Off the Grid - Development Flood Threatens River Rats

1 decade 8 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, March 29 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 6:13:31 PM CDT March 29, 2007 in News

Along the banks of the river in southern Boone County, there are people who live differently than most of us, a lifestyle inspired by rats. One of them is Catfish, who has lived in a river shack for nearly 30 years.

"I am a river rat. We're proud of that title. It means someone that knows the river," Catfish explained. "You don't learn this river in two weeks. You don't learn it in two years. It takes a long time."

Catfish has survived many challenges while living on the river, including in 1993 when even rats had to swim.

"My main challenge during the flood of '93 was transportation," he remembered. "I had to go in and out by canoe. The flood's just a part of living here."

But, Catfish fears a bigger danger now, a fast-flowing flood of developers and realtors.

"They may need to move and find a larger property," said Columbia Realtor Debbie Thomas. "As you come along the bluffs, you'll see development as far as the more prestigious subdivisions and larger houses along the river."

Catfish responded, "We really don't want this turned into nothing but a bunch of half-million dollar homes."

Despite Catfish's plea, others say, "Move over."

"Development and progression of society continues," explained Thomas, "whether you love your home or you don't."

Catfish loves his river shack, but his first love is the peacefulness of rural Boone County, something he hopes to never lose.

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