ST. JOE, Ark. -- Summer may be just now coming to a close but the season was over before it even began for some Ozarks businesses. Canoe rentals just aren't big business during the worst drought in five decades.
The half dozen river outfitters still open along the Buffalo River in northwest Arkansas have been powering through painfully low water levels since June. There are 12 total; the upper portion of the river is usually unfloatable by now and those businesses close in early summer, but even one outfitter in the middle river is no longer renting and the ones that are renting aren't renting much.
There's not much in St. Joe.
"There's a couple of gas stations, a post, some of the boys work there -- that's about it."
This summer, Amy Reed is right -- that is about it. The lifeblood of the community is pretty dried up.
"You can see kind of where the green is coming in, on a good year most of that is under water," Reed said, pointing at the rocks by the river where plants are poking through.
"This year it started tapering off in June, June-July," Reed said of business at Silver Hill Canoe Rental.