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First River: How Arkansas Saved A National Treasure

This film tells the story of how a grassroots movement saved the Buffalo River from damming and led to its destination as America's first National River.
(G, 54 min.)


Sunday, April 3, 2022

4:00 PM

The Buffalo National River in Arkansas draws more than one million visitors per year. But in the early 1960's, this pristine natural attraction was doomed to be dammed. A grassroots movement led by a small town doctor rose up. With perseverance, joining of forces, and a little luck, this group of homegrown conservationists not only saved the river from damming, but also helped it to gain permanent protection as America's first National River.

Director & Executive Producer: Michelle West
Co-Producer: Guy Giamo-McClung
Director of Photography: Rob West
Narrated by: Laura Shatkus

Presented by the Ozark Society. Made possible by Peel Compton Foundation.
With additional funding by:
The Herschend Family
The O'Reilly Family
The Parnell Family

To learn more about how you can join The Ozark's Society's mission to preserve and protect national places, visit

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