Independence County

Independence County

Streams flowing into the White River in Independence County include Flaherty Creek, Poke Bayou, Wolf Bayou, Greenbriar Creek and Salado Creek.

About Lafferty Creek Watershed

Poke Bayou

Polk (or Poke) Bayou feeds into the magnificent White River and is one of the Batesville area’s most historically important waterways. Aside from its prominent role in the establishment of the Batesville area, Polk Bayou has become a leading tourism draw. Polk Bayou offers visitors the chance to experience the natural beauty of the Batesville area whether it is through fishing, canoeing, kayaking or bird watching.

A gentle stream flows past forests that hug the sandy shoreline. Here and there are dramatic rock formations. Birds swoop and sing; deer drink from the clean water. This isn’t some remote location. It is Polk Bayou, which meanders through Batesville to empty into the White River.

KAIT-TV Jonesboro called the stream “Batesville’s best-kept secret.”

For the past year and a half, the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce has been working with the city government to make the stream easier to access and navigate. The biggest problems are two sewer pipes that cross the stream — one“What the bayou has is ‘flat-water paddling,’” she said. “There is not a lot of current, no rapids.

For a full listing of the area’s public access locations, vist the interactive map link at

Wolf Bayou

Well hidden in the middle of nowhere is a fantastic whitewater creek called Wolf Bayou, a Class II to IV stream with a steep gradient, ledge and waterfall drops, boulder garden rapids, undercut walls, swift currents, willow striners and enough excitement for all but the hairiest of whitewater boaters. This run is in Cleburne and Stone Counties near the Independence County Line, just southwest of Batesville. The Little Red River flows nearby to the south. The White River, into which Wolf Bayou flows, is to the east and southeast. The Buffalo National River sits to the west and the Strawberry River flows just north of Wolf Bayou. Flows derive primarily from snowmelt and rainfall runoff in the Ozarks of northcentral Arkansas.

Float the Wolf?
Wolf Bayou features a 6.4 mile reach with most of its technical stuff within the first mile or so. Ledge drops of 4 and 8-10 feet are precursors to a 12-foot slot waterfall drop after which the river begins to settle down into a very enjoyable Class II to III+ run. This stream begins on a gradient of 110 fpm, but after the first third of a mile or so it suddenly plunges at a rate of about 165 fpm in a momentary freefall. The upper part of the run flows through a beautiful, narrow gorge that continues for over 5 miles, after which it opens up, its gradient becomes a little "flatter" and dense stands of willow trees lining the creek banks become the primary hazards to avoid. Access is via a private road that belongs to hospitable owners, so please be courteous and appreciative of their allowing you to park your vehicle and put in on their land. People hunt these parts, and anybody you encounter is liable to be armed with a rifle, pistol and/or shotgun depending upon season and their prey. Take that for what it is worth when you meet somebody in this area. As they say at the poker table, "A Smith and Wesson beats a royal flush every time!" 

Salado Creek

Salado Creek is an Extraordinary Resource Water. It flows eastward and then north into the White downstream from Batesville.  It is almost entirely in Independence County. It comes out of the Boston Mountains and into the delta.
Salado Creek, a tributary of the White River, forms at the confluence of three smaller creeks just north of the community of Floral in Independence County, then flows southeast somewhat parallel to and north of SH 87 before turning northeast and flowing to its confluence with the White River near the Town of Salado at US Highway 167 near Jacksonport State Park and Newport. The creek flows generally parallel to and between the Little Red River to the south and the White River to the north. Salado Creek is a place of immense natural beauty. All around the creek is farmland that is effectively hidden behind dense stands of trees along the banks for most of the run. The current flows fast, clean and clear at optimum levels, and the channel will be an obstacle course of small Class I to II boulder garden-type rapids, dead-fall debris, small drops and occasional log jams. The creek is never wide (only about 10-12 feet in some places), but becomes even more constricted starting about 2 miles below Camp Tahkotah, where it enters a small canyon. 

Float the Salado: The popular reach is a Class I to II run of about 11 miles from Girl Scout Camp Tahkotah to the US Highway 167 bridge. In low-water conditions boating is not practical. Navigable flows are determined by the "very scientific" method of observing how many stones are visible at the take-out bridge. Nine or fewer stone means we are paddling today, but if ten or more stones are showing, then we ain't a goin'!  Put-in access is on the Girl Scout camp property where a nominal fee is required to launch (fees help maintain the road to the access), and the take-out is a relatively easy one at the old US Highway 167 bridge near the Town of Salado and just above the White River confluence. The Arkansas Highway Department provides limited camping facilities at the nearby Salado Creek Rest Area on the highway just south of Salado.