The location of Wayside Campground started as Natatorial Park at an unknown date. We have photos dating Natatorial / Natatorium Park back to the mid 1930s. It was established as Wayside Campground when John and Dorthy Davis developed the property.
Elk River Campground, and the Elk River Cabins were not always one as Trestle Park. Elk River Campground was established by the family that occupied what is now the Old Ozark House, one of our Vacation Rentals. The property sold to Larry and Doris Lambeth and they established it as the floating outfitter, Elk River Floats. The Elk River Cabins were added to complete the property in 2021.
The Kansas City Southern Railroad expanded through the area in the mid-1880s, transforming Elk River into a Vacation Destination for folks from Kansas City. Charles O. Williams, a Railroad Tycoon, acquired the bluff top forest and built the first lodge for Ginger Blue in 1912. Ginger Blue was formally established and opened in 1915. The property owes a great deal of its success to US Highway 71 being built in 1926, becoming the ‘Prized Drive of the Ozarks’, now MO Highway 59.
Kozy Kamp was established by the Bonebrake family. It became a choice floating and camping destination following the US Highway 71 move of the early 1960s, this made US Highway 71 Kozy Kamp's eastern neighbor. The very move that triggered the Noel Chamber of Commerce to try and secede McDonald County from Missouri. McDonald County was to join the state of Arkansas, or form an entire new state with Benton County Arkansas and Delaware County Oklahoma. This was due to the fact that Highway 71 would no longer go through Ginger Blue and Noel, where most of the Outfitters, Campgrounds, and Resorts were located.
Eagles Nest Camp & Canoe was officially established in 1988. It quickly became the choice family campground of the Elk River, with its secluded and private feel, calm atmosphere and beautiful views of Mt. Shira and Elk River.
Our story begins the summer of 1998. Our family bought Elk River Floats, at the time the business only had Wayside Campground and Elk River Campground (Trestle Park). After 12 years of persistent inquiry our family finally had the opportunity to take on our dream project, Ginger Blue, the crown jewel and original resort of the Elk River. By 2017 after being reimagined, redesigned, and rebuilt, on Ginger Blue’s 102nd birthday, the Cabins were once again open for the summer. We plan to reopen the lodge as soon as we can, with the well, water treatment facility, and foundation all ready for the new beginning of the Ginger Blue Lodge. The following yeas we have added Kozy Kamp, Eagles Nest, Off The Deep End, and Elk River Cabins to Elk River Floats & Resort of the Ozarks. Our family owned floating operation now spans over 38 miles of floatable streams, 2.5 miles of river footage, four campgrounds, 25 cabins & vacation rentals, and 860 acres of the Elk River Watershed.
Above all, we are dedicated to the preservation of our forest and watershed. Since 2017 we have planted over 2,000 trees native to the Elk River Hills ecoregion of the Ozarks. Of those trees, 1,250 were planted as part of a river bank stabilization project our staff had the opportunity to work on with the Nature Conservancy, Natural State Streams, DNR and the statewide Soil and Water Conservation Program. We dedicate a portion of our revenue, time, and effort to Clean Air, Clean Water, and Healthy Forest every year. Who knew partying on the Elk River could have a helpful impact on nature?
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Elk River Floats & Resort of the Ozarks