Love My Ozarks

The Ozark Mountains are home to Wild Horses, the national parks Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and some of the most beautiful springs, creeks, rivers, landscapes, and historic mills you will find anywhere.

Tim Layton With Linhof Master Technika 4x5 CameraTim Layton With Linhof Master Technika 4x5 Camera Hi, I'm Tim Layton, and I am your Ozark Mountains Insider.

The Ozarks stretch from southern Missouri into northern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, covering nearly 47,000 square miles.  

I am a fine art photographer and filmmaker dedicated to exploring the beauty and awe of the Ozark Mountains and sharing these beautiful places with you.

My home is in the heart of the Ozark Mountains region, and I live for the next adventure and opportunity to explore the epic landscapes and wildlife.  My passion is to share this unique and beautiful place with you and give you a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won't forget.

ABOUT THE OZARK MOUNTAINS

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There are two mountain ranges in the Ozarks: the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri.

The Ozarks cover nearly 47,000 square miles making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, the area is known as the U.S. Interior Highlands.

The St. Francois Mountains are a mountain range of Precambrian igneous mountains rising over the Ozark Plateau in southeast Missouri. This range is one of the oldest exposures of igneous rock in North America

The St. Francois Mountains were formed by volcanic and intrusive activity 1.485 billion years ago.

The Appalachians started forming about 460 million years ago, and the Rockies a mere 140 million years ago. When the Appalachians started developing, the St. Francois range in the Ozarks was already twice as old as today's Appalachians.

The ancient mountains in the Ozarks may be the only area in the Midwestern United States never to have been submerged (as evidenced by the lack of marine fossils), existing as an island archipelago in the Paleozoic seas. Fossilized coral, the remains of ancient reefs, can be found among the rocks around the flanks of the mountains. These ancient reef complexes formed the localizing structures for the mineralizing fluids that resulted in the rich ore deposits of the area.

 

OZARK MOUNTAIN WILD HORSES

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton For the last 100 years, herds of wild horses have been roaming the ancient and rugged landscape in Shannon County, Missouri, near the small town of Eminence nestled in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

The Wild Horses of Missouri are close-knit herd animals.  They treasure their families above all else.

The close bonds they form are crucial for their emotional and physical survival.

Wild Horses represent America's history, and they made it possible to explore this great land.  Never believe they are safe from being taken from us because history confirms otherwise.

The wild horses of Shannon County, Missouri, are living symbols of our country’s history and pioneering spirit. Anyone who has had the privilege of watching them graze freely and calmly understands their importance and why they matter. 

It is hard to fathom that thousands of our wild horses across America have died at the hands of the federal agency entrusted to protect them.  Even though these horses are currently "protected" by federal law under the Ozark Wild Horse Protection Act, it doesn't mean they will stay this way forever.

HISTORY OF THE WILD HORSES

8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare and New Foal - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton8/1/20 - Shawnee Creek Mare and New Foal - Wild Horses of Missouri by Tim Layton Shannon County and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways national park are home to four herds of wild horses roaming this beautiful and rugged landscape for more than a century.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area to protect a river system and the only state where wild horses still roam free.

It hasn't been an easy path for the wild horses over the last 100 years, and it would be foolish to think current conditions couldn't change and put the horses back in danger again. 

During the 1980s, the National Park Service announced a plan to remove the wild horses, and people were outraged. 

In 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court denied a final appeal to protect the horses and gave the National Park Service the right to remove the horses from federal land.  

The national park service started removing the wild horses in a profoundly upsetting way to residents and horse lovers around the country.  The people of Shannon County and horse lovers around the country rallied together, and the Wild Horse League of Missouri was formed.

Wild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim LaytonWild Horses of Shannon County Missouri by Tim Layton Luckily, by 1996 the Wild Horse League of Missouri, which formed in 1992 to save the wild horses, received help from the people of Shannon County, Congressman Bill Emerson, Senators Kit Bond, and John Ashcroft.

Their tireless efforts paid off, and President Clinton signed a bill into law on October 3, 1996, to make the wild horses of Shannon County a permanent part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  

Now, people worldwide visit Shannon County in hopes of seeing these majestic wild horses.

The Missouri Wild Horse League works with the National Park Service to capture horses when the herd exceeds 50.  The captured horses are taken into care and evaluated before being adopted by loving families for permanent homes.

It is important to remember that these horses are wild. When looking for them, be sure not to approach them or feed them. It is a federal crime to get closer than 50 feet or give them food.   

It is essential to keep these animals wild and free and for you to be safe. The horses are big, strong, and unpredictable and for your safety, keep a safe distance of 100 yards or more between you and the horses.  Unfortunately, I have seen people walk up to the horses with my own two eyes and try and pet them.

 


OZARK NATIONAL SCENIC RIVERWAYS

Two of America's clearest and most beautiful spring-fed rivers make up the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the first national park area to protect a wild river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers wind through a landscape of rugged hills and towering bluffs.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways is perfect for canoeing, swimming, fishing, boating, and some of the most beautiful photographic opportunities. 

More Than Just the Rivers

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Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created by an Act of Congress on August 27, 1964, to protect 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in the Ozark Highlands of southeastern Missouri.

BY FOUR YEARS, Ozark NSR was the nation's first "scenic riverways" - a forerunner to the Wild and Scenic River Act. The clean, clear waters of the two beautiful rivers provide excellent opportunities for photographers and nature lovers.

The southeast Missouri Ozarks are typified by narrow steep-sided hollows, numerous streams, and bluffs. Much of the area is underlain by soluble dolomite, giving rise to sinkholes, caves, and springs of classical Karst topography.

There are over 300 documented caves within the boundaries. Several caves have been identified as having critical habitats for endangered Indiana and gray bats. Some caves are gated or signed to protect bat habitats.

Over sixty percent of the rivers' flow comes from seven primary and hundreds of smaller springs of various sizes within the park. Big Spring, one of the largest springs in the United States, has an average flow of 276 million gallons of water per day. The maximum recorded flow in one day was 840 million gallons in June 1928.

Learn How to Create Amazing Photos With Any Camera. Subscribe To My Photo Tips Newsletter and download a free Photoshop and Camera Raw Shortcuts Reference.


Select the "Buy" button in the upper right corner to purchase over 175 different products to include: fine art prints, greeting cards, calendars, canvas gallery wraps, metal ornaments, coasters, mugs, mouse pad, postage stamps, and more!
There are 112 species of fish, 197 birds, and 58 species of mammals found in the park. There are also 26 amphibians and 46 species of reptiles found in the park area, including four venomous snakes. The park is home to approximately 1,000 plant species.

Summers are hot and humid. Ticks, mosquitoes, and gnats are the most prevalent insect problems. The area is subject to severe thunderstorms, torrential rains, and flooding. Winters are generally cool with variable precipitation.

About 2 million people a year visit Ozark NSR. Visitation is heaviest during the summer months, especially during weekends and holidays.

There are 318 miles of roads within the park, most of which are secondary public roads and backcountry roads or traces. There are numerous road access points along the Current and the Jacks Fork Rivers.

State Highway 19 and US Highway 60 provide the primary road access into the area. Fourteen miles of designated horse trails and 48 miles of foot trails are located within the park. Trail conditions may vary considerably. Short hikes in the Big Spring and Alley Spring areas are popular. The park contains an 8.5-mile section of the Ozark Trail, which is planned to someday go from St. Louis into Arkansas. Several long sections of this trail have already been completed.With a rich natural and cultural history, fascinating geologic formations, two of the country’s clearest and most beautiful spring-fed rivers, and outdoor recreation galore, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is an incredible resource loved by generations.