Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tennessee's Scenic Hatchie River backwater

On the Scenic Hatchie river, launching your boat can sometimes be an adventure in itself. This ramp is located on Highway 76 in Haywood County on the Hatchie River National Refuge. The main channel of the river is in the background. Only use submerged ramps after becoming extreamly familiar with the location in low water. Even then, do not use a submerged ramp if there is current across it. I know of many humbled sportsmen who have lost vehicles by taking unneccessary chances during such activities.

It is this flooding that has brought life in the form of nutrients to the soil of the floodplain, insuring that remains as fertile today as it has been for a thousand years, even before the days when Native Americans first began living off this land.

It is this same floodwater, however, that has led modern settlers to channelize all of the other rivers and streams in the Lower Mississippi River drainage area. Flooding and human settlement does not mix historically. Chanelization and drainage projects associated with them have greatly reduced property damage, agricultural damage and spared human suffering and loss of life.

The consequence of the march of civilization however, has been the elimination of entire ecosystems. Tennessee's Scenic Hatchie River (Scenic being a protected designation) is among the last of it's kind. It has escaped the fate of all other tributaries in the Lower Mississippi River valley. As such, Tennessee's Scenic Hatchie River and it's hardwood bottom lands remain much as they have been for thousands of years.