Ozark National Scenic Riverways will host a summer kickoff at Akers Saturday. The free event features an open-air celebration of the Akers community beginning at 9 a.m.

The lawn around the Akers Visitor Center will host information booths and exhibits about historic communities on the banks of the Current River. Those with a connection to the upper Current River community will have an opportunity to share memories with everyone in attendance.

In accordance with the federal mask mandate, face masks will be required for entry into Mt. Zion Church. Social distancing will be implemented for outdoor activities, and face masks will be required whenever visitors are unable to maintain a six-foot distance from those outside their household.

Programs are scheduled as follows:

• 9 a.m.: Join Ozark Riverways Foundation President, Dave Tobey, on a paddle from

Welch to Akers highlighting the natural and cultural history of the upper Current River.

(Akers Ferry Canoe Rental is offering $10.00 off the rental of a kayak, raft, or canoe.

Check in at the store by 8 a.m. to be shuttled.)

• 9 a.m.: Enjoy an interpretive presentation by Ozark Riverways Foundation board member, Regina Van Patten, and self-guided hike to Welch Spring and Cave. Tour begins at the Welch parking area.

• 10 a.m.: Free ride and presentation on the Akers Ferry. Join the Maggard family as they share their history of the upper Current River.

• 11 a.m.: Tour of Mt. Zion Church (masks required). View displays and hear stories from local descendants of the Akers community.

• 12 p.m.: Booths from local organizations and event partners will highlight the cultural history of the area at the Akers Visitor Center. Ozark Riverways Foundation, the official

Friends Group for Ozark National Scenic Riverways, will host a membership sign-up.

• 2 p.m.: Join Rick Mansfield from Ozark Heritage Project for a tour of Akers Cemetery guided by a Civil War ghost.

The celebration will highlight recreational activities and historical programs that can be enjoyed at Ozark National Scenic Riverways and along the upper Current River. Partners for this event include the Shannon County Museum, Ozark Riverways Foundation, Friends of Mt. Zion, Dent County Historical Society, Ozark Trail Association, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Ozark Heritage Project.

Akers Visitor Center is located at the junction of State Routes K and KK in northern Shannon County. For more information, contact Ranger Skyler Bockman at 573-323-8093 or skyler_bockman@nps.gov

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding natural resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/ozar or call (573) 323-4236.