McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River System


Barge transportation, the least expensive and most energy-efficient method of moving goods, is available in Arkansas and Oklahoma as a result of a massive civil works project undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is 445 mi. long, stretching from the Arkansas River's confluence with the Mississippi River about 500 mi. upstream from New Orleans, LA, to the head of navigation at Catoosa, OK. There are 18 locks and dams, which enable vessels to overcome the 420-ft. difference in elevation along the waterway. The Arkansas River Visitor Center is located at the midpoint of the system.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil, Environmental
Topic(s):Space/Transportation
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The Arkansas River flows 1,450 miles, from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to the Mississippi River. The downstream portion of the Arkansas River is the major component of the $1.2 billion McClellan-Kerr system. However, 9 miles of the waterway are totally manmade: the Arkansas Post Canal, which connects the White River with the Arkansas River.