Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sad Days in Van Buren

Kim, the head concessionaire at Big Spring Lodge and Cabins, has her quilting operation up and running. While tending to the masses coming to the remarkable cabins at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Big Spring outpost, she quilts, making beautifully colorful blocks of Log Cabin designs and others. I do adore Kim, who will take my last minute calls for cabin reservations, sending the bill to the right address and letting me know whether there will be firewood waiting or if I need to bring my own. But after this season, Kim's operation will shut down as the Scenic Riverways will close the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins for repairs for three years.

Three years, that's a long time to live without a cabin at Big Spring. The cabins and Lodge are fully operational since the days of the Conservation Civilian Corps. In recent years, the concessionaire has added window unit air conditioning to make the cabins more bearable during the late summer nights. But in spring and fall, one can count on timber mill seconds for firewood to keep the cabins warm. Other lodging in Van Buren? There's Rosecliff, the hotel attached to The Landing, the premier canoe outfitter and nice restaurant with a full bar, great porch and vegetarian options.

But it's not a cabin at Big Spring. Our waitress at the lodge, wearing her watermelon apron and barrettes in her hair, said that the National Park Service wasn't going to change the rustic character of the lodge and cabins with their planned upgrades (I hope she's right). The closure of the cabins and the lodge will allow for foundation and electrical repairs, and upgrades to the cabin kitchens which are now spaces with electric hotplates and coffeepots. I'm worried they're going to bring wifi to the cabins, that they're going to upgrade the cabins and lodge so much so that fancy city people will come and change the character of the landscape. I hope my worries are unfounded. The jet boats in the Big Spring area have already decimated the river, I hope development doesn't destroy the cabins and lodge.

No comments: