The Mary Woods No. 2 in Jacksonport State Park

    10:55 PM, Feb 1, 2010   |    comments
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    • Mary Woods #2 (Photo: Arkansas State Parks)

    Over the weekend, the Mary Woods No. 2 Steamboat was found sunk at Jacksonport State Park.

    State tourism leaders say this incident filled the state park's Facebook page with concerns about the ship.


    It's a restored work boat dating back to 1931 that's become a popular tourism fixture for the state.


    It's a blast of the Mary Woods No. 2 on a summer day at Jacksonport State Park.


    But this winter, the sounds blow a far different tune as a crime scene surrounds an Arkansas relic. 


    "The Mary Woods is laying on its right side in about 20 feet of water," said Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas.  


    It's a submerged mess found Sunday morning by Jackson County authorities.


    By Monday, they charged two suspects: Richard Rife of Newport and Paul Morrison of Michigan. But how they allegedly sank the boat will take time. 


    "We can't really find out what happened until it's pulled from the water," said Joe Jacobs with Arkansas Parks and Tourism.


    In its heyday, the Mary Woods No. 2 hauled lumber along White and Cache rivers, eventually docking for good at Jacksonport State Park where it was restored for the public to enjoy.


    "Oh, it gets like thousands of visitors a year," Jacobs said.

    "We bring a lot of kids in there for educational purposes and we get a lot of travelers. They love that park because of the history."


    The boat is actually closed during the winter months. But Jacobs says the recent damage still triggered concern on the agency's Facebook page.


    "There's been a lot of talk about it, people who are rather upset about what happened," Jacobs said.  


    Jacobs says the state parks department won't let this treasure float away.


    "Right now I can tell you we're looking at various scenarios at how we'll get it back in place," Jacobs said.  


    And replace this crime tape with a brighter view of history.


    Jacobs says he's feeling pretty confident they'll be able to bring this boat back to life. But it's going to take some time getting it out of the water and completing the criminal investigation.


    As for the two men arrested Monday, they're facing charges of commercial burglary and criminal mischief. They'll be back in court on Feb. 10.


    This was actually not the first time the Mary Woods No. 2 steamboat sank. There was a previous incident back in 1984.  





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