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Exploring Arkansas July 2006

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Ozark Waterfalls, Wolf Pen Gap ATV Trail, Lake Ouachita Vista Trail Lake
With a name like "Glory Hole", you know it's got to be awesome ! It's one of many secluded and spectacular waterfalls in the Ozarks. The Wolf Pen Gap ATV Complex in the Ouachita National Forest south of Mena is one of the more popular of its kind, attracting 10,000 users annually from a four state area. The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail near Mount Ida, when completed will contain some 40 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the shores of Lake Ouachita.

TRANSCRIPT

ALONG WITH THE ABUNDANCE OF CAVES IN THE NATURAL STATE, THE SAME CAN BE SAID ABOUT THE ABUNDANCE OF WATERFALLS. THE ONLY TRICK IS YOU HAVE TO SEEK THEM OUT DURING THE WETTEST TIMES OF THE YEAR. AND ON THIS WEEK'S SHOW, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE YOU TO A COUPLE THAT ARE QUITE POPULAR WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS. THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE FOUR-WHEELING FUN AT THE PLACE CALLED THE WOLF PEN GAP ATV COMPLEX IN NEAR MEAN AN WHICH HAS BECOME QUITE THE MECCA FOR FOUR-WHEELER THUZZISTS. AND THEN WE'LL WRAP IT UP AT A FAIRLY NEW TRAIL CALLED THE LAKE WATCH AT THAT VISTA TRAIL. WHICH MEANDER ALONG THE SHORELINE OF LAKE OUACHITA OFFERING SOME PICTURE PERFECT SETTINGS OF THE LAKE. LET'S GET STARTED, SHALL WE, ON OUR TREK TO THE FALLS?

FASCINATING HOW PLAIN WATER FLOWING OVER A LEDGE CAN BE SO AWE-INSPIRING. A WATERFALL IS SOMETHING THAT FASCINATES JUST ABOUT EVERYONE. YOU JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF LOOKING AT ONE. IT'S SOOTHING, CALMING AND TRANQUIL. MAYBE THAT'S WHY MOST OF US ENJOY LOOKING AT THEM. GOOD FEELINGS DO COME FROM LOOKING AT WATERFALLS. AND WHILE THERE IS PROBABLY SOME MEDICAL EXPLANATION FOR IT, ALL I KNOW IS THAT THEY JUST LOOK SO DARN PRETTY. AND THAT'S A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO GO AND EXPLORE THEM. JOINING US ON OUR HIKE TO THE FALLS IS OUR OLD FRIEND ALF CARTER OF OZARK WILDERNESS WORKS GUIDE SERVICE AND HIS TRUSTY AND FAITHFUL COMPANION, STONE WALL. SINCE AN ABUNDANCE OF FALLING WATER IS NEEDED TO PRODUCE ANY DECENT WATERFALL, THE OBVIOUS TIMES OF THE YEAR TO GO AND OBSERVE WATER FALLS IS FROM LATE FALL THROUGH EARLY SPRING. IN OTHER WORDS, DURING THE WETTEST MONTHS OF THE YEAR. IF YOU VENTURE OUT IN THE HEAT OF THE SUMMER, EXPECT TO SEE ONLY A TRICKLE, IF THAT. THE REALLY NEAT THING ABOUT HIKING TO A WATERFALL DURING THE SPRING IS ALL THE SPRINGTIME WILD FLOWERS YOU CAN SPOT ALONG THE WAY. SO, TAKING ALONG A CAMERA IS A MUST, NOT ONLY FOR THE WATERFALL AT THE END OF YOUR HIKE BUT TO PHOTOGRAPH WILD FLOWERS LIKE THESE ALONG THE WAY. THE WATERFALLS WE'RE TAKING YOU TO ON THIS PARTICULAR HIKE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIND IN ANY TRAVEL BROCHURE OR STATE PARK. THESE ARE REMOTE AND SECLUDED AREAS DEEP WIN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST. THE FIRST ONE IS CALLED GLORY HOLE EAST OF FALLSVILLE OFF HIGHWAY 21. ONE LOOK AT IT AND YOU CAN SEE WHY IT'S CALLED GLORY HOLE. 31-FOOT TALL GLORY HOLE IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE FORCE AND POWER OF WATER BORING THROUGH ABOUT 12 FEET OF SOLID ROCK TO EVENTUALLY COME OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THIS LEDGE.

THIS PARTICULAR ONE HERE, THE GLORY HOLE, IS ONE OF THE PREMIER HIKING DESTINATIONS OF ALL THE OZARKS. IT WAS FOUND IN OUR MODERN ERA, YOU MIGHT SAY, BACK IN '71. I GUY NAMED DICK MURRAY WAS SCOUTING THIS AREA OUT FOR A TRIP FOR THE OZARK SOCIETY. YOU COULD IMAGINE HIS EXCITEMENT WHEN HE FOUND THIS PLACE. BUT THIS THING IS REALLY EASY TO GET TO. AND YOU REALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO SEE AND VISIT WHEN YOU'RE HERE.

IF YOU CATCH IT AT THE RIGHT TIME LIKE WE DID TODAY, WE LUCKED OUT WITH WATER.

YEAH. YOU COULD GET IT HIGHER WHEN IT'S MORE DRAMATIC. BUT IT'S ALWAYS GOT A LITTLE BIT OF A TRICKLE. I'VE GOT HIKERS THAT WILL COME HERE EVEN IN THE DRY EST DAYS OF AUGUST BECAUSE IT'S SO COOL AND DAMP BACK HERE. IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASANT SPOT TO GET TO.

I DON'T KNOW, I MAY BE WRONG, BUT NOT TOO MANY WATERFALLS COME OUT OF A CHUNK OF ROCK LIKE THAT.

NOW, THERE ARE NOT MANY OF THEM BUT THERE ARE FOUR OR FIVE. EACH LITTLE WATERSHED HAS ONE. THIS IS DISMAL CREEK AND IT GOES TO THE BIG PINEY. THERE'S ANOTHER SMALLER PIKE GLORY HOLE LIKE THIS ON THE UPPER KINGS RIVER. THERE'S ONE ON THE LOWER BUFFALO THEY CALL THE LITTLE GLORY HOLE. SO IT'S NOT AS UNCOMMON AS YOU THINK. I MEAN, WATER'S ALWAYS TRYING TO FIND THE EASIEST, QUICKEST WAY DOWN. IT'LL JUST BORE RIGHT THROUGH ROCK JUST LIKE IT DID HERE. IT DOES IT IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES.

YEAH, IT'S AMAZING HOW THAT FORMS. NOW, WHAT ARE THE ONE OR TWO OTHER ONES THAT WE'RE GOING TO TRY AND GO SEE?

YEAH, AFTER THIS, WE WILL A GO OVER TO THE BOWEN GULF AREA WHICH IS IN THE UPPER BUFFALO WILDERNESS AREA. GO SEE MAGNOLIA FALLS AND A COUPLE OF THE OTHER FALLS, WOLF BROTHERS FAULTS THAT ARE AROUND IT. IT'S ANOTHER INSTANCE OF WATERFALLS THAT ARE JUST REAL EASY TO GET TO AND STILL REALLY WORTH THE WALK.

GLORY HOLE IS LOCATED 6.2 MILES EAST OF FALLSVILLE OFF HIGHWAY 21 DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM AN ABANDONED HOUSE WITH A STEEL GATE. FOLLOW THE TRAIL FOR ABOUT 1 MILE TO THE FALLS. THE MAGNOLIA FALLS TRAIL HEAD IS ONLY ABOUT SEVERAL MILES NORTH OF GLORY HOLE, AGAIN OFF HIGHWAY 21. THE HIKE ITSELF IS JUST A LITTLE OVER A MILE, AND THIS ONE IS A LITTLE BIT TRICKY BECAUSE THE TAIL TOWARDS THE END, AFTER TURNING LEFT ALONGSIDE A CREEK, IS BARELY NOTICEABLE AND IS NOT AS EASY TO FOLLOW. BUT YOU DO HEAR THE FALLS OFF IN THE DISTANCE, WHICH DOES ACT AS A GUIDE. YOUR REWARD AT THE END IS A MAGNIFICENT 26-FOOT TALL DOUBLE DECKER FALLS WITH A POOL OF WATER DEEP ENOUGH TO BE CALLED A SWIMMING HOLE.

THIS IS MAGNOLIA FALLS, ONE OF THE CREEKS THAT MAKES UP THE BOWEN GULF AREA AND THE UPPER BUFFALO WILDERNESS. THIS IS A CON FLEW ENSURE -- CON INFLUENCE OF TWO CREEKS THAT COME TOGETHER AND THERE ARE THREE REALLY SIGNIFICANT WATERFALLS RIGHT HERE. EVEN IN THE SUMMERTIME WHEN EVERYTHING IS DRY, ALL THESE CREEKS WILL STILL HAVE A TRICKLE AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF WATER FOR LIKE SWIMMING, SWIMMING HOLES ALWAYS HERE.

WHAT'S THIS OTHER ONE DOWNSTREAM HERE?

THE OTHER ONE IS CALLED THE WOODS BROTHERS. IT'S A LITTLE MORE DRAMATIC. A LITTLE HARDER TO GET TO, TOO. BUT WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT IT IN JUST A SECOND.

THE HIKE TO WOODS BROTHERS FALLS IS ONLY ABOUT ANOTHER 100 FEET OR SO DOWNSTREAM TO THIS, YET ANOTHER, SPECTACULAR OZARK WATERFALL. THE WOODS BROTHERS, OR WOOD BOYS AS THEY'RE KNOWN, USED AGO USED TO LOG THIS PART OF THE OZARK BY HAND. THIS 33-FOOT WATERFALL IS NAMED AFTER THEM. IF YOU HAPPEN TO HIKE HERE AT THE RIGHT TIME OF THE YEAR, YOU CAN CATCH THE AZALEAS IN FULL BLOOM, WHICH WILL ADD TO YOUR WATERFALL PHOTOGRAPHY. THE MAGNOLIA FALLS, WOODS BROTHERS FALLS AREA IS 1.8 MILES NORTH OF THE JUNCTION OF HIGHWAYS 21 AND 16 OR 9 MILES SOUTH OF BOXELY. TURN ONTO COUNTY ROAD NUMBER 6 AND PARK BY THE WILDERNESS AREA ACCESS SIGN WHERE THE TRAIL HEAD IS LOCATED. SO GET OUT AND ENJOY A PIECE OF PARADISE IN THE OZARKS.

WITH A NAME RESEMBLING THAT OF AN OLD WESTERN MOVIE, WOLF PEN GAP HAS BECOME AN ATTRACTION NEAR MINA. A FULL BLOWN ATV MECCA IS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE AS VISITORS COME FROM A FOUR-STATE AREA, ABOUT 10,000 OF THEM EVERY YEAR. AND IT'S NO WONDER. THE TRAIL SYSTEM OFFERS HIGH MOUNTAIN VISTAS AND BLUS TERRING VALLEYS. SO WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO TAKE AN ADD VAN TEN HERE ON ONE OF THESE THINGS. SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? LET'S GO. . (MOTORCYCLES REVVING). ♪

FOR THE FOUR-WHEELER ENTHUSIAST THIS IS DEFINITELY HOG HEAVEN. AND HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT IN THE EARLY 1990S WAS A NATURAL.

THAT'S JUST AN YAR THAT HAD A LOT OF ROADS AND PLACES THAT WE COULDENECT WITH -- COULD CONNECT WITH SHORT PIECES OF TRAIL. HAD SOME REALLY SCENIC BEAUTY AND JUST OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE FOLKS TO GATHER UP. IN THE BEGINNING, WE HAD NO IDEA THAT IT WOULD DRAW THIS KIND OF A CROWD.

WOLF PEN GAP'S LOCATION JUST SOUTH OF MINA DOES MAKE IT EASILY ACCESSIBLE WITH VISITORS FROM OKLAHOMA, TEXAS AND LOUISIANA. OF COURSE, WITH ALL THE USE THIS AREA RECEIVES, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT IS A PRIORITY.

WATER QUALITY IS PROBABLY OUR MAIN CONCERN OUT HERE, TO MAINTAIN GOOD WATER QUALITY BECAUSE EVERYBODY LOOKS TO THE FOREST SERVICE, OF ALL PEOPLE, TO AGENCIES TO HAVE GOOD WALTER QUALITY. SO THAT'S, YOU KNOW, AS FAR AS DO WE KEEP PEOPLE OUT OF EVERYTHING? NOT NECESSARILY, BUT A LARGE PERCENT DO. AND IT'S A CONSTANT WATCH. BUT PEOPLE ARE DOING PRETTY GOOD . ♪

THE INTERCONNECTING LOOP TRAILS SYSTEM WAS 41 MILES LONG. BUT AFTER A WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS, 10 MILES OF TRAILS WERE CLOSED OFF.

MANY OF THE ROADS FOLLOW THE CREEKS FROM THE OLDER TIMES WHEN THEY LOGGED THIS COUNTRY THE FIRST TIME 70, 100 YEARS AGO. AND THERE'S TRAILS, ROADS GO DOWN THE CREEK. AND THOSE ARE THE PLACES THAT WE SPECIFICALLY DID NEED TO ELIMINATE, TO REDUCE THE IMPACT ON THOSE FRAGILE STREAM SYSTEMS. THEY'RE FAIRLY RESILIENT. AND WE'VE HAD SOME GOOD LUCK RECOVERING FROM THAT, THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS. IT'S AN ONGOING PROCESS. WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE SIGHT OF THAT. THE WATER QUALITY IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

FORTUNATELY, WITH THE COOPERATION OF ATV THUZ I DIDN'T SAYTS, HE CAN LOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE.

A LOT OF OUR USERS IF THE FOUR-STATE AREA ARE VERY ORGANIZED. AND WE FOUND THAT SINCE THEY ARE ORGANIZED, THEY PROVIDE A GOOD OUTLET FOR OUR MESSAGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION. AND IT'S MADE THEM VERY RESPONSIVE. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, WE FEEL THAT WE'VE DONE -- BEEN ABLE TO MITIGATE SOME OF THE CONCERNS OF WATER QUALITY AND SEDIMENTATION OF THE CREEKS. AND WHILE WE HAVE SEEN SOME IMPROVEMENT. BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR FOREST HYDROLOGIST THAT MONITORS THAT WATER QUALITY. AND WE HAVE SEEN IMPROVEMENTS. ♪

AS FAR AS THE FUTURE USE OF ATV'S IN NATIONAL FORESTS, THAT WILL DEPEND A LOT ON THE ATV USERS THEMSELVES AND THE LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISION.

RIGHT NOW, WE ARE ONE OF THE FEW THAT IS BASICALLY OPEN, MEANING THEY COULD REALLY GO ABOUT ANYWHERE THAT THEY CHOOSE AS LONG AS THEY'RE NOT CAUSING RESOURCE DAMAGE. BUT THEN WITH THE NATIONAL POLICY, IT'LL BE -- THAT WILL BE TAKEN AWAY AND IT WILL BE -- FOLKS WILL BE LIMITED TO DESIGNATED ROADS AND TRAILS THAT ARE ALLOWED FOR ATV USE AND OTHER THINGS.

THE WOLF PEN GAP ATV COMPLEX IS OPEN YEAR ROUND EXCEPT DURING DEER GUN SEASON BETWEEN MID NOVEMBER AND EARLY DECEMBER. AND BECAUSE ACCIDENTS CAN AND DO HAPPEN, THE FOREST SERVICE HAS INSTALLED HELIPADS SO ANYONE REQUIRING EMERGENCY CARE CAN BE AIR LIFTED OUT QUICKLY. BUT OF COURSE, STAYING ON THE TRAIL THAT'S WIN YOUR SKILL LEVEL IS THE KEY TO PREVENTING INJURIES AND HAVING FUN. ♪

IT'S THE LARGEST LAKE IN THE STATE. 70,000 SOME ACRES. LASH OUACHITA NEAR LAKE SPRINGS. THE GREAT WAY TO ENJOY ESPECIALLY THE LAKE IS TO GET ON THE LAKE OUACHITA VISTA TRAIL THAT MEANDERS ALONG THE SHORE. WHETHER YOU CHOOSE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE IT OR HIKE IT, YOU REALLY CAN'T LOSE. SO, LET'S GO CHECK IT OUT. THE LAKE OUACHITA IS AN ONGOING PROJECT OF THE FOCUS COMMITTEE A VOLUNTEER GROUP WORKING CLOSELY WITH THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, THE FOREST AND GAME AND FISH COMMISSION. WHEN COMPLETED, THIS SYSTEM OF HIKING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS WILL BE SOME 40 TO 50 MILES LONG.

WE'RE LOOKING AT WAYS TO ENJOY THE LAKE WITHOUT HAVING TO BE IN IT OR ON IT. THERE ARE VERY FEW TRAILS AROUND THE LAKE. WE TRIED TO DEVELOP SOMETHING TO CONNECT WHAT WAS EXISTING ON THE LAKE. THERE ARE CORPS OF ENGINEER CAMP GROUNDS ALONG THE NORTHERN SHORE, THERE ARE RESORTS. BUT NOTHING CONNECTING OTHER THAN THE LAKE. AND THE MORE WE LOOKED AT IT, THE MORE WE THOUGHT HIKING, BIKING TRAIL ALONG THE EDGE OF THE LAKE WOULD REALLY ENHANCE THE ENJOYMENT OF THE LAKE AND WOULD BE A GOOD DRAW FOR FOLKS WHO VISIT THE LAKE AND FOR THE LOCAL PEOPLE. WE TRIED TO DEVELOP A TRAIL THAT'S GOOD FOR BOTH OLD AND YOUNG AND BIKERS AND HIKERS SO EVERYBODY CAN ENJOY A PIECE OF THE ACTION. IF YOU'RE A BIRD WATCHER OR IF YOU JUST ENJOY THE FAUNA OF THE FOREST, IT'S ONE OF THOSE PLACES WHERE YOU CAN GO. IT'S VERY LITTLE UNDERGROWTH. A LOT OF OLD GROWTH TREES. THEY GIVE YOU A REALLY TALL CANOPY THAT ALLOWS YOU TO REALLY ENJOY YOURSELF WITHOUT THE NORMAL SUMMERTIME PESTS.

WHEN THE NEW TRAIL IS BUILT, ESPECIALLY IN A NATIONAL FOREST, THERE'S A LOT OF PLANNING AND DESIGN WORK THAT GOES INTO IT. ALSO, BEING AWARE OF ANY ARCHAEOLOGICAL IMPACTS.

WE DID A LOT OF SCOUTING. OUR COMMITTEE AND THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS AND THE FOREST SERVICE, WE'D COME OUT IN TEAMS AND WE'D SCOUT OUT THE DIFFERENT AREAS ALONG THIS PATCH OF THE FOREST THAT BORDERS THE LAKE AND LOOK FOR THINGS THAT WE WANTED TO INCLUDE. AND VISTAS WAS WHAT WE WERE AFTER. SO THIS WAS A REALLY NICE SECTION HERE BECAUSE YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE WEST. AND SO YOUR SUN SETS ARE ALL ALONG THESE VISTAS HERE. THERE'S ABOUT FIVE REALLY OUTSTANDING VISTAS ON THIS TWO-MILE STRETCH. ARCHAEOLOGICALLY, THIS IS, AS EVERYONE KNOWS, THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY WAS AN ACTIVE NATIVE AMERICAN SITE. THERE'S LOTS OF HISTORY THAT SAYS THE CATO NATION LIVED IN THIS AREA FROM HUNDREDS OF YEARS. AND SO WHEN YOU'RE DOING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL REVIEW, YOU'RE LOOKING TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT GOING THROUGH AN ACTIVE SITE, AND WE DIDN'T. AND WHEN YOU DO AN EN VIRNMENTAL ASSESSMENT, YOU'RE LOOK TOGETHER MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOT DISTURBING ANY UNIQUE ANIMALS OR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT CAUSE THEM TO LOSE THEIR CONTINUOUS HOLD ON NATURE HERE. AND THEN YOU'RE JUST BASICALLY LOOKING TO TRY TO CREATE SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE CAN ENJOY EASILY. AND THIS WAS -- THIS TRAIL'S A NATURAL BECAUSE ALL THE ROADWORK IS ALREADY DONE. ALL THE RESORTS HAVE NICE PAVED ROADS INTO THEM. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR ROADS. THE TRAIL ITSELF JUST HAND DUG.

WITH THE FIRST 5.2 MILES BEHIND THEM AT THE SHANGRILA RESORT AT THE WEST END OF THE LAKE, THE GROUP HAS BEEN WELL PLEASED WITH THE OUTCOME, ESPECIALLY THE MOUNTAIN BIKING OPPORTUNITIES.

WELL, I'VE BEEN MOUNTAIN BIKING ABOUT 10 YEARS. I DO IT COMPETITIVELY. I DO IT FOR MY ENJOYMENT. I DO IT FOR CONDITIONING. STAY IN SHAPE AND EVERYTHING. WE'VE REACHED A GOOD AGREEMENT WITH ALL THE HIKERS AND BIKERS BASICALLY IN THIS WHOLE AREA. WE SHARE THE TRAILS. WE TRY TO MAINTAIN THE TRAILS. THE FOREST SERVICE REALLY DOESN'T HAVE THE SUFFICIENT PERSONNEL TO REALLY TAKE CARE OF THE MILES AND MILES OF TAILS THAT WE HAVE, SO THE BIKING CLUBS AND HIKING CLUBS GO TOGETHER AND TRY TO MAINTAIN THE TRAILS AND KEEP THEM IN GOOD SHAPE. WE HAVE PEOPLE COMING IN HERE FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES TO THESE TRAILS AND HOPEFULLY THIS TRAIL WILL GET TO BE WELL KNOWN, TOO, AND PEOPLE WILL COME AND VISIT IT.

HOW DO YOU RATE IT AS FAR AS SOME OF THE OTHER MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS IN THE STATE?

THIS ONE IS, RIGHT NOW, IS QUITE A BIT SHORTER. IT DOES HAVE, THOUGH, THE SOUTHWEST END, IT HAS SOME DIFFICULT LITTLE CLIMBS TO IT AND SOME TRICKY LITTLE CURVES. THE OTHER END, THE SHANGRILA END, IT'S MORE OF A FLATTER BEGINNER TYPE TRAIL. THE CHILDREN CAN COME OUT AND RIDE ON IT. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST INEXPERIENCED ON BIKES CAN RIDE IT EASIER. AND THEN THEY'VE GOT IN A SHORT DISTANCE HERE, THEY'VE GOT SOME CHALLENGING STUFF THAT THEY CAN WORK THEIR WAY INTO AND EVENTUALLY GET TO HER THEY CAN RIDE IT, TOO.

NOT TO MENTION THE VISTAS OF THE LAKE, AS YOU ARE ENJOYING YOUR RIDE.

THE VISTAS TO THE LAKE, WHEN YOU GET A LITTLE BIT WINDED, YOU CAN STOP AND REALLY ENJOY IT. WE HAVE PLACES, LOGS YOU CAN GO AND SIT ON AND EAT LUNCH AND TAKE NAPS AND WHATEVER YOU WANT TO. SO YOU COULD ACTUALLY HAVE THE WHOLE FAMILY COME OUT AND BRING A PICNIC WITH YOU AND ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH THE TRAIL JUST SIT DOWN AND GET ON A BIG LOG AND SPREAD THE MEAL OUT AND HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME OF A PICNIC.

ALONG WITH THE HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE AREA, A WATCHABLE WILDLIFE SECTION IS ALSO IN THE WORKS.

THERE'S REALLY A WIDE VARIETY OF THINGS THAT FOLKS CAN SEE WHEN THEY COME OUT TO THIS SECTION OF THE TRAIL. FROM JUST LOOKING AT FISH WHEN WE WERE OUT HERE LINING THE TRAIL HERE EARLIER WE SAW CRAPPIE SPAWNING. I SAW A BUNNY WALKING IN AND OTHER TYPE OF NEOTROPICAL MIGRANTS WHICH IS A BIG WORD FOR THOSE BIRDS THAT GO SOUTH AND COME BACK UP. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE BIRDS OF PREY LIKE EAGLES AND THINGS LIKE THAT COMING THROUGH. USING THIS TYPE OF RESERVOIR, COYOTES AND BOBCATS, THERE'S REALLY A WIDE VARIETY OF THINGS FOLKS CAN SEE UP HERE.

I AM A VOLUNTEER. AND I'M A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE LAKE OUACHITA CITIZENS FOCUS COMMITTEE. I SPENT MANY HOURS OUT HERE WORKING WITH THE TRAIL AND WORKING WITH THE COMMITTEES AND WITH THE FOCUS COMMITTEE. RICK STOKES IS THE PERSON WHO WE NEED TO GIVE CREDIT TO FOR FORMING THE COMMITTEE FIVE YEARS AGO. HE IS THE PROJECT DIRECTOR FOR LAKE OUACHITA AND HE USED THE NATIONAL RECREATION ACT AS HIS AUTHORITY TO FORM THE COMMITTEE. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY, BUT WE MEET ONCE A MONTH WITH THE CORE STAFF AND WE MEET TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES THAT THEY HAVE REGARDING THE LAKE AND OPERATION OF THE LAKE. WE'VE WORKED ON AQUATIC VEGETATION ARE THE ISSUES YOU'VE HEARD OF. WE'VE ALSO WORKED ON MARINE SANITATION. THE NUMBER OF HOUSE BOATS ON THE LAKE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ILLEGAL DUMPING, THAT WAS A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. SO WE WERE ABLE TO GET THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE GET A LAW PASSED WHETHER THOSE HOUSE BOATS ARE NOW BEING INSPECTED. THE TRAIL WAS JUST ANOTHER PROJECT THAT CAME UP DURING THE PROCESS OF THIS COMMITTEE. AND, AGAIN, BEING RETIRED, I HAD THE TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS. AND BEING A RETIRED EDUCATOR, YOU ALWAYS WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. AND WORKING WITH KIDS FOR 34 YEARS, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED. BUT WORKING ON THIS TRAIL, AT LEAST I CAN LOOK AT IT AND I CAN TELL WHAT I'VE DONE AND THIS WILL BE HERE FOR GENERATIONS.

SO GRAB YOUR HIKING BOOTS OR YOUR MOUNTAIN BIKE AND EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF THE LAKE OUACHITA VISTA TRAIL ON THE SOUTHERN TRAILS NEAR SHANGRILA AND IF YOU HAVE A FOUR-WHEELER, TAKE IT OUT ON TO THE WOLF PEN ATV COMPLEX SOUTH OF MINA AND DISCOVER WHY IT'S CALLED THE MECCA FOR FOUR-WHEELER ENTHUSIASTS. AND DON'T FORGET DURING THE WETTEST TIMES OF THE YEAR TO TAKE A HIKE TO ONE OF THOSE SECLUDED AND SPECTACULAR WATER FALLS FULL THE BUFFALO NATIONAL REGION, WHETHER IT'S MAGNOLIA FALLS OR WOODS BROTHERS FALLS IT IS QUITE A SIGHT TO SEE. DON'T FORGET TO PACK YOUR CAMERA. FOR MORE INFO OR TO CHECK OUT OUR OTHER WEBSITES GO TO THE WEBSITE AETN.ORG AND IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT, SUGGESTION OR STORY IDEA, EXPLORE ARKANSAS @AETN.ORG. WE'LL SEE YOU THE NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE FOR EXPLORING ARKANSAS. ♪

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