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|Keelboat Aux Arc to journey down the Ouachita River this December|
The keelboat Aux Arc is a representation of the type of boat that traveled the Ouachita and other rivers in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During December 2004, 2006, and 2007 the Aux Arc traveled down the Ouachita River from Camden, Arkansas to Prairon Bayou Recreation Area, just south of Monroe, Louisiana.
The trip this December will begin at Prairon Bayou Recreation Area on Saturday morning, December 27th. Prairon Bayou Recreation Area is located via Hwy 34 and Hwy 557.
The Aux Arc and crew will spend Saturday night at the Recreation Area above Columbia Lock & Dock. Sunday, the Aux Arc will lock through and arrive at Columbia, Louisiana around noon. The crew and keelboat will spend the remainder of the day Sunday talking with the public about the keelboat and river travel during the early 1800s.
The Aux Arc will leave Columbia on Monday morning and camp on the west side of the Ouachita about 20 river miles down river from Columbia. Tuesday morning will find the Aux Arc headed towards either the ferry landing at Duty or the boat ramp off of Bayou Dan, about 2 miles north of the ferry landing, thus ending the 2008 trip. Plans for 2009 are to travel to Jonesville Lock & Dam and in 2010 to the Mississippi River and beyond.
The Aux Arc, built by the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association (EARA), was launched in 2004. Funding for this project came primarily from private donations and the Rotary Club. The primary purpose for constructing the Aux Arc and floating the Ouachita River was to replicate the downstream travels of the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804 and 1805.
The William Dunbar and George Hunter expedition explored and officially documented the Ouachita river from the confluence of the Ouachita, Black, and Mississippi rivers to the hot springs located in present day Hot Springs, Arkansas. In addition to Dunbar-Hunter; servants, slaves, family (i.e., George Hunter's son), and a complement of soldiers left St Catherine's landing south of Natchez in mid October 1804 and by mid-November had arrived at current day Monroe, Louisiana. At Monroe, the original vessel was stored and a vessel with a shallower draft was leased.
The expedition arrived near the hot springs in early December 1804, spent the next four weeks making scientific studies and notations, and left the first week of January 1805. The expedition exchanged boats at Monroe and arrived back at Natchez by early February 1805. Official reports of this expedition were the first look at the Louisiana Purchase.
In addition to replicating the Dunbar-Hunter expedition the keelboat Aux Arc has floated the Black and Arkansas Rivers in Arkansas, the Cane River in Louisiana, and participated in the 200th anniversary of Catahoula Parish at Jonesville, Louisiana. The primary propulsion for the Aux Arc are six rowing stations which can be supplemented, if conditions are right, by a sailing, poling, or towing by rope & foot power on land.
During this trip the crew will setup and sleep in replica canvas tents of the early 1800's. In addition, crew members look forward to discussing with the public the use of the keelboat on the rivers of Louisiana and life in general in the early 1800's.
Contact Information: Ed Williams: H: 501-666-4304, W: 501-447-3386, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EARA website: www.arkansaw.us.
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