Cross Country Coach's Riverways Map Featured in Local Magazine
Faculty & Staff
Dave Tobey, head Cross Country coach and assistant Track and Field coach was recently featured in The River Hills Traveler for his work mapping trails at the Ozark Riverways National Park located southeast of Fulton. Tobey spent January and February of last year plotting trails and creating a rough draft of a pocket map, along with the help and support of his Outdoor Education students at Westminster. He then had handy trail maps printed at his own expense so that hikers were better able to enjoy the park.
We've reprinted the article below courtesy of
. The Tobey article, including clickable map download, can be viewed here. The entire March edition may be viewed online at
for 99 cents.
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A Pocket Full of Riverways Trails
By Jo Schaper
Put on your hiking boots, and leave the paddles behind next time you head to the Ozark Riverways, says Dave Tobey.
Tobey should know. A cross-country and track coach who also teaches outdoor education for Westminster College in Fulton by trade, he’s spent many of his summers over the last 30 years as a seasonal National Park Service ranger, usually on the upper Current River.
“Especially when they closed the river last year, [due to flooding] people who’d come to float asked, “What are we going to do?” I’d tell them we’ve got great trails with great scenery, and you could tell it was a new idea to them,” he said.
On a visit to Phoenix in winter 2010-2011, Tobey hiked the mountain trails surrounding the city. “The scenery was spectacular, and the trails were extremely crowded,” he said. “And they had these little trail guides you could take with you. They fit in your pocket. That’s where I got the idea. Our trails are as beautiful as any out there, but hardly anyone uses them.”
Tobey decided the Riverways needed a little pocket trail map. It’s his personal project. He hiked the park trails on his own time a year ago January and February, concentrating on the part of the park he knew best.
“You have to know where the trailheads are, and I wanted people to be able to see something every quarter mile or so, just to be reassured they are on the path,” he said. “So I went and looked.”
He did a rough draft a year ago March, and got some support from his college, especially his outdoor ed students. Once the artwork was ready, Tobey paid to print 1000 of the maps: an 8.5 x 14 double-sided sheet that folds neatly down to 3.5 x 4.25 – just pocket-sized.
“People don’t realize that the off-season – great days in December, January, February – are just incredible for hiking. This last January was just great,” he said.
Once on the job last summer, he obtained permission from Van Buren headquarters, and then distributed the maps at evening programs and when he was roving – park-speak for visiting campsites and meeting people wherever they happened to be.
“I’m not trying to make money on this,” Tobey said. “It’s part of the mission of the college and of the park. Hiking is a low-cost activity. I’m trying to get some people out of that canoe, especially when the river is really crowded. Or if they’ve canoed one day, they can do something different the next. Just to get themselves out there moving, on their own two feet.”
“There are parts of this park which are wilderness…where you hardly see anyone. The Susie Nichols cabin is a good example. And it’s really so close to the river, but I’ve rarely seen anyone there except maintenance men.”
The longest hike on Tobey’s map is the 4.6-mile (loop) Cave Spring Trail. Most are about a mile, which is more like a long walk than a hike. He’s working on a similar guide for the Blair Creek and Current River areas near the Ozark Trail. “I know they’ve got their trail maps, and that’s good, but some people hear “Ozark Trail,” and that’s pretty ambitious. I’m giving them someplace to start.”
Tobey thought of Traveler because of our love affair with maps. He’s lent us copies of the map pdfs to put online for our readers to download in our e-Edition, with more access later on. You’ll need a printer that takes legal-sized paper to print a full-sized copy, and a sandwich sized-baggie to keep it dry. Tobey will send out one or two paper copies on request to him at 573-592-5279 or email@example.com.
It’s a cool little map.