.
We will be exhibiting at the St. Louis Science Center Eco Fair this Saturday and Sunday 10-4. Stop by and meet us, the fair is free! We will be in the Exploradome movie room with the Open Space Council booth.
Eco Expo at the Saint Louis Science Center, Saturday 4/18/2009 and Sunday 4/19/2009, 10am – 4pm
The Eco Expo is a two-day event designed to expose the general public to sustainability, and to give attendees access to products, services and experts that can help them achieve more sustainable lives.
UPDATE: We enjoyed meeting so many new people and some of our old loyal customers, too. We’ve added a few photos from the expo.
Earlier this spring, the Open Space Council debuted the documentary film Meramec River: Miracles and Milestones at the Sheldon Theater. The film lays out the amazing arc the River has made in the last century; from popular Saint Louis resort area, to being neglected and abused, almost being dammed, and finally to the citizen led restoration effort that has brought the river back into tip-top shape today. The film emphasizes the tremendous value of the Meramec as a natural oasis within an hour’s drive of six million people. Here is an excerpt from the film, reproduced with permission.
The annual Operation Clean Stream is held on a Saturday each August. This year it will be held Saturday August 23, 2008. To celebrate this special event throughout the year, we are beginning a special promotion. All floaters 15 years and younger who collect at least 1 orange mesh trash sack full of litter from the Meramec River and its banks will receive a “Missouri Stream Team” embroidered patch FREE! This will look pretty cool pinned to your backpack or just hanging on your wall.
[UPDATE: due to popular demand, we've extended the promotion indefinitely, while supplies last!]
What is Operation Clean Stream? Founded in 1967, OPERATION CLEAN STREAM is one of America’s longest and largest ongoing river restoration projects, continuing for 40 years now. The annual event attracts nearly 2,000 volunteers from various age groups and backgrounds, to the Meramec River and its tributaries including the Big, Bourbeuse, Courtois and Huzzah Rivers. Furthermore, agencies and organizations at the local, state and national levels have recognized this program as a key environmental event in the St. Louis Region. Operation Clean Stream is more than a river cleanup project. The event also serves as a public campaign for educating area citizens on the value of clean water and our responsibility to area rivers and streams. (from the Open Space Council website)
The last day of September turned out to be an ideal day for floating the river with friends. Temperatures reached the mid 80s, the water was cool; perfect for swimming. We put in at Pacific Palisades and took out at Allenton. In between there was swimming, some playful water fights, and we took a few turns on a rope swing we found. It was the first float trip for a few in our group. Some leaves were just starting to turn red and orange. We expect the fall colors should be really great in a couple weeks. Here are some scenes from the river.