Van Buren, MO

Van Buren Residents Asked to Help Identify Vandalism at Rocky Falls. $2,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction

Peter Watson

Ozark National Scenic Riverways has asked Van Buren residents as well as anyone else in Carter County or wider Missouri to help identify those responsible for recent vandalism at Rocky Falls.

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The area was painted with a variety of symbols and words, including profanity, as seen on this large rock outcrop at the top of the falls. (Image: NPS)

On March 31, park rangers received a report about vandalism at Rocky Falls in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways of Missouri.

They found several rocks around the area that had been tagged with a variety of symbols and words in red spray paint.

The vandalism is believed to have occurred sometime between Saturday, March 27, and Wednesday, March 31.

Rocky Falls is one of the most visited sites within Ozark National Scenic Riverways with its picturesque falls cascading over large, purple-hued, igneous rock formations.

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Rocky Falls of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri (Image: Scott Sanders/Shutterstock)

How Van Buren and Other Local Residents Can Help

Removal of the markings is expected to be challenging and costly, as park managers strive to avoid any lasting scarring effect by either the paint or the removal process.

“Rocky Falls is a popular destination for park visitors and is an extremely special place for our local community,” said Superintendent Jason Lott. “Many local children learn to swim here, spending their summers clambering across the rocks and playing in the pool at the bottom. Residents treasure the area for weddings and baptisms. This kind of disrespect will not be tolerated, and we plan to take measures to deter future vandalism.”

The National Park Service (NPS) is offering up to $2,000 for information that leads to a conviction in this vandalism case.

In particular, the NPS believe that residents of Van Buren, Carter County or wider Missouri, can help identify those responsible for the recent vandalism at Rocky Falls.

If you have information that can help, please provide as many details as you can, including:

  • Description of vehicles or persons observed at the scene
  • Name of persons responsible or involved
  • Any other pertinent information
  • Caller’s contact information for compensation purposes

Use one of the following methods to relay your information:

The Special Agents of the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB) are distributed across the National Park System and are available all year-round and around the clock.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system.

The Current and Jacks Fork rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you'll find anywhere. Spring-fed, cold and clear they are a delight to canoe, swim, boat or fish.

Besides these two famous rivers, the park is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, caves, trails and historic sites such as Alley Mill.

According to the Visit Missouri website, the historic Alley Mill was vital to community life, where grain was ground to provide daily bread in its roller mill.

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The Alley Mill in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri (Image: Steven Schremp/Shutterstock)

The famous present-day red building was built in 1894 next to Alley Spring and employed a water turbine rather than a water wheel as its power source. Alley Spring deposits 81 million gallons of water daily into the Jacks Fork River.

The southeast Missouri Ozarks are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams, and bluffs.

Much of the area is underlain by soluble dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves and springs of classical Karst topography.

There are over 300 recorded caves within the boundaries. Several caves have been identified as having critical habitat for the endangered Indiana and Gray bats. Some caves are gated or signed to protect bat habitat.

Things to do in the Missouri Ozarks include:

  • Canoe Rentals
  • Ranger Programs
  • Camping
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birdwatching
  • Stargazing
  • Hunting & Fishing
  • Visit nearby attractions such as the state parks, conservation areas, craft shows, resorts, and small towns filled with restaurants and antique shops.

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

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