The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
The harbor is an old channel of the Mississippi River, now cutoff from main channel by the man-made Napoleon Cut-off of 1863. This harbor channel was carved by US Navy during the Civil War to bypass Confederate fortifications from the bygone town of Napoleon, Arkansas (see next section for complete story). Oftentimes barges are anchored along the harbor channel and you can paddle alongside appreciating their size and height. I used to entertain the illusion that if I was about to be run over by a tow I could simply stand up in my canoe and jump on board. However, after seeing the size of a barge up close I realized otherwise.
All docking and industrial activity is on the high East bank of the harbor, the West bank being thirty feet lower and hence often flooded. Heading up the Rosedale Harbor you will paddle by Jantran Towing Company Headquarters with a drydocking facility. Watch out for frequent small towboat activity, which dart in and out of the harbor with barges for big tow fleeting. Further up you will paddle by the Jimmy Sanders Agricultural dock where empty barges are frequently being filled with corn, soybeans and rice from the productive fields of the Mississippi Delta. Beyond you will see the biggest warehouse buildings and docking apparatus in the harbor, which is the Port of Rosedale dry-bulk unloading dock and a dry-bulk loading dock. The boat ramp is located East bank just before you get to these giant docking facilities. You’ll see the concrete ramp leading down into the water from the distance. This is a well-built ramp with a gentle grade that is always accessible, from the lowest of low waters to the highest of highs. Even when the concrete part of the ramp goes under-water paddlers will have no trouble finding access to the gravel road. If all you need is water, go to the nearest docking office. If you need to run into town for resupply leave someone with your vessels and gear, or safeguard them somewhere before leaving. Unfortunately nothing is safe when left down by the river.
The town of Rosedale is 2 miles north of the harbor. There is small grocery store in town, and several convenience stores. Wifi can be found at the Rosedale Public Library, 702 Front Street. Some of the best tamales in the south can be found at the White Front Cafe, 902 Main Street. Rosedale celebrates with an annual blues festival second Saturday in May, which would be well worth attending if you are in the area.