1975: Ripley County Preserves The Right To Swing

Wednesday, June 2, 2021
In 1975, youngsters in Ripley County still had the right to crack their heads off a rope swing over Current River despite the approval of new policies by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways that prohibited the practice upstream past the Carter County line. “Standard policy is to remove any of the ropes tied to trees along the river in the Scenic Riverways,” so said a report erupting in early October 1975. The government outlawing rope swings brought a testy comeback from State Sen. Joe H. Frappier, who said “no youngster should be denied his inalienable right to crack his head, skin a knee or break a leg on a rope swing.” Ripley County State Representative Don Hancock agreed. “The government should not intrude in the individuals’s privilege of free choice of recreation. I’m sure it wasn’t the wisest or safest choice when we kids dived off the bridge at Riverton, either, but it’s not the government’s place to say so.” As The Prospect-News reported at the time, swingers may still dangle from ropes on Current River from privately-owned stretches of river from the Carter-Ripley county line at Hawes Memorial Park, 16-3/4 miles downstream to Doniphan, and on the 14 more miles to the Arkansas State line, almost 62 miles on both sides of the river for swings. Only 12-1/2 miles of shoreline from Doniphan to Hawes is a possible swingers no-man’s land. The U.S. Forest Service manages this shoreline and policy is to remove all safety hazards. However, according to the Doniphan District Office, which has jurisdiction over the federal land along the river, swings have not been a target. However, a rope swing was removed at Buffalo Creek Campground, where a man was killed in a dive into shallow water. One rope swing was removed at Boze Mill on the Eleven Point River on property recently acquired by the Forest Service, the P-N reported Oct. 9, 1975.
P-N Archives

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: