The Current River rolls out from its frigid headwaters in Montauk State Park, slices southeast through ancient, forested hills, then winds past dozens of caves and springs on its way to Van Buren. This 100-mile-plus stretch of water offers some of the finest canoeing in the entire country. Officially known as Ozark National Scenic Riverways, it's managed by the federal government, which recently cracked down on drunken revelers who might otherwise distract from the area's natural jewels. Take, for example, Big Spring, which is deep enough to submerge the Statute of Liberty. Pushing out 278 million gallons of freshwater every day, it's a "first magnitude" spring. (There are five others feeding the Current and the nearby Jacks Fork River — the highest concentration on the planet.) Another spring emerges from a cave that's big enough to paddle into, and daredevils will find plenty of climbable bluffs from which to plunge into the water. But be careful not to disturb the otters, snakes, ducks and heron that make their homes on the Current. After all, they were there first.
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