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Exploring Arkansas January 2012

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Columbus' Ships, Civil War Reenactment, Hidden Waterfowl Sanctuary
It's not every day you get to board not one, but two of Columbus' ships-the Nina and the Pinta. The replicas of the ships docked at Little Rock's Riverfront Park recently serving as traveling museums for school groups and visitors. One of the largest Civil War reenactments in Arkansas takes place every other year the first Saturday in November at Historic Washington State Park near Hope with more than 200 reenactors usually participating. In a combined effort involving the Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and the private sector, a man made habitat has been established for the endangered Least Terns and other waterfowl on the Arkansas River near Petit Jean Mountain .

TRANSCRIPT

[exciting music] ♪ ♪

WOULDN'T IT BE NEAT IF SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, YOU COULD ALL OF A SUDDEN TRANSPORT YOURSELF BACK TO ONE OF THE MAJOR EVENTS IN WORLD HISTORY? SUCH AS... WELCOME ABOARD THE PINTA. YES, AS IN ONE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS' SHIPS. [dramatic orchestral music] ♪ ♪ IT WAS THE AGE OF DISCOVERY, AND CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SET OUT IN HOPES OF FINDING THE NEW WORLD. - HE WAS AN EXCELLENT MAPMAKER, NAVIGATOR, AND EXPLORER. HE WENT TO SEA AT THE EARLY AGE OF 14. HE WAS THE SON OF WOOL MERCHANTS FROM GENOA, ITALY. HE WANTED NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WOOL TRADE. I DON'T BLAME HIM. SHEEP SMELL REALLY BAD. BUT HE WAS AT SEA, AND HE HAD EXTENSIVE TRAVELS THROUGHOUT THE NORTH ATLANTIC, THE MEDITERRANEAN, AND ALONG THE COAST OF AFRICA, GETTING TO THE ORIENT. SO HE WAS VERY FAMILIAR WITH THOSE WATERS. AND HE KNEW THE WORLD WAS ROUND. HE WAS RIGHT FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS. SO THROUGH HIS STUDY OF THE WIND IS WHAT GAVE HIM THE IDEA TO TRAVEL WEST, TO MAKE A WESTERLY ROUTE TO REACH THE EAST. FOR THAT REASON, HE BUILT THIS... ♪ ♪

THE REPLICA OF THE NIÑA WAS FIRST COMPLETED IN 1991 IN BRAZIL, FOLLOWED BY THE PINTA 16 YEARS LATER. IT WAS THE NIÑA THAT TOOK PART IN MAKING OF THE MOVIE 1492 IN COSTA RICA DURING 1992. SINCE THEN, SHE HAS VISITED MORE THAN 400 PORTS, INCLUDING LITTLE ROCK. [children talking excitedly]

HOW YOU DOING?

WELCOME ABOARD, CHUCK. I'M VIC, THE FIRST MATE HERE ON THE SHIP. I'VE BEEN WITH HER ABOUT 3 1/2 YEARS NOW. AND WE'LL GIVE YOU A QUICK WALK-THROUGH OF THE HISTORY OF THE SHIP AND SHOW YOU WHAT THE COLUMBUS FOUNDATION IS ABOUT.

AND THIS IS THE NINA RIGHT HERE.

THIS IS THE NINA, RIGHT. THIS IS THE NINA. THIS IS THE MOST ACCURATE REPLICA OF A CARAVEL THAT'S EVER BEEN PRODUCED. BUILT IN THE SAME TECHNIQUES THAT YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN IN THE 15TH CENTURY. EVEN THE SAME TOOLS WERE USED: AXES, HAMMERS, CHISELS, HANDSAWS, BUT NO POWER TOOLS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS SHIP.

AND THAT'S WHAT THE EARLY EXPLORERS USED IN THE AGE OF DISCOVERY.

THAT'S RIGHT. THAT'S RIGHT. THE CARAVELS WERE COLUMBUS' FAVORITE SHIPS, ACTUALLY, THE NIÑA AND THE PINTA, AND THEY WERE USED BY PONCE DE LEON, THE PINZON BROTHERS, AND SO ON. RIGHT, THE AGE OF DISCOVERY IS THE CARAVEL AGE. YES, THAT'S RIGHT. THAT'S RIGHT.

WELL, THIS IS AMAZING.

WELL, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. WE'LL SHOW YOU A LITTLE BIT OF THE MECHANICS OF THE SHIP. UP HERE IN THE BOW-- WE'RE IN THE BOW OF THE SHIP AT THE MOMENT-- THE ONLY REAL MACHINE THEY HAD ON IN THE 15TH CENTURY WOULD BE CALLED THE WINDLASS. THIS DEVICE DOES ALL THE HEAVY LIFTING FOR YOU IN THE PERIOD. IT WILL RAISE THE ANCHOR. AND WE'VE GOT A PERIOD ANCHOR OVER HERE. IT WILL LAUNCH THE SHIP'S BOATS, BRING CARGO ON BOARD FOR YOU, AS WELL. IT'S A VERY SIMPLE DEVICE, BUT IT'S VERY USEFUL. YOU CAN PUT TWO SAILORS ON THIS LEVER ARM, PUT TWO MEN ON THE ARM HERE, ANOTHER TWO MEO ON THE ARM OVER HERE. IF I WANT TO RAISE THE ANCHOR, I'VE GOT THE ANCHOR IN, SAY, 100 FEET OF WATER, GONNA RUN THE ANCHOR LINE AROUND THIS DRUMHEAD, PUT SOME SAILORS PULLING BACK ON THE TAIL END, AND WHILE THEY'RE PULLING-- GO AHEAD AND YOU CAN GRAB THIS. JUST DRIVE IT RIGHT DOWN TO THE DECK. TAKE IT DOWN TO THE DECK, AND NOW YOU HAVE TO PULL THE HANDLE OUT, REINSERT IT, AND DO THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN TO GET THAT ANCHOR BACK ON BOARD THE SHIP. EVERY TIME YOU TAKE A STROKE, YOU GET FOUR INCHES OF LINE BACK ON THE SHIP.

THAT'S A LONG PROCESS.

THREE STROKES FOR ONE FOOT, A VERY SLOW PROCESS. YOU WORKED LONG AND HARD IN THE 15TH CENTURY. THAT'S JUST PART OF THE LIFE AT THE TIME. A VERY SIMPLE TOOL BUT VERY EFFECTIVE. AND LIKE I SAID, IT'S ALSO USED TO BRING THE BOAT UP IN THE AIR AND BRING CARGO ON BOARD THE SHIP AS WELL. SO THERE'S OUR WINDLASS. ALL RIGHT, AND THEN WE CAN GO BACK BY THE CARGO HOLD, AND WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A FEW MINUTES. OKAY, ALL RIGHT, WE'RE LOOKING AT THE CARGO HOLD NOW. EVERY SHIP IN COLUMBUS' FLEET IN THE 15TH CENTURY HAD FOOD AND WATER ON BOARD FOR A FULL YEAR. THEY HAD 27 MEN ON THE NIÑA, 32 MEN ON THE PINTA, AND 44 ON THE SANTA MARIA. THEIR LIFE IS SPENT UP HERE ON THE MAIN DECK. THIS IS WHERE THEY LIVE, WORK, EAT, AND SLEEP. SO YOU SLEEP RIGHT HERE ON THE DECK WHILE YOU'RE UNDER WAY. DOWN BELOW IN THE CARGO HOLD IS WHERE THEY KEPT ANIMALS FOR THE VOYAGE, ALONG WITH THEIR SPARE LUMBER, SPARE LINE, AND SO ON. SO THERE'D BE A SMALL BARNYARD DOWN HERE: RABBITS, CHICKENS, GOATS, PIGS, EVEN HORSES KEPT BELOW. IT'S TIME TO EAT; YOU CAN BRING UP A RABBIT OR A CHICKEN. YOU COOK THEM UP HERE ON THE DECK. AND THEN FOR THE REST OF THE CREW, THIS IHOME FOR YOU DURING THE VOYAGE. SO THREE MAIN TYPES OF FOOD: THE ANIMALS BELOW, PICKLED FOODS--LIKE WE'VE HAD PICKLED APPLES, PEARS, BEETS-- AND THEN DRIED FOODS--NUTS, ALMONDS, THINGS LIKE THIS-- DRIED MEATS--BEEF JERKY, SALTED PORK, SALTED FISH-- AND THEN BARRELS AND BARRELS OF FRESHWATER EVERYWHERE, 'CAUSE, YOU KNOW, FRESHWATER IS THE PRIMARY ITEM TO HAVE ON THESE VOYAGES.

THEY ATE WELL. WELL, THEY HAD TO.

THEY DID, SURE. JUST LIKE ON A SHIP TODAY, THEY'D PRETTY MUCH EAT VERY WELL. WE HAVE A--OUR SHIP TODAY HAS A DEDICATED COOK FOR US. IN THE TIME, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SEVERAL PEOPLE HANDLING THE JOB OF COOKING. IT'S REALLY MORE ABOUT SAILING THAN IT IS ABOUT THE COMFORT OF THE CREW. BUT TREATED PRETTY NICELY BY THE COLUMBUS FOUNDATION TODAY. ALL RIGHT, NOW, BACK HERE IN THE STERN OF THE SHIP, THIS IS WHERE THE SHIP IS STEERED FROM. IT'D BE ONE ONMAN ON THE TILLE, UNDER MOST CONDITIONS. THIS IS THE TILLER IN FRONT OF ME. THE TILLER RUNS ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE RUDDER, WHICH GOES DEEP INTO THE WATER WITH A LOT OF SURFACE AREA ON IT, SO WHEN YOU'RE MOVING THE TILLER, YOU'RE MOVING THAT RUDDER AND YOU'RE STEERING THE SHIP. CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS ARE RIGHT DOWN IN THIS SECTION HERE. THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH ANY PRIVACY ON THE ORIGINAL SHIP WOULD BE THE CAPTAIN AND THE FIRST MATE. THEY HAD BUNKS DOWN BELOW THIS AREA. BUT A VERY SMALL AREA OF THE SHIP IS A CARGO CARRIER. IT'S NOT INTENDED FOR CREATURE COMFORT, BASICALLY, OF THE CAPTAIN OR THE MATE. SO THERE'S ONLY FOUR FEET OF HEADROOM DOWN BELOW. IT'S A VERY CRAMPED LITTLE AREA. YOU CAN'T BE CLAUSTROPHOBIC. IT'S NOT GONNA WORK FOR YOU. SO WHEN YOU'RE STEERING THE SHIP UNDER WAY LIKE THIS-- I'VE GOT THE TILLER OVER HERE ON THE PORT SIDE RIGHT NOW. THAT MEANS THE SHIP IS GONNA PEEL OFF TO STARBOARD. AND NOW IF I RUN THIS ACROSS THE DECK TO THE STARBOARD SIDE, THE SHIP WILL COMPENSATE AND COME BACK TO PORT FOR YOU. IT WAS A VERY SIMPSI WAY TO STEER A SHIP, BUT TODAY IT'S PRETTY UNUSUAL TO SEE A 76-TON VESSEL-- THAT'S THE NIÑA, 76 TONS, 100 TONS OVER ON THE PINTA-- STEERED IN THIS METHOD. SO WHAT COLUMBUS WOULD HAVE DONE, THAT'S WHAT WE DO TODAY. IF YOU'VE SEEN PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN WITH JACK SPARROW AT THE WHEEL, STEERING VERY NICELY, THE SHIP'S WHEEL IS A GREAT WAY TO STEER, BUT IT CAME ALONG ABOUT 80 YEARS AFTER COLUMBUS HAD DIED. SO UNTIL THAT TIME, THEY WERE STEERING WITH THE TILLER AND RUDDER HERE. UNDER WAY FOR US, THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEBODY BACK HERE. AS SOON AS THE SHIP IS MOVING, THERE'LL BE SOMEBODY ON THE TILLER. THERE'LL BE ANOTHER SET OF EYES UP IN THE BOW, 'CAUSE YOU CAN SEE THERE'S A BIG BLIND SPOT HERE. YOU'VE GOT TO ALWAYS HAVE A SECOND SET OF EYES UP IN THE BOW FOR YOU TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT'S HAPPENING. IF OUR SAILS ARE DOWN-- AND WHEN WE ARE SAILING, THEY COME RIGHT DOWN TO THE CAP RAILS HERE, SO BACK HEON THE TILLER, ALL YOU SEE AHEAD OF YOU IS A BIG WHITE SHEET. THAT'S THE SAIL. YOU DON'T EVEN SEE THE BOW OF THE SHIP. SO ALWAYS HAS TO BE SOMEBODY UP CALLING OUT THE SHOTS FOR YOU BACK HERE. THE BRAINS ARE IN THE FRONT OF THE SHIP, AND THEN THE BRAWN IS BACK HERE ON THE TILLER. EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW IF COLUMBUS HAD CANNONS ON BOARD THE SHIPS, AND HE DID. THIS IS A SAMPLE OF THE CANNON THEY CARRIED IN THE 15TH CENTURY. IT'S CALLED A LOMBARD. THIS DOESN'T LOOK VERY BIG, BUT IT DOES QUITE A JOB IN THE 15TH CENTURY. THIS LITTLE CANNON WILL SHOOT A THREE-POUND BALL OF LEAD A MILE OUT IF YOU PUT THE PROPER CHARGE IN HERE. AND THEY'RE PRIMARILY USED FOR SIGNALING ON THE SHIPS. THE NIÑA AND THE PINTA WERE MUCH FASTER THAN THE SANTA MARIA. THEY WOULD TEND TO RACE AHEAD OF HER ON THE VOYAGE. AND THEY GET SO FAR AHEAD THAT YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE THE SANTA MARIA ANYMORE. YOU HAVE TO HAUL YOUR SAILS UP INTO PLACE, AND YOU BOB ABOUT THE OCEAN, WAITING FOR THE SANTA MARIA TO CATCH UP. AND WHILE YOU'RE WAITING, YOU START TO FIRE OFF YOUR CANNON EVERY HALF AN HOUR OR SO. AND WHEN YOU'RE DOING THAT, THOSE SOUND WAVES ARE GOING ACROSS THE OCEAN. THEY GO A LONG, LONG DISTANCE. THE SANTA MARIA CAN HEAR THE SOUND, SHE CAN PICK UP THE DIRECTION, SHE CAN CATCH UP WITH YOU, AND THEN ALL THREE SHIPS SAIL OFF TOGETHER AGAIN. SAFETY IN NUMBERS.

STUDENTS CAN LEARN ABOUT COLUMBUS AND HIS VOYAGE IN SCHOOL, BUT TO ACTUALLY COME ON BOARD REPLICAS OF THE NIÑA AND PINTA IS A TOTAL ATTENTION-GETTER, BEING CATAPULTED TO THE YEAR 1492. WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU DIDN'T STUDY ABOUT IN SCHOOL?

LIKE, EVERYTHING, 'CAUSE I DON'T EVER PAY ATTENTION. I LEARNED ABOUT HOW THEY, LIKE, LET THE SAILS DOWN AND STUFF AND THEY, LIKE, USE THAT LITTLE THINGY TO STEER AND THE ANCHOR THINGY. I DON'T KNOW.

CAN YOU IMAGINE TAKING A VOYAGE ON A SHIP LIKE THAT ACROSS THE OCEAN?

I THINK IT'D BE DIFFERENT. I COULDN'T EVER DO IT. IT'D BE HARD, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO DO A LOT OF STUFF.

I THINK IT WOULD PROBABLY BE KIND OF HARD LIVING DOWN IN THERE, SAILING ACROSS THE OCEAN. AND IT WOULD TAKE A WHILE, AND PROBABLY WHEN-- TO KEEP-- IF I WERE-- IF THERE WERE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SHIP THAT NEEDED TO CONTACT US AND IT WAS BACK IN THE EARLY 15s OR SOMETHING, WE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE TO USE THE CANNON A LOT.

THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF A SPANIARD BACK THEN WAS ABOUT 40AND... THEY WERE, LIKE, 5'1" TO 4'9", SO THEY WERE REALLY LITTLE.

SO DO YOU THINK YOU'D LIKE TO CROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN IN SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

I GET SEASICK TOO EASILY, SO I DON'T WANT TO. I WOULDN'T.

EXPERIENCING WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE TO SAIL ACROSS THE ATLANTIC ABOARD SHIPS LIKE THESE: IT IS ABOUT AS CLOSE TO GOING BACK IN TIME AS YOU CAN GET.

THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE COLUMBUS FOUNDATION IS FOR PEOPLE TO COME DOWN AND ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO TOUCH AND FEEL AND LOOK AND SEE WHAT THE 15TH CENTURY WAS LIKE. 'CAUSE LIKE I SAID, THIS SHIP IS AS ACCURATE AS POSSIBLE AND SHOWS THE 15TH CENTURY. SO OUR FOCUS IS ON SCHOOL GROUPS. WE'VE HAD--HERE IN LITTLE ROCK, WE PROBABLY HAD OVER, I WOULD SAY, 2,000 KIDS COME THROUGH IN THE WEEK THAT WE'VE BEEN HERE. IT'S BEEN A VERY SUCCESSFUL STOP FOR US, VERY HOSPITABLE TOO, A VERY NICE PLACE. AND THAT'S OUR GOAL IS TO BRING PEOPLE-- NOT JUST TO SHOW YOU A PICTURE IN A HISTORY BOOK BUT LET YOU COME AND SEE A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY. AND THEN, YOU KNOW, THE CREW OF THE SHIP ARE VOLUNTEERS. WE HAVE PEOPLE ON BOARD BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE, DURING SEMESTERS AT COLLEGE, WHICH IS A GOOD THING, TOO, TO ADD TO THEIR EDUCATION. THE PRIMARY GOAL IS EDUCATION: LET YOUNG AND OLD SEE WHAT THE 15TH CENTURY LOOKED LIKE AND GET A REAL GOOD GRIP OF WHAT WAS GOING ON DURING THE AGE OF DISCOVERY.

IT'S ONE OF AMERICA'S PREMIER HISTORIC VILLAGES. IN FACT, IT'S BEEN COMPARED TO COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG. HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK: HERE, YOU CAN GO BACK IN TIME TO THE 19TH CENTURY, BACK TO ONE OF THE MOST TRYING TIMES OF OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY, AS REENACTORS PORTRAY THE HARSH REALITY OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES. [dramatic music] ♪ ♪ LOCATED EIGHT MILES NORTH OF HOPE, ALONG HIGHWAY 278, CIVIL WAR WEEKEND AT HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK IS HELD EVERY OTHER YEAR, USUALLY THE FIRST WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER. REENACTORS FROM ACROSS THE REGION PRESENT LIVING HISTORY DEMONSTRATIONS ALONG WITH BATTLE SCENARIOS. ♪ ♪

WE'LL BE SHOOTING OUNCES OF BLACK POWDER AND ABOUT 14 OUNCES OF CORNMEAL, AND IF YOU'RE ANY CLOSER THAN 50 FEET, EVEN TO WHAT I'M SHOOTING OUT THERE, IT'S GONNA KNOCK YOU DOWN. IF YOU'RE AT 25 FEET, YOU'RE DEAD, 'CAUSE IT GETS YOU WITH THE POWDER AND CORNMEAL RIGHT THERE. BUT ANYTHING FROM 50 FEET ON, IT DOESN'T MATTER. [rifles firing] [cannon firing]

READY!

READY!

AIM! FIRE! [rifles firing]

LOAD!

I'VE BEEN REENACTING FOR 22 YEARS. WE--I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT REASONS WHY THEY DO THIS. OF COURSE, THE COMMON REASON WOULD BE TO HONOR THEIR ANCESTORS, WHICH RANKS UP PRETTY HIGH. YOU KNOW, WE TRY TO PUT OURSELVES THROUGH WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH, AT LEAST A PORTION OF IT. THERE'S NO WAY THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE WHAT THEY EXPERIENCED, 'CAUSE WE'RE NOT BEING SHOT AT. BUT WE TRY TO GET THAT FEEL OF WHAT THEY WENT THROUGH. AND BESIDES THAT, WE HAVE A GOOD TIME. YOU HAVE PEOPLE WITH A COMMON INTEREST DOING THIS. YOU'VE GOT THE CAMARADERIE AROUND THE CAMPFIRE AT NIGHT, THAT KIND OF THING. AND PLUS, YOU GET OUT THERE AND SHOOT GUNS AND THAT KIND OF THING. THAT'S ALWAYS-- I GUESS IT'S A MALE THING. THEY LIKE TO GET OUT AND DO THAT, SO... BUT THAT RANKS HIGH IN REASONS WHY WE DO THIS.

SO TELL US WHAT WE'RE GONNA SEE ON THIS SKIRMISH THAT'S GONNA BE TAKING PLACE, AND WHAT IS YOUR ROLE?

WELL, MY ROLE, WE'LL BE PORTRAYING FEDERAL-- A FEDERAL COMPANY TODAY. ESPECIALLY THE SMALLER EVENTS LIKE THIS, YOU COME PREPARED TO DO EITHER SIDE, PORTRAY EITHER SIDE. SO TODAY WE'RE PORTRAYING THE FEDERALS, AND TOMORROW WE'LL BE PORTRAYING THE CONFEDERATES. BUT TODAY, AS FEDERALS, WE WILL BE ATTACKING THE CONFEDERATES' CONTINGENT. AND IT'LL BE-- WE'LL BE PUSHING THEM BACK AND FORTH, YOU KNOW. I'M NOT SURE RIGHT NOW WHO WILL BE THE VICTOR TODAY. I HAVEN'T BEEN TOLD. WE JUST HAVE TO-- LIKE A LOT OF EVENTS, ONCE THAT FIRST SHOT IS FIRED, THE SCENARIO GOES OUT THE WINDOW. SO... [laughs] SO YOU CAN KIND OF PLAY IT BY EAR AFTER THAT. BUT AS LONG AS WE KNOW WHAT THE OUTCOME'S SUPPOSED TO BE, THEN WE KIND OF PLAY WITH IT UP UNTIL THAT POINT.

WHEN YOU WENT TO SCHOOL, DID YOU ENJOY HISTORY?

WHEN I WAS 12, IN THE SIXTH GRADE, WE WENT TO MANSFIELD BATTLEFIELD. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME-- IT WAS AASCHOOL TRIP. AND THAT WAS MY FIRST-- THAT WAS MY INTRODUCTION TO THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES. AND I'VE PRETTY MUCH BEEN HOOKED ON HISTORY OF THAT ERA EVER SINCE. IT JUST FASCINATES ME, THAT TIME PERIOD. AND SO YEAH, I'M PRETTY MUCH A HISTORY BUFF. AND EVEN MORE SO AFTER I'VE GOTTEN OUT OF SCHOOL, I'VE BEEN MORE OF A HISTORY BUFF. 'CAUSE I GOT STARTED DOING THIS HOBBY IN MY 30s, SO I WAS RELATIVELY LATE GETTING STARTED DOING IT, COMPARED TO A LOT OF PEOPLE. BUT YEAH, I WOULD CONSIDER MYSELF PRETTY MUCH A HISTORY BUFF.

FIRE! [rifles firing]

LOAD!

1ST COMPANY, FALL BACK. READY! [rifles firing] AIM! FIRE! [rifles firing] LOAD. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT.

FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR. I'M A CONFEDERATE. I JUST HAPPEN TO BE DRESSED IN BLUE THIS TIME OUT BECAUSE IF EVERYBODY PLAYS CONFEDERATE, WE'LL HAVE NOBODY TO FIGHT. SO THEY DESIGNATE SOME DIFFERENT PARTS OF OUR GROUPS TO BECOME-- WE CALL IT GALVANIZED. AND THAT MEANS WE JUST DRESS IN THE BLUE. WE DON'T LIKE IT TOO WELL, BUT WE DO IT BECAUSE WE'RE INTO THIS. THIS IS A GREAT HOBBY FOR ALL THESE FELLOWS HERE. MOST OF US ARE FROM EAST TEXAS AND ARKANSAS IN THE 19TH TEXAS, AND WE COME UP TO THE EVENTS IN ARKANSAS. WE GO TO LOUISIANA. WE ACTUALLY WENT OVER TO VIRGINIA THIS YEAR AND DID FIRST MANASSAS. IT WAS QUITE THE TRIP FOR A LOT OF US. IT WAS THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME, ACTUALLY. EIGHT DAYS IN THE CAR WITH FIVE FELLOWS MAKE YOU EITHER FRIENDS OR ENEMIES. WE TURNED OUT TO BE GOOD FRIENDS, ALL OF US. YEAH, THE REENACTING COMMUNITY, IF WE DON'T GET SOME YOUNG BLOOD IN, ALL US OLD DUFFERS THAT YOU SEE, WE'RE GONNA DIE OUT EVENTUALLY. SO WE KIND OF RECRUIT AS WE GO ALONG AT THESE EVENTS HERE. IT'S SUCH A GOOD THING TO SEE THE PUBLIC TURN OUT AND WATCH US DO THIS. BUT WE TRY TO HONOR THE HERITAGE OF THE MEN THAT FOUGHT-- BOTH SIDES, ACTUALLY, THAT FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR. AND THE BIG THING WITH ME IS THAT I JUST, AS A KID, WAS A HISTORY BUFF. AND I HAD TO WAIT ALL MY WORKING LIFE TO RETIRE TO BECOME A KID AGAIN. AND THAT'S WHERE I'M AT IN LIFE. I'M ENJOYING GOING TO THESE EVENTS WITH MY BROTHERS, AND WE FORM A TIGHT BOND, A UNITY OF LIKE-MINDED MEN. ♪ ♪

READY! AIM! FIRE! LOAD.

OF COURSE, THE MEANING OF WITNESSING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS MOST INVALUABLE TO SCHOOL-AGE KIDS.

FIRE! LOAD.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME SEEING SOMETHING LIKE THIS?

OH, NO, I'VE BEEN COMING SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL.

REALLY?

MM-HMM. THIS IS PROBABLY ABOUT MY THIRD OR FOURTH TIME, BUT I COME TO OLD WASHINGTON ALL THE TIME.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WATCHING THESE BATTLES?

I LOVE IT, AND I THINK IT'S GREAT FOR KIDS THAT-- YOU KNOW, PEOPLE-- THE HISTORY. BECAUSE WE DON'T REALLY GET TO LEARN A LOT ABOUT THIS AT SCHOOL. I MEAN, YEAH, WE GO THROUGH THE BOOKS, BUT WE DON'T--WE DON'T GET TO EXPERIENCE STUFF LIKE THIS. SO I REALLY ENJOY IT. I'M A HISTORY FREAK ANYWAY.

RILEY, WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

IT'S COOL.

READY!

AS THIS REENACTMENT HAD SPECTATORS, THE FIRST MAJOR BATTLE OF THE CIVIL WAR IN JULY OF 1861, THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN, ALSO HAD SPECTATORS, WHO ANXIOUSLY GATHERED IN HOPES OF WITNESSING A CONFEDERATE DEFEAT, WHICH, OF COURSE, TURNED OUT TO BE JUST THE OPPOSITE.

FORWARD. [men yelling]

FIRE! [rifles firing]

HERE AT THE BASE OF PETIT JEAITN MOUNTAIN ON THE ARKANSAS RIVER NEAR MORRILTON IS A SPECIAL AREA SET ASIDE FOR WILDLIFE. THIS, WHAT I'M WALKING ON, IS NOT NATURAL. THESE SAND AND GRAVEL BARS ARE ALL MAN-MADE: A COMBINED EFFORT OF THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, THE ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION, AND OLD CHARLIE AT CHARLIE'S HIDDEN HARBOR/SANCTUARY. CHARLIE, I UNDERSTAND THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN, MAKING THIS LITTLE ISLAND HERE THE HABITAT FOR THE LEAST TERNS.

YEAH, WHAT IT ALL STARTED OUT ON WAS, I KNEW THEY WERE DREDGING UP HERE. AND I HAD CONCERNS WHERE THEY WERE GONNA DREDGE ON TAKING AWAY OUR DEEPER HOLES IN THE ARKANSAS RIVER, WHERE YOUR CATFISH, YOUR GAR, AND YOUR PADDLEFISH SORT OF HIBERNATE IN. AND SO A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE IS OVER THE RIVER, NAMED BOBBY LEONARD, AND HE TURNED AROUND AND SAID, "WELL, LET'S ALL GET TOGETHER." THE CORPS CAME UP, THE GAME AND FISH, MYSELF. AND I SAID I HAD CONCERNS ABOUT IT. WE ALL GOT TOGETHER. WE LOOKED AT THIS AREA. THE GAME AND FISH HAD TO COME IN AND DO ANOTHER STUDY ON IT TO MAKE CERTAIN THIS WAS ALL RIGHT. THE CORPS WENT ALONG WITH IT, AND WE ENDED UP WITH THESE GREAT ISLANDS DOWN THROUGH HERE. AND WHAT THIS TURNED INTO WAS A LEAST TERN SANCTUARY. YOU CAN SEE HOW YOU HAVE GRAVEL AND SAND? THE LEAST TERN LOVES THE GRAVEL. SO WHEN THIS GOT WASHED OUT, WE HAD A STUDY GROUP THAT CAME FROM A VO-TECH AT RUSSELLVILLE. AND THEY WERE DOING IT ON THE LEAST TERN, BECAUSE IT'S AN ENDANGERED SPECIES. WELL, THE KID CAME UP HERE, AND HE SAID, "CHARLIE, WE HAD 70 HATCHLINGS HERE. "IT WAS THE MOST HATCHLINGS IN ONE AREA "FROM DARDANELLE ALL THE WAY TO CONWAY. THIS IS JUST FANTASTIC." AND THEN THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS ENVIRONMENTALISTS CAME UP. THEY WERE TALKING TO ME. THEY SAID, "WE WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THIS ISLAND HERE. "BUT WE'D LIKE, MAYBE, TO HAVE TO PUT SIGNS ON IT TO KEEP PEOPLE OFF." AND THEY THOUGHT I WAS GONNA SAY, "NO, NO, NO." WELL, I--I TOLD THEM THEY COULD DO ANYTHING THEY WANT. I'D EVEN PUT THE SIGNS UP, BECAUSE THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. AND I NEED YOU TO COME UP IN THE SPRING AND THEN IN THE SUMMER, WHEN THEY'RE HERE, AND TAKE PICTURES OF THEM. IT'S JUST-- IT'S JUST A MASS OF BIRDS. WE USUALLY HAVE, THIS TIME OF YEAR, A LOT OF PELICANS ON IT, OF COURSE. WHEN YOU WERE COMING UP...

YEAH, WE SAW THE PELICANS.

YEAH, WE SAW A FEW. BUT IT'S LIKE ANYTHING ELSE. IF YOU'D HAVE BEEN HERE THE DAY BEFORE, IT WAS FULL. BUT IT'S REALLY A TREMENDOUS FEAT. THIS SET OF ISLANDS HERE WAS THE FIRST. THEN YOU CAN SEE ACROSS THE WAY, THAT WE WERE ON BEFORE, THAT'S THE SECOND. AND IT'S JUST--THE CORPS IS GETTING READY TO GO 12-FOOT MAIN CHANNEL INSTEAD OF 9. AND THEY ARE GONNA DO A LOT OF THIS. THEY ARE GONNA HAVE A LOT OF THESE--CREATE THESE ISLANDS. AND BASICALLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING--IN THE OLD DAYS, BEFORE YOU HAD THE DAMS, YOU HAD A LOT OF SANDBARS. THEN WHEN THE DAMS CAME IN, OF COURSE, IT, YOU KNOW, CHANGED IT UP. IT FLOODED IT OUT AND EVERYTHING ELSE. WE'RE GETTING BACK SORT OF TO WHAT IT WAS LIKE BEFORE THE DAMS. AND IT'S JUST WONDERFUL. AND DUCK HUNTING UP HERE IS TREMENDOUS. IT'S JUST--I'M LUCKY THAT WE COULD GET TOGETHER AND, YOU KNOW... EVERYBODY'S ALWAYS AGAINST THE CORPS. THEY'RE ALWAYS AGAINST THE GAME AND FISH. AND I'D SAY THAT THE THINGS THAT I'VE ASKED FROM THE CORPS AND THE GAME AND FISH, I'VE PROBABLY GOTTEN ABOUT 85%.

THAT'S DOING GOOD. - OH, THAT'S DOING DARN GOOD, I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW?

WELL, DID YOU EVER THINK, YOU KNOW, YOU GO FROM CHARLIE'S HIDDEN HARBOR, AND NOW, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE SAYING, "HEY, IT'S CHARLIE'S HIDDEN HARBOR/SANCTUARY NOW"?

WELL, THAT'S GREAT. THAT'D BE JUST-- WHATEVER IT TAKES. WHEN I FIRST GOT UP HERE-- I'VE BEEN HERE 20 YEARS, AND I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE A BIRD-WATCHER. BUT I'M BAD ABOUT-- THE PAST YEARS, ESPECIALLY, DO I DON'T CARE WHETHER ANYBY EVEN COMES UP. I'D JUST AS SOON HAVE MY ANIMALS AND MY BIRDS. IT'S JUST-- AND THE RIVER IS TREMENDOUS WHEN YOU GET--FLUCTUATION OF BIRDS, THE MIGRATIONS. IT'S TREMENDOUS. BUT I REALLY DO APPRECIATE THAT THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS AND THE GAME AND FISH AND I COULD GET TOGETHER. I MEAN, THAT'S-- IT'S JUST-- YOU DON'T SEE IT HAPPEN ALL THE TIME. COURSE, MOST PEOPLE DON'T ASK. I THINK YOU NEED TO LEARN TO ASK, AND, YOU KNOW, YOU'LL RECEIVE SOMETHING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

I WILL SAY THE ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION WORKS WITH THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO TRY AND MINIMIZE THE IMPACTS OF THEIR DREDGING OPERATIONS. WE WORK WITH THEM TO AVOID PLACING THE SPOIL IN AREAS THAT ARE REALLY GREAT FISHERIES AREAS, REALLY GREAT FISHERIES HABITATS. AND WE TRY AND PUT THE SPOIL IN AREAS THAT HAVE LOW FISHERIES HABITAT VALUE AND MAYBE WHERE WE CAN CREATE AN ISLAND THAT'S GREAT FOR THE LEAST TERN TOO. AND SO WE ALL WIN, ALL THREE OF US. WE AVOID THE FISHERIES IMPACTS. WE CREATE AN ISLAND FOR THE LEAST TERN. THAT'S REAL BENEFICIAL. AND THEN WE ALSO GET THE NAVIGATION CHANNEL THAT THE BARGE INDUSTRY NEEDS.

YOU'RE SEEING A YOUNGER GENERATION IN THE CORPS AND IN THE GAME AND FISH. AND I THINK THEY ARE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY INCLINED THAN THE OLD-TIMERS. AND IT'S A GOOD THING. BUT I THINK THAT EVERYBODY, ALL GOVERNMENT, IS GETTING MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING.

SO CHECK OUT THE UNIQUE HIDDEN SANCTUARY HERE NEAR PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN ON THE ARKANSAS RIVER NEAR MORRILTON. AND FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION PLUS MANY OF OUR OTHERS OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEBSITE: AND WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN THE NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON EXPLORING ARKANSAS.

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