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Mark Twain National Forest’s Riverton Boat Launch Revitalized

ROLLA, Mo. (Jan. 31, 2020) – Mark Twain National Forest engineers have been working closely with contractors to revitalize the Riverton East boat launch.  Improvements at the site will allow water enthusiasts to enjoy launching their fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes for decades to come.  

Riverton East Access is a on the left side of the Eleven Point River at 35.6 miles. This popular access is located just off State Highway 160 in Riverton, Mo at Riverton Bridge. The access is 7.6 miles downriver of Whitten. This is a developed site that provides a paved roadway to a boat ramp, parking area, canoe launch and a vault toilet. This access is utilized by both motorized and non-motorized boat users. There is no camping at the site, and trash facilities are only available from May 1 to Sept 30.

The project consists of two objectives.  The first objective is to restore water access points that were undercut and damaged from the 2017 flood event.  The second part of revitalizing the site is to repave the parking area to make watercraft launching a smooth experience for visitors.  Contractors have already finished the first phase, and repaving is scheduled to happen as soon as weather allows.

The restoration of the boat launch was an impressive feat by the contractor that won the bid for the project.  The old structure became undercut by swirling waters during the record flood event of 2017.  Per the contract, designed by MTNF engineers, the contractor replaced the flood-damaged boat ramp with a new type of ramp that is expected to be very tough and resistant to flood damage. 

The old ramp had seen many decades of use and probably experienced some damage from previous flood events.  Contractors discovered the old concrete ramp had been poured on top of large timbers when they removed the remains of the old concrete launch.  These timbers had held up remarkably well over time in the fresh water of the river; but created a weak point for eddy currents to undercut during the flood events.  The new boat ramps use interlocking, concrete segments; and these pre-tensioned concrete segments are held in place by multiple 10-foot long sections of rebar driven through the ramp into the soil and rock below.  The new ramp should serve the public for a very long time.

“This repair project is a great example of our commitment to providing safe, sustainable recreation opportunities that meet the needs of the people we serve,” says Forest Supervisor Sherri Schwenke.

The undercut banks of the canoe launch area and retaining wall were also repaired as part of the contract.  The new canoe/kayak launch area should be very useful to visitors who want to easily get their non-motorized craft into, and out of, the water without competing with motorized boat launching at the main ramp.

Re-paving of the site should happen as soon as the weather is warm enough to allow for new pavement to set. This project will include scraping the top two inches of pavement from the site, mixing that material with fresh pavement, and resurfacing the entire parking lot and paved portions leading to the boat ramp. 

Celena McElroy, lead engineer on the project, notes  “We can’t wait to get this site back up and running for the public to enjoy, and we are doing everything we can to make sure it has the best chance to survive future flood events,” she stated.

To learn more about the Riverton East recreation site, go online to