Well, as the summer sun starts to sizzle, there’s nothing quite like the sweet relief of a dip in the Spring River. This gem of Arkansas, with its crystal-clear waters and inviting rapids, is just begging for some summer fun. But before you dive in, let’s talk about how to keep you and your family safe while making the most of your time here.
1. Stay Hydrated and Sun-Safe
Now, the summer heat ain’t no joke. To keep that peachy glow and avoid feeling like a wilted flower:
● Drink Plenty of Water: Keep sippin’ on that H2O, even if you’re not parched. Dehydration ain’t cute.
● Use Sunscreen: Slather on a good SPF 30 or higher. Remember, crispy is for chicken, not skin.
● Wear Protective Clothing: A wide-brimmed hat, chic sunglasses, and a breezy long-sleeved shirt can keep those rays at bay.
2. Water Safety is Paramount
The Spring River might look like a postcard, but she can be a little feisty.
● Wear Life Jackets: No ifs, ands, or buts—everyone needs a life jacket, even the strong swimmers.
● Know the River Conditions: Check the local news for water levels and flow rates. After a rainstorm, she can turn into a wild child.
● Supervise Children Closely: Keep those young’uns within arm’s reach. The current can be sneaky, just like that last slice of pie.
3. Prepare for Outdoor Activities
Whether you’re paddling, floating, or just lazin’ about, a little prep goes a long way.
● Bring the Right Gear: Make sure your equipment is in tip-top shape. Check those inflatables and secure your paddles like you’re preparing for a big celebration..
● Know Your Limits: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take it easy and enjoy the ride.
● Stay with Your Group: There’s safety in numbers, y’all. Stick together, especially in tricky spots.
4. Be Aware of Wildlife

The Spring River is a sanctuary for all kinds of critters.
● Respect Wildlife: Admire from afar, sweetie. Keep a respectful distance and don’t go feeding or petting.
● Know How to Handle Encounters: Learn what to do if you bump into snakes or other wildlife. And for goodness’ sake, stay out of the tall grass to avoid ticks.
5. Practice Leave No Trace Principles
Let’s keep the Spring River charming and unspoiled.
● Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack it in, pack it out. Let’s keep our beautiful river as
pristine as we found it.
● Be Mindful of Campfires: Make sure your fire is out cold before you leave. Follow local fire safety rules, y’all.
● Respect Other Visitors: Keep the noise down and be polite. Your mama raised you better than that.
6. Emergency Preparedness
Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes things go sideways.
● Know the Location of Nearest Help: Familiarize yourself with where the ranger stations and emergency services are.
● Carry a First Aid Kit: A little kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers can be a real lifesaver.
● Have a Plan: Make sure everyone knows what to do if there’s an emergency. Knowing how to contact help and where to meet if you get separated is just plain smart.
The Spring River is the perfect spot for summer fun, but safety’s gotta be your first priority. With a little prep and some common sense, you’ll be able to enjoy all the beauty and adventure without a hitch. Now go on, y’all, pack up your essentials, plan your trip, and get ready to make some sweet summer memories at the beautiful Spring River.

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Crystal Shackelford, APRN