Publication Date


Document Type



The Wakarusa River, a rather modest watercourse, emerges from confinement behind Clinton Dam, near Lawrence, Kansas, and flows dutifully eastward in a regularized, barren channel. Perhaps a half mile beyond the dam, the Wakarusa begins to reassert itself as a natural waterway; trees appear along the banks and the stream enters a shallow gorge. Midway down lies the Wakarusa Wave, described by some as "the best whitewater spot within 400 miles." At highwater, around 1000 c.f.s., there is a standing wave, a deep trough, and a high, foaming reflex wave, oscillating, and undulating in place over a bottom irregularity, which is, in fact, a somewhat anomalous limestone ledge, eight feet in height and spanning the width of the river. High water buries the ledge, descends in a green-glass curve, then races through the trough, and recurves upward into a wave which collapses backward onto itself. Lower water reveals the rock and turns the wave into a small waterfall. Kayaking on the Wakarusa Wave serves as the context and backdrop for this essay and reflections on sustainable communities, economic growth, expansion, and the balance between nature and modern growth societies.

Publication Title

Journal of Natural Resources & Environmental Law





Included in

Law Commons