Buffalo National River Partners (BNRP), a support organization for the Buffalo National River, held a working retreat at Toney Bend Research Center on Saturday, Feb. 23. The purpose of this all-day event was to focus on BNRP’s purpose, vision, and goals. Guy Lord, BNRP membership chair and board member from Harrison who is a retired businessman, saw the potential of this training used by many business and educational organizations in their planning to be helpful to a board of a non-profit auxiliary organization in their own planning.

Twelve of the fourteen BNRP board members attended along with Caven Clark, retired BNR Chief of Interpretation and Resources Management, and the new Buffalo National River Park Superintendent, Mark Foust. BNRP claims approximately 150 members and 50 youth members at present. Previously the Partners group has conducted fund-raisers as a financial resource to the Buffalo National Park. When funds fall short, volunteers help with events, tours, education, and even landscaping.

The strategic planning retreat was facilitated by volunteer Lisa Bogle of Harrison who has led similar trainings in the work setting. Board members were led in reviewing their current mission, vision, and overall purpose of the Buffalo National River Partners. They then assessed the organizations’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. After lunch the participants brainstormed and selected their top 3 goals set from the mornings’ review. Under Bogle’s direction, small groups chose their goal with which to work and created objectives and activities through which to meet this goal. This planning will carry over to the next BNRP board meeting on March 11. The board meets bimonthly.

The next major fund-raising event by BNRP will be Pint Night at Pack Rat in Fayetteville on Wednesday, May 29, where local breweries and food trucks gather and the funds generated go to various non-profits. Pack Rat hosts Pint Night 8 times each year, benefitting a different organization each time.

Buffalo National River Partners will again host a free concert on the Buffalo River at Steel Creek in Newton County on Saturday, June 15, at 6 p.m. Locally living but nationally known band National Park Radio will provide the music for a family-oriented day on the river. BNRP also sponsors free educational programs at the Boone County Library at 5:30 p.m. in Harrison on the 4th Tuesday of each month. The Partners, led by board member Aletha Tetterton, organizes 3 Buffalo River clean-ups each year.

Buffalo National River Partners can be joined online at bnrpartners.org. Joining offers outdoor, volunteer, and educational opportunities. Members are invited to a yearly membership meeting, typically in September. BNRP can also be contacted at bnrpinc@gmail.com or P.O. Box 1914, Harrison, AR 72602 or 870-741-5320.

Board members attending the retreat were Ginger Milan, president, Harrison; Terrie Martindale, Harrison; Jacque Alexander, St. Joe; Melinda Caldwell, Harrison; Dwan Garrison, Yellville; Guy Lord, Harrison; Evelyn Mills, Harrison; Aletha Tetterton, Jasper; Rick Milburn, Harrison; Kevin Middleton, Jasper; and Annette Pettit, Cotter.

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