Ozark Zen: Paddling Safety Tips

If you have ever paddled Pulaski County, Missouri’s Ozark mountain float streams you have experienced the rejuvenation that time in the outdoors, surrounded by Mother Nature’s splendor, brings to the human experience. Passing time in a kayak or canoe with family and friends on the timeless Gasconade & Big Piney rivers indulges a profound connection to Mother Earth and her wild creatures.


Before seeking your Zen this season review these rules, regulations, & safety tips provided by Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division:

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• There is no replacement for common sense and individual responsibility. Be courteous and respectful to everyone you encounter on Missouri’s float streams.
• Watercraft operators are REQUIRED to have an appropriate personal flotation device for EACH person on board.
• Anyone under the age of seven who is on board MUST WEAR a personal flotation device.
• If alcohol is part of your float trip, make smart choices and obey the law. The use of beer bongs or other devices used to consume alcohol on Missouri’s rivers is prohibited.
• Packing snacks and beverages to help you refuel is a good idea. Do NOT bring beverages in glass containers.
• Take your trash with you after your float. Most outfitters will provide a potato sack for storing refuse during your float.
• Missouri State Highway Patrol has a zero-tolerance approach to illegal drug use throughout the state, including on Missouri’s waterways.
• Respect property boundaries during your float trip.
• Any person operating a vessel or watercraft must do so in a careful and prudent manner.

Family Time Pulaski County MIssouri 1200x629

• Protect yourself from the sun.
• Wear water shoes.
• Be familiar with the river and its individual characteristics. Reputable outfitters alert paddlers of potential trouble spots before putting in on the river.
• Learn to recognize hazards such as strainers, dams, boulders, barb wire across the river, etc.
• Know your limits and do not attempt a section of river beyond your skill level. (Pulaski’s rivers typically are appropriate for all skill levels, especially for beginners. Advanced paddlers love the dramatic bluffs & scenery, fishing, and serenity.)
• Do not paddle rivers in flood stage or after a heavy rain. Reputable outfitters will not put people on the water in hazardous conditions.
• IF you capsize, hold onto your kayak or canoe and move immediately to the upstream side. Float on your back, feet together and pointed downstream. Gradually work your way to the shore.
• Carry dry clothing and a first aid kit in a secure, watertight container.
• Tie all your gear into the boat but NEVER lash children or pets to the craft.
• Stay sober and avoid being “too”- too tired, too drunk, too much sun, too far from safety, too much strenuous activity.
• Learn basic water rescue techniques and remember the adage of “Reach-Throw-Row-Go for Help” if attempting a rescue.

Girls Getaway Pulaski County Missouri 1200x629

Order your free Pulaski County, Missouri Visitors Guide today! The Visitors Guide includes helpful information on area outfitters.

Welcome to Pulaski County USA!

Welcome to Pulaski County USA!

Casimir Pulaski Birthday Celebration Wrap-Up

Happy Birthday Casimir!

On Monday, March 4th, 2019 Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center celebrated the 274th birthday of Casimir Pulaski, Revolutionary War hero and namesake of Pulaski County, Missouri. The City of Waynesville issued a proclamation decreeing the day as Casimir Pulaski Day.


Waynesville City Councilman Clarence Liberty presents Pulaski County Tourism Bureau Executive Director Beth Wiles the City of Waynesville’s proclamation decreeing Monday, March 4th, 2019 Casimir Pulaski Day in Waynesville, Missouri.

PCTB began incorporating a re-imagined depiction of Casimir Pulaski into their social media channels January 4, 2019. Casimir 2.0 brings a face to PCTB’s digital marketing efforts and brings Pulaski into the minds of residents and to those visiting our county.

American Revolutionary War Hero Casimir Pulaski (left) and reimagined Casimir 2.0 (right)

American Revolutionary War Hero Casimir Pulaski (left) and reimagined Casimir 2.0 (right)

To honor Pulaski further the organization began a new annual tradition of hosting an open house on the first Monday in March to celebrate Pulaski’s birthday. The annual open house also gives Pulaski County residents a festive opportunity to get to know PCTB, engage with tourism-related business owners, learn how tourism drives Pulaski County’s economy, and, perhaps, even discover area attractions they may have been unaware of before.


Scavenger Hunt clues were placed throughout the Visitors Center- including the Pulaski County room!


Check out these videos of our partners and community leaders who stopped by during the celebration!

Twyla and Monica have a lot going on at Cellar 66 Restaurant and Wine Bar….lunch, dinner…and….

Posted by Beth Wiles, Pulaski County USA on Monday, 4 March 2019

Uranus Missouri stopped by, and brought some fudge during Casimir Pulaski Day! Check out all the cool things you can do in Uranus and learn about some upcoming additions. Swing by Uranus for some fudge, or spend the whole day! Thank you Natalie for joining us. Louie R Keen hope you feel better!https://www.facebook.com/missouri.uranus/

Posted by Beth Wiles, Pulaski County USA on Monday, 4 March 2019

What is going on at Eclectic Originals? Well, Cheryl is going to tell you all about what’s been going on!

Posted by Beth Wiles, Pulaski County USA on Monday, 4 March 2019

J.B. King at Casimir Pulaski Birthday Celebration 2019

Author J.B. King stopped by the Visitors Center for Casimir Pulaski's Birthday celebration!

Posted by Beth Wiles, Pulaski County USA on Thursday, 7 March 2019

In addition to birthday cake, punch, and coffee, party-goers who participated in the scavenger hunt were rewarded with an extra ticket for a chance to win one of multiple door prizes. The scavenger hunt aided attendees in learning:

• Pulaski County Tourism Bureau is a nonprofit organization that is funded by a 3% lodging tax. This funding is used for the sole purpose of marketing Pulaski County as a tourist destination.

• PCTB markets Pulaski County through media and film, targeted banner ads, print and online publications, radio, billboards, social media, tradeshows, marketplace events, and speaking engagements. The Bureau also produces and distributes an annual Visitors Guide, and brochures such as the popular Historic Driving Tours and Waynesville Walking Tour.

• PCTB markets the county as a tourist destination to history & culture travelers, military graduation families, Route 66 enthusiasts, leisure travelers, specialty groups (Big BAM, National Speleological Society, etc.), motor coach companies (including church and bank groups), and reunion groups- including military, family, and alumni associations.

• Tourism in Pulaski County impacts a diverse array of local businesses including restaurants and nightlife, indoor and outdoor recreation, shopping and personal services, RV parks and campgrounds, hotels, motels, cabins, vacation homes, bed & breakfasts, and transportation providers. Tourists, travelers, and visitors spend over $75 million in Pulaski County annually. Tourism also indirectly impacts revenue in the county by employing over 2,600 residents who spend over $55 million in payroll.

The event also incorporated an online silent auction to benefit Saint Robert’s future Neon Park. The Neon Park will be located within George M. Reed Roadside Park, which is one of only two remaining roadside parks on Route 66 in Missouri. The Neon Park will feature restored classic neon signs- iconic pieces of vintage Americana, that have been rescued from the Mother Road and lovingly brought back to life. The Neon Park will be a game-changer for Pulaski County by enticing Route 66 travelers to eat, stay, and play after the signs are lit each evening. The Neon Park is spearheaded by Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation. Auction items are available for bid through Noon March 18th, 2019 and can be viewed here: https://www.charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/route-66-neon-park-silent-auction-7271. For corporate and business sponsorship opportunities contact Beth Wiles at info@route66preservation.org.

Route 66 Neon Park (1)

Door prizes were generously furnished by Cellar 66 Restaurant & Wine Bar, City of Waynesville and Cookiez By Nourish & Nurse, LLC. Door prize winners were Twyla Cordry, Ronda Cortesini, Ezra Murray, & Laura Schoephorster!

The entire staff at Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center thanks the community for celebrating Casimir Pulaski with us and we look forward to seeing you again March 2nd, 2020 for Casimir’s 275th birthday party!

Further reading:
History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts- Casimir Pulaski
Introducing Casimir 2.0
Route 66 Neon Park Proposed in Saint Robert, Missouri

Saint Robert’s Negro U.S.O. Club Chimney Memorial

By Laura Huffman

As any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine will relate, a USO sign is a welcome sight. Pulaski County historian Terry Primas summarizes in his 2005 Old Settlers Gazette article that the familiar logo is a “beacon of comfort” for service members and their families and it continues to “signal support for men and women in service to their country.”

Primas writes:

“Local communities found the USO to be their avenue for participation in the war effort during World War II. U.S. troop strength grew from 50,000 in 1940 to 12 million in 1944. USO clubs sprang up in more than 3,000 communities, as the centers became a ‘Home Away from Home.’ The clubs were volunteer driven and by the end of WWII, more than 1.5 million citizens had served doughnuts and coffee, helped write letters, danced, or simply talked to lonely GIs.”

Waynesville, Missouri had a front row seat to the massive buildup of troop strength in the days leading up to and during the duration of World War II. The Seventh Corps division had located a large military training installation just two miles southeast (as the crow flies) from the courthouse on the town’s public square.

The influx of soldiers into the rural farming community quickly revealed a need for recreation for the men stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. According to Primas:

“A campaign to establish the USO in the Fort Leonard Wood area began in March of 1941. As the military was still segregated, plans called for separate clubs for White and ‘Colored’ soldiers. Space for a Service Center for white soldiers was secured in the Knights of Pythias Hall in Rolla. In August of 1941, Ruth Chambers, Y.W.C.A. Director of Fort Leonard Wood Area, and Sara Long, Negro U.S.O. Director, attempted to establish a Negro club in Rolla. However, no landlord would rent them space for a colored club. Mrs. Long relocated to Lebanon where she established a club in a tent about a mile east of town. Subsequently, land was purchased in Old Town in Lebanon and the government erected a building for the Negro club. It was the first U.S.O. building dedicated in the area. The following year, a Negro club was built in Rolla and operated by the National Catholic Community Service.”

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

At Waynesville, the new U.S.O. building for whites was dedicated March 7, 1942. Primas recounts Mrs. Chambers description:

“a beautiful California type building—a new building, stucco, all one floor. The main lobby is two stories high with a penthouse, which was originally designated as the Jewish wing.”

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

The next day, March 8, 1942, Sterling Chavis (director of the club), Post Commander LTC. F.H.L. Ryder and others dedicated the U.S.O. Club for colored soldiers just outside the main gate of Fort Leonard Wood in unincorporated Pulaski County. No descriptions of the club have been located thus far. It is known that the location of the club and the building became Chimney Trailer Park and then later Chimney Pawn & Gun after Earl Livingston purchased it in 1951. Primas reports that the building was subsequently torn down and Mr. Carney, of Rolla, salvaged building materials to use in the construction of the Manor Inn.

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

Image via 2005 Old Settlers Gazette

For almost six decades the lonely remaining chimney marked the former location of the Colored U.S.O. Club. After Earl Livingston passed away in 1980 and after the death of Earl’s son, James R. Livingston in 1996, the chimney was donated to the City of Saint Robert. In an effort spearheaded by (then) St. Robert Mayor George Sanders the chimney was dismantled November 2009 and placed in storage to be reassembled at another location. George Sanders died in 2016, before the project was completed.

Original location photo by Laura Abernathy Huffman October 2009

This view of the chimney in its original location was captured by Laura Huffman October 2009. The approximate coordinates are 37.799113, -92.138011.

However, his vision was carried out by St. Robert Historical Preservation Committee. July 11, 2017 a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future home of the reassembled chimney. Dr. Charles Slider, Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman, Saint Robert Mayor George Lauritson, Kevin Curtis, Frank Aterbert, Julius Nutter, Representative Steve Lynch and Walter Reese each turned a shovel of dirt for the observance. Work progressed and the chimney was reconstructed using its original bricks. Reassembly of the chimney was completed, and a dedication was held October 19, 2018.

The Ground Breaking ceremony was held July 11, 2017. Image by, and courtesy of, Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce.

The Ground Breaking ceremony was held July 11, 2017. Image by, and courtesy of, Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce.


Rendering of the Negro U.S.O. Club Chimney Memorial in Saint Robert, Missouri upon completion.

Rendering of the Negro U.S.O. Club Chimney Memorial in Saint Robert, Missouri upon completion.

Today, the chimney is a daily reminder of the United States military’s segregated past and a tribute to the African-American soldiers who endured segregation while in service to their country. President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 ending racial segregation in the military July 26, 1948.

Completed Negro U.S.O. Club Chimney Memorial on Missouri Boulevard in Saint Robert, Missouri. Image by Beth Wiles for Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.

Completed Negro U.S.O. Club Chimney Memorial on Missouri Boulevard in Saint Robert, Missouri. Image by Beth Wiles for Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.


History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts- Frank H. Wielandy

Pulaski County Missouri History and Heroes

Frank H. Wielandy, the “Father of Missouri State Parks,” owned and named Blue Jay Farm, now a rustic resort, near Dixon in Pulaski County, Missouri.

Blue Jay School Crayons

1. In 1928 Wielandy conducted an unsuccessful Republican primary campaign for Missouri Governor.

2. Wielandy was Missouri Fish & Game Commissioner under Governor Arthur M. Hyde.

3. Wielandy was known as the Father of the Missouri State Park System.

4. Wielandy was a charter member of Coldwater Outing and Game Preserve near Clearwater, Missouri, in Ste. Genevieve county.

5. During the 1920s, while scouting for Missouri State Park sites, Wielandy visited a location near Dixon in Pulaski County. Wielandy became so enamored with the property that he and his brother, Paul, purchased the 360-acre property for themselves. Frank and Paul were also co-owners of Blackwell-Wielandy Book & Stationary Company. They named the property Blue Jay Farm in honor of their well-known Blue Jay writing tablets, pens, pencils, & crayons.


The West Plains Journal (West Plains, Missouri) 19 July 1928
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 1 July 1958
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) 23 February 1968

History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.

History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts- C.W. Parker

Pulaski County Missouri History and Heroes

Chester West (C.W.) Parker is the namesake of Waynesville R-VI School District’s Parker Fine Arts building located on the Middle School campus.

Image via Ancestry.com user Joyce Connolly

Image via Ancestry.com user Joyce Connolly

1. In 1921, at the age of 19, Parker was the principal of an elementary school in the Picher, Oklahoma mining district. He also served as principal at Licking, MO High School. Parker served as Superintendent of Schools at Conway (MO.), Ozark (MO.), Ava (MO.), and Waynesville during an administrative career that spanned 44 years.
2. Parker served as Mayor of Waynesville, Missouri for six years.
3. Parker was a published author and wrote “countless newspaper articles.”
4. Parker was quite the good-natured prankster and is fondly remembered by Waynesvillians for his April Fools’ Day antics.
5. Parker married Kathleen Ezzsell in 1927 and they had three children. His son, Eddie Parker, is the inspiration for Paul Newman’s character “Fast Eddie” Felsen in the 1961 film The Hustler.

Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona) 13 December 1990

History & Heroes: Five Fast Facts is an occasional series of interesting facts regarding namesakes and historical figures in Pulaski County, Missouri.