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Exploring Arkansas November 2008

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Blue Hole, Black Swamp, Hideout Hollow
Special interest areas within our national forests are just that-special. We'll explore the Blue Hole Special Interest Area north of Jerusalem in the Ozark National Forest and show you why this area has received that "special" designation Then it's off on an excursion through the Rex Hancock, Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area south of Augusta. Episode closes out with a hike to the storybook setting of Hideout Hollow in the upper portion of the Buffalo National River near Compton

TRANSCRIPT

THERE ARE MANY AREAS IN ARKANSAS THAT ARE CALLED THAT. THIS EPISODE WE'LL TAKE YOU TO ONE OF THEM IN THE O'SARK NATIONAL FOREST NORTH OF JERUSALEM. THEN WE'LL VENTURE DEEP INTO BLACK SWAMP, SOUTH OF AUGUSTA. AND IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH, WE'LL GO HIDE IN THE UPPER PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER NEAR COMPTON. SO NOW LET'S EXPLORE THE BLUE HOLE AREA. SPECIAL INTEREST AREAS ARE DESIGNATED IN THE NATIONAL FOREST BECAUSE OF THEIR UNIQUE FEATURES, COMPLEXITY AND DEGREE OF INTEREST. THEY ARE MANAGED FOR THEIR ONE OF A KIND GEOLOGICAL, BO TAN CALL, BIOLOGICAL, SCENIC OR CULTURAL FEATURES. THE FEATURES ARE UNIQUE ENOUGH AND THAT THEY ARE NOT FOUND ON LARGE AREAS ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE FOREST. SPECIAL INTEREST AREAS ARE ALSO MANAGED FOR THEIR UNIQUE RECREATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL VALUES AND RYN TENDED FOR PUBLIC USE AND INTERPRETATION. THEY PROVIDE OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN ABOUT THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE FOREST. THE BLUE HOLE SPECIAL INTEREST AREA, ALL 2190 ACRESIST, IS KNOWN FOR ITS GEOLOGICAL AND ESPECIALLY SCENIC QUALITIES. BLUE HOLE IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE FIRST LOCATIONS THAT WAS SET ASIDE IN THE SPECIAL INTEREST AREA DURING THE EARLY 1980s. WE HIKED AND EK PLORED FIVE TO SIX MILES OF THIS ENCHANTED AREA WITH WATER HOLES WITH TWO MEMBERS OF THE OZARK SOCIETY, BILL AND DANA STEWARD.

THE FIRST TIME I EVER CAME TO BLUE HOLE WU QUITE AN EXPERIENCE. BILL HAD SEEN IT. HE SAID THIS IS A PLACE YOU'VE GOT TO SEE. I HAD NOT BEEN HIKING VERY LONG. SO WE HIKED IN. IT WAS AUGUST. AND THE BLUE HOLE DIDN'T LOOK LIKE MULCH OF A HOLE. IT WAS NOT VERY BLUE. IT WAS QUITE SMALL. JUST BIG NOUF GET WET IN. BUT EVERY HOLE HAD AT LEAST ONE SNAKE IN IT. AND SO I LEARNED RESPECT FOR THE BLUE HOLES FIRST AND FOREMOST. THE MEANING OF BLUE HOLE TAUGHT ME A LOT IS THAT BY COMING HERE SEASON AFTER SEASON AND IN DIFFERENT SEASONS, NATURE IS SO AHEAD OF US. NATURE HAS A PLAN. WE ARE PART OF THAT PLAN, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. THE EXCITING THING ABOUT BRINGING OUR FRIENDS HERE AND PLANNING TRIPS HERE IS PEOPLE COME HERE TO GET REALLY JAZZED FOR THE ADVOCACY WORK THAT WE DO. WHEN YOU COME HERE AND YOU SEE THIS PLACE, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL, YOU WANT ALL OF ARKANSAS TO BE THIS WAY. YOU GET BACK TO IT. I ESPECIALLY LOVE WILD FLOWERS. I'M A BIG FAN OF WILDFLOWER BOOKS. BLUE HOLE IS THE PLACE YOU COME EVERY SEASON TO SEE THE VARIETY OF WILD FLOWERS. PEOPLE WILL COME AND SAY, I DIDN'T KNOW THAT FLOWER EXISTED AND YOU CAN'T FIND THEM. THEY'RE NOT IN DEMAND. YOU HAVE TO COME HERE. THE SHOOTING STAR, THE YELLOW LADY SLIPPERS. THEY ARE IN CHARGE. AND THE BUTTERFLYS. WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MANY BUTTERFLIES. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE AFTER.

TO SPEND THE DAY LOOKING AT THE WATER, THIS IS ABOUT AS GOOD AS IT GETS. AND IT'S A LITTLE HARD TO GET TO. WELL, IT'S WORTH IT.

JUST A LITTLE HARD TO GET TO. BUT IT KEEPS EVERYBODY FROM COMING. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF BOY SCOUTS. IN THIS WHOLE AREA, I MEAN, I HAVE SEEN BOY SCOUTS ALL OVER THIS AREA. AND IT'S JUST A PRETTY NICE PLACE. BLUE HOLE ITSELF IS KIND OF GREEN. LOT OF BLUE HOLES ALL OVER ARKANSAS. GREEN HOLE DOESN'T SOUND GOOD. I MUST SAY IT'S KIND OF MUDDY RIGHT NOW. WHEN IT CLEARS UP A LITTLE, IT'S GOTTEN MORE BLUE. GOT GREEN. GOT BLUE TO IT. KIND OF EMERALD. I WOULD SAY THAT'S RIGHT.

AS YOU COME UP WHERE THE WATER IS. IN THIS WHOLE AREA. THERE'S NO DEVELOPMENT IN THIS WATER SHIFT. THERE'S NO CHICKEN HOUSES. NO HOUSES OF ANY KIND. THIS HAS TO BE FAIRLY PRISTINE WATERS THAT FLOWS THROUGH THIS. IT IS PRETTY HARD. WATER. IT'S GOOD.

I GUESS YOU AND YOUR WIFE HAVE BEEN COMING FOR YEARS AND ENJOYING THIS AREA. TELL US ABOUT THE TIME.

WE HAVE MAYBE 30 YEARS. 80s FOR SURE. WE WERE OUT HERE ONE SUMMER. WE WERE SWIMMING OUT HERE. WE HAD OUR DOG WITH US. HE STARTED GETTING EXCITED. AND SO WE WALKED UP THERE TO SEE WHAT HE WAS EXCITED ABOUT. THERE WAS A POND AHEAD. I WALKED ABOUT 30 FEET AND TOOK ABOUT 30 PICTURES. SOME OF WHICH TURNED OUT PRETTY GOOD. WE'VE SEEN THINGS CHANGE. WE'D SLIDE UP HERE. USED TO BE A BIG VERTICAL ROCK. AND THEN, WE'VE BEEN HERE. THERE'S JUST -- BEEN HERE LONG ENOUGH TO WATCH THINGS HAPPEN TO THIS AREA. DESERVES TO BE A SPECIAL INTEREST AREA. UNIQUE AREA IN THE STATE THAT NEEDS TO BE HERE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. WON'T BE LONG BEFORE THE THIRD GENERATION WILL BE HERE. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT.

FOR MORE ON THE BLUE HOLE SPECIAL INTEREST, CON TACK THE FOREST SUPERVISOR'S OFFICE IN RUSSELLVILLE.

> IT'S DARK. IT'S EERIE. AT THE SAME TIME I WOULD SAY QUITE BEAUTIFUL. THE REX HANCOCK BLACK SWAMP WILD LIFE MANAGEMENT AREA SOUTH OF AUGUSTA. QUITE AN INTERESTING PLACE AND I WOULD SAY WELL WORTH THE EFFORT TO GO AND EK PLOR IT. SO LET'S GO CHECK IT OUT. THE REX HANCOCK WILD LIFE MANAGEMENT AREA IS ACTUALLY TEN MILES NORTH OF AUGUSTA AND FOUR MILES EAST OF GREGORY. THE 6400 ACRES IS MOSTLY LOW BOT TOP LANDS AND SWAMPS WITH THE CASH RIVER SPLITTING THE AREA IN THE MIDDLE. THIS AREA OWNED BY THE ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION WAS FORMALLY JUST CALLED BLACK SWAMP IN 1981 THE NAME WAS CHANGED TO INCLUDE REX HANCOCK BECAUSE OF HIS HARD WORK AND DEDICATION. AND SAVING WETLANDS ALONG THE CACHE RIVER, WHICH IS WHY THIS LAN WAS ORNL NATURALLY BOUGHT TO PRESERVE THOSE WETLANDS. THE BOAT TRAIL IS GLAZED IN YELLOW FOR ABOUT A MILE OR SO FROM THE BOAT RAMP UNTIL YOU GET TO THE CACHE RIVER. JUSTIN DAVIS, A WILDLIFE TECHNICIAN WITH THE ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION, TOOK US ON A LITTLE EXCURSION THROUGH THIS BLACK SWAMP.

I HAVE BEEN HERE ABOUT EIGHT YEARS, ALTOGETHER. I HAVE BEEN DOWN HERE ABOUT TWO YEARS. FIRST TIME I WAS OVER HERE I THOUGHT IT WAS A REAL GOOD PLACE TO GET LOST BECAUSE EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME.

THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING LOST IS EVEN GREATER DURING HIGH WATER BECAUSE IT'S DIFFICULT TO RECOGNIZE THE MAIN RIVER CHANNEL. SO IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO EITHER TAKE ALONG A COMPASS OR GPS UNIT. AND, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE OUT HERE DURING THE SUMMER OR FALL, TAKE PLENTY OF INSECT REPELLANT AS WELL, OTHERWISE THE MOSQUITOES WILL DEVOUR YOU. WITH THE REX HANCOCK BLACK SWAMP WILD LIFE MANAGEMENT AREA DOES PROVIDE IS AN EXCELLENT WINTERING HABITAT FOR WATER FOWL, WHICH IS PROBABLY THE MAIN SPECIES THAT'S HUNTED HERE. IN FACT DURING THE RIGHT CONDITIONS, THIS AREA PROVIDES SOME OF THE BEST DUCK HUNTING IN THE STATE. OTHER THAN HUNTING, THERE IS ALSO PLENTY OF FISHING OPPORTUNITIES WITH FLAT HEAD AND CHANNEL CAT THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER. SINCE THE STRETCHES OF THE CACHE LINED WITH SANDS OF VIRGIN CYPRESS AND TUPELO THAT PROVIDE THIS RIVER SWAMP ENVIRONMENT WITH PLENTY OF PHOTO OPS AND SNAKES. ALLIGATORS YOU ASK? WELL, I HAVEN'T SEEN ANY. JUSTIN DID TELL US THAT AT LEAST THERE'S NOT ANY SIGNS OF ANY SORT OF SWAMP THING OR BIG FOOT, AS OF YET. IF YOU FEEL LIKE GOING AND HIDING OUT SOMEWHERE, THE PERFECT PLACE IS HERE IN THE UPPER PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER AT A TRAIL CALLED HIDEOUT HOLLOW. JOINING US IS RICK AND STACEY DAVIDSON WITH THE BUFFALO OUTDOOR CENTER. LET'S GO EXPLORE AND SEE WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. LOCATED AB THREE MILES SOUTH OF COMPTON GETTING TO THE HIDEOUT HOLLOW TRAIL HEAD IS FAIRLY EASY. MAPS ARE AVAILABLE IN PONCA. THE TRAIL WAS NAMED AFTER JIM SCHERMERHORN A WELL KNOW PAVER FROM MISSOURI WHO EXPLORED QUITE A FEW CAVES. ALTHOUGH THIS TRAIL DOESN'T LEAD THROUGH A CAVE, THERE IS A NICE BLUFF SHELTER DOWN IN THE HOLLOW WHICH IS ONE OF THE FOCAL POINTS OF THE HIKE. DEPENDING ON WHAT TIME OF THE YEAR YOU TAKE THIS HIKE AND I WOULD RECOMMEND DURING THE WETTEST TIMES OF THE YEAR, MAINLY IN THE SPRING, NOT ONLY TO MAKE SURE HIDEOUT HOLLOW FALLS IS RUNNING GOOD, BUT ALSO FOR ALL THE WILD FLOWERS AND MUSHROOMS. THERE'S A TREMENDOUS VARIETY OF MUSHROOMS ALL ALONG THIS ONE MILE TRAIL. AS FAR AS THE NUMBERS AND VARIETIES OF MUSHROOMS, FEW OTHER PLACES CAN MATCH WHAT YOU'LL FIND HERE. WE'RE TALKING MUSHROOMS I HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN BEFORE. SOME THAT LOOK LIKE THEY WERE CHAR GRILLED, SOME THAT ARE INSIDE OUT, SOME THAT LOOK LIKE ORANGE FLAVORED CANDY AND SOME THAT EVEN LOOK LIKE THEY CAME FROM ANOTHER PLANET. ALL THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF WILD FLOWERS WILL SURPRISE YOU AS WELL. THE SIGHT THEN TURNS SPECTACULAR AS YOU FINELY COME UPON HIDEOUT HOLLOW ITSELF. FIRST THERE'S THE OVERLOOK OF THE CANYON. CONTINUING PAST THE OVERLOOK, YOU'LL COME TO THE TOP OF HIDEOUT HOLLOW FALLS. FOLLOWING THE TRAIL ALONG THE LEDGE HERE AND BEING EXTREMELY CAREFUL ON THE SLIPPERY RUG, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY GO DOWN INTO HIDEOUT HOLLOW ITSELF AND TO THE BASE OF THE FALLS. HERE THE ENTIRE SETTING IS JUST BREATHTAKING LIKE A PAGE OUT OF A STORYBOOK OR FAIRYTALE. THERE'S ALSO THE BLUFF SHELTER TO EXPLORE AS WELL.

AS FAR AS BLUFF SHELTERS GO, THIS WOULD BE THE IDEAL HIDEOUT. WE DID THE ACTUAL HIDING, FROM THE WILD WEST DAYS.

ACTUALLY, NO. AT THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR I THEY HAD THE DRAFT STARTED. STARTED THE DRAFT OF THE YOUNG MAN. THE YOUNG MAN CAME HERE ACTUALLY TO HIDE OUT. THEY DIDN'T WANT TO GET DRAFTED INTO THE WAR. SO THEY CAME HERE AGAINST THE ROCK AND THEY COULD BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES WITH RESPECT TO THE LOSS. RIGHT HERE AS FAR AS THE HIDEOUT HOLLOW HAS GOT ITS NAME. YOU HAVE HERE WHERE THEY BUILT THEIR SHELTER. THERE WERE NINE OF THEM THAT CAME HERE. STAYED RIGHT HERE IN THE SHELTER. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE STAYING UNDERNEATH IT FOR A YEAR AN BEING ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. THIS IS ACTUALLY WHERE THEY EVADED THE WAR AND BE ABLE TO COME HERE AND HIDE.

A WHOLE YEAR. IT HAS TO GET COLD HERE IN THE WINTERTIME.

IT DEFINITELY GETS COLD. IF YOU CAN IMAGINE WITH ALL THIS WATER AROUND. WHAT KIND OF ICICLES GOING AROUND. I IMAGINE IT'S VERY COLD IN THE WINTERTIME. AFTER A COUPLE MONTHS THERE WERE TWO GUYS FINALLY DECIDED TO GIVE UP AND GO AHEAD ANlóE7 GET INTE WAR. SO THAT COULD HAVE BEEN A REASON. YOUqNEVER KNOW. IF YOU COULD COME DOWN HERE AND HIDE OUT, THIS WOULD BE THE PLACE TO GO.

I THINK SO. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. STORYBOOK SETTING.

BEAUTIFUL WATERFALL IN THE BACKGROUND OVER THERE. I'M SURE ALL THE FRESH WATER, ANYTHING THEY NEED WAS RIGHT HERE. WILDLIFE. THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF HERE AND GO HOME AND GET A MEAL. SO THIS IS WHERE THEY HID OUT.

AND IT'S WHERE YOU CAN GO HIDE OUT AS WELL. PLEASE LEAVE NO TRACE AND TAKE ONLY PICTURES. ♪ ♪

> HIDE OUT FOR YOURSELF IN THE UPPER PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER NEAR COMPTON. FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION, PLUS MANY OTHERS AND TO VIEW OUR MAP, OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AETN.ORG/EXPLORING ARKANSAS. AND WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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