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Exploring Arkansas October 2008

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Parker Hickman Farmstead, Pilot Rock, Blanchard Springs Recreation Area
The oldest structure along the Buffalo National River Park system is the Parker Hickman log home, built in 1840. The site is actually an entire farmstead that's been preserved. The Pilot Rock area near Clarksville in the Ozark National Forest, is quite a success story dealing with woodland ecosystem restoration The Blanchard Springs Recreation Area north of Mountain View offers a wide array of outdoor adventure - hiking, mountain biking, trout fishing, camping, swimming, a bluff shelter and a historic mill site.

TRANSCRIPT

IT'S THE OLDEST STRUCTURE ALONG THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER PARK SYSTEM, THE PARKER HICKMAN LOG HOME BUILT AROUND 1840. THIS IS THE WAY LIFE WAS 150 YEARS AGO AND IT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS WEEK'S SHOW AND THEN TO PILOT ROCK WHERE AN ECHO SYSTEM RESTORATION HAS TAKEN PLACE AND THEN WE'LL GO TO BLANCHARD SPRINGS. BUT FIRST LET'S EXPLORE THE PARKER HICKMAN FARMSTEAD.

TODAY FOLKS CAN COME OUT AND VISIT THE HOME AND SEE AN EVOLUTION OF OVER 100 YEARS, FOLKS LIVING OUT HERE, LIVING AND LOVING AND ENJOYING LIFE HERE WITHIN JUST A SHORT DISTANCE OF THE BUFFALO RIVER. THEY BUILT STRUCTURES WE ALL "OUTBUILDINGS" SO WHEN FOLKS COME OUT AND VISIT THEY CAN SEE THE SEVEN OUTBUILDINGS DATING BACK AS FAR AS WHEN THE HOUSE WAS BUILT, BUT IT'S AN EVOLUTION OF THE HOME SITE.

AND THE BUILDINGS AROUND THE PROPERTY ARE TYPICAL OF WHAT WOULD BE IN AN AVERAGE OZARK FARMSTEAD?

RIGHT, AND SOMETIMES CHINNING AND DIFFERENT HOMEOWNERS TAKE OVER AND WOULD ADD TO OR DISMANTLOR CHANGE THINGS COMPLETELY, DEPENDING ON THEIR NEEDS.

LINDA BISHOP SAYS THE QUALITY OF THE CRAFTSMANSHIP IS THE REASON WHY THIS HOUSE IS STILL STANDING.

NOW, WE FEEL LIKE THE PARKERS WERE CARPENTERS WHEN THEY WERE LIVING IN TENNESSEE, NORTH CAROLINA, THAT AREA OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE WHEN THEY CAME TO THE OZARKS THEY BROUGHT A CRAFT WITH THEM THAT WE CAN SEE IN THE STRUCTURE OF THIS CABIN AND IT'S -- HOW THIS CABIN CAN STILL BE STANDING 160-SOME YEARS LATER, BUT IF WE STEP OVER TO THE CORNER OF THE HOME WE SEE THAT THOUGH CHOSE A STYLE CALLED "HALF DOVETAILING" AND THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE WAY THEY INSTRUCTED HOMES IN NORTH CAROLINA OR THE TENNESSEE AREA, AND THEY CUT DOWN THE EASTERN RED CEDAR FROM THEIR LAND HERE, DOVETAILED THE LOGS TOGETHER SO TITLE THAT NO RAIN OR MOISTURE COULD GET INTO THOSE SEAMS. CHOOSING EASTERN RED CEDAR MEANT THEY CHOSE A TREE THAT IS INSECT RESISTANT, SO THE FACT THAT THEY CHOSE EASTERN RED CEDAR AND DOVETAIL IT HAD TOGETHER I THINK EXPLAINS HOW THIS HOME HAS STOOD THESE 160 YEARS. THEY COULD NOT HAVE CHOSEN A BETTER TREE THAN EASTERN RED CEDAR. JUST A FANTASTIC EXAMPLE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP, SO THESE GENTLEMEN MUST HAVE BEEN CARPENTERS BEFORE THEY CAME TO ARKANSAS AND WERE BUILDING IN NORTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE AND HONING THEIR SKILLS. WHAT IS SURPRISING IS THEY ONLY LIVED HERE FOR A FEW YEARS. THEY BUILT THE HOME IN THE LATE 1840s BUT BY THE 1850s, THEY WERE LEAVING THE AREA. SOME OF THEM LOADED UP IN THAT WAGON TRAIN AND LEFT BEHIND OR SOLD A BEAUTIFUL HOME AND WENT WEST. THEY DID NOT JUST THROW SOMETHING TOGETHER, THEY EXPECTED THIS HOUSE TO LAST AND IT HAS STOOD HERE ALL THESE YEARS. IN TIME THE HOUSE HAS BEEN SOLD AND A LOT OF PRIDE AND LOVE WENT INTO THE HOME AND THAT'S WHY THE PARK SERVICE TRIES TO CONTINUE TO SHOW IT MUCH LOVE AND PRIDE IN TAKING CARE OF AND PRESERVING THE HOME.

BACK DURING THOSE YEARS WITHOUT INDOOR PLUMBING EVERY HOMESTEAD HAD AN OUTHOUSE AND LATER DURING THE DEPRESSION THE GOVERNMENT HAD A SPECIAL OFFER WITH THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, A WPA PRIVY!

AND THEY OFFERED FOLKS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR AN OUTHOUSE, A PREFABBED OUTHOUSE. THE HICKMANS WERE LIVING HERE IN THE 1930s AND THEY HAD AN OUTHOUSE BUT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD GET THE IMPROVED, MODERN OUTHOUSE. SO THEY APPLIED FOR THE OUTHOUSE AND ONE DAY A CREW CAME HERE AND SET UP THE PREFABBED CONCRETE FLOOR AND TOILET. THEN A DAY OR TWO LATER ANOTHER CREW ARRIVED WITH THE PREFABBED OUTHOUSE TO SET ON TOP OF THAT CONCRETE FLOORING. AND YOU'LL NOTICE IT'S VENTILATED, IT HAS A VENTILATOR IN IT AND THIS IS THEIR MODERN OUTHOUSE AND THE HICKMANS SAID THIS WAS THE ONLY GOVERNMENT AID THEY TOOK DURING THOSE DEPRESSION YEARS.

ANOTHER BUILDING THAT EVERY HOMESTEAD HAD BACK THEN WAS A SMOKE HOUSE.

IN THE 1920s THEY CHOSE TO BUILD A NEW SMOKE HOUSE, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WALKING UP TO RIGHT NOW, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS, IT MEASURES 10 BY 12. THE THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A SMOKE HOUSE HERE, BUT MR. HICKMAN CHOSE TO TEAR THAT DOWN AND REPLACE IT WITH WHAT HE WANTED. IN THE FALL AND WINTER MONTHS HE WOULD HAVE BUTCHERED BETWEEN FOUR AND SIX HOGS AND THEN HE WOULD HAVE SALT CURED AND SMOKED HIS HOGS AND THOSE WOULD HAVE PROVIDED HIM WITH ENOUGH HAM AND BACON FOR AT LEAST A YEAR, HE AND HIS FAMILY, MAYBE EVEN DO SOME BARTERING WITH HIS SMOKED HAM. AFTER THE HAMS WERE SMOKED HE WOULD LEAVE THEM HANG INNING THERE AND AS THEY NEEDED MEAT, THEY WOULD COME OUT HERE FROM THE KITCHEN AND GET THEMSELVES SOME PORK AND GO BACK IN THE KITCHEN AND ENJOY THEIR SMOKED MEAT.

NOW YOU'RE MAKING ME HUNGRY. [CHUCKLES]

WE HAVE THE TWO BARNS AT THIS END OF THE FARMSTEAD.

THAT'S RIGHT. SHORTLY AFTER J.D. HICKMAN BOUGHT THE FARM SITE HE BUILT THIS BARN, DOUBLE CRIB BARN IT'S CALLED, MEASURES ABOUT 35 BY 35 WITH A COVERED ROOF, A HAY LOFT, ONE CRIB WOULD HAVE HELD CORN, ANOTHER MAY HAVE HELD THE COW AND HER KAVL CALVES TO SEPARATE IT FROM HOERZ. IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE FARM FOR MR. HICKMAN SO IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT FOR HIM TO HAVE BUILT THIS BIG, GREAT BARN AFTER HE BOUGHT OUT HERE. YOU NOTICE THE LOGS ARE LAID DIFFERENTLY THAN THE WAY THE PARKERS BUILT THE HOUSE THIS IS CALLED A SADDLE NOTCH, AND IT HAS A GOOD ROOF OVER IT BUT MAYBE IT WASN'T AS IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE TIGHT FIT AS THE PARKERS DID WITH THE DOVETAIL BACK OVER AT THE HOUSE. AND VENTILATION, THEN, FOR THE CORN AND THE ANIMALS THAT HE WOULD HAVE KEPT HERE AND THE HAY. THIS IS A NEWER BARN THAT MR. HICKMAN BUILT PROBABLY IN THE 1920s. AND IN THIS BARN HE WOULD HAVE HELD ANIMALS LIKE COWS AND HORSES, MAYBE MULES, AND IT W-- THERE WAS AN LOFT THAT HELD THE HAY AND IF WE LOOK UP HERE WE SEE THE TENSION WIRES UP THERE BY THE LOFT AND WITHOUT THOSE THIS BARN WOULD HAVE FALLEN OVER YEARS AGO.

PRESERVING A FARMSTEAD OF THIS MAGNITUDE, ACCORD TO GO LINDA, IS AN ON GOING PROJECT.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DOES TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT WE HAVE HERE AT THE BUFFALO RIVER, AND SO I KNOW IT'S THE HOPE OF THE FAMILIES THAT LIVED HERE OVER THE YEARS TO SEE THIS HOMESTEAD SHOWN RESPECT. SO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE IS DOING THAT, AND FULFILLING THAT AND THE MISSION THAT THE PARK SERVICE HAS OF PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION. SO REALLY THIS HOME SITE STANDS AS A MONUMENT TO THOSE EARLY SETTLERS AND WE DO TAKE PRIDE IN THAT.

IT'S DEFINITELY A LIVING TEXTBOOK HERE.

ABSOLUTELY. ♪

A WORTHWHILE SIDE TRIP TO TAKE WHILE VISITING THE FARM FARMSTEAD IS TO GO UP PAST THE RIVER AND DOWN FROM THE ERBY CHURCH TO COLD SPRING ALONG COVE CREEK. THIS SPRING FORMS WHAT YOU MIGHT CALL "FERN FALLS" THE LOCALS CALL THIS A PEACEFUL SETTING, THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE SPRING AND RIGHTFULLY SO.

WE'RE STANDING HERE ATOP PILOT ROCK IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST AND BEHIND ME IS PILOT MOUNTAIN ITSELF. AS THE CROW FLIES WE'RE 12, 15 MILES NORTHEAST OF CLARKS VILLE AND THIS IS A RESTORATION IN PROGRESS SO LET'S EXPLORE PILOT ROCK.  A-A DETAILED LOOK AT WHERE PILOT IS LOCATED, TAKE COUNTY ROAD 4840 FOR 8.4 MILES WHERE YOU'LL SPOT A PRIMITIVE TRAIL TO PILOT ROCK AND YOU WILL SEE WILD FLOWERS THAT SURROUND YOU ON YOUR WAY UP THE TRAIL. JOHN ANDERSON FILLED US IN ON THE HISTORY OF PILOT ROCK.

HISTORICALLY THE FORESTS HERE WERE MUCH THINNER, FEWER TREES PER ACRE AND THESE ROCK OUTCROPS ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAINS WERE HIGHLY VISIBLE FROM LONG DISTANCES SO I WOULD THINK THAT THE EUROPEAN SETTLERS IN THIS AREA WOULD BE ABLE TO SEE THIS PILOT ROCK FROM GREAT DISTANCES AND IS SERVED AS A LANDMARK FOR KIND OF A WAY POINT FOR THE EARLY TRAVELLERS TO REFERENCE WHEN THEY WERE GOING FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER.

JOHN EXPLAINED TO US HOW THE NEED FOR A WOOD LAND ECHO SYSTEM RESTORATION BEGAN BACK IN 2001 IN THIS INITIAL PHASE OF THE PROJECT.

THE GOVERNMENT LAND OFFICE RECORDS THAT WERE GENERATED IN THE 1830s INDICATED THE NUMBER OF TREES PER ACRE THAT WERE HERE AT THAT TIME, AND THE THING THAT CHANGED WAS ABOUT EARLY 1900s THERE WAS A DECISION MADE WITHIN THE FOREST SERVICE AS AN AGENCY THAT THEY WOULD NO LONGER ALLOW FIRES TO BURN UNCONTROLLED IN THE FOREST. AS A RESULT OF THAT, OVER YUN00 YEARS -- 100 YEARS THESE ECHO SYSTEMS HAD NO FIRES IN THEM AND THE TREES BECAME MORE AND MORE DENSE AND FILLED IN SO WHAT HISTORICALLY WAS A WOOD LAND OR AN AREA WITH A FEW SCATTERED FREEZE OVER IT BECAME DENSE, CLOSED-CANOPY FOREST. SO THAT CHANGE WHERE THEY ELIMINATED FIRES FROM THE NATIONAL FOREST ALLOWED IT TO CHANGE OVER THAT 100-YEAR PERIOD. NOW WE HAVE ENOUGH SCIENCE THAT INDICATES THAT FOR THESE ECHO SYSTEMS TO STAY SUSTAINABLE WE NEED TO HAVE FEWER FREEZE PER ACRE AND PRESCRIBED FIRES ON THIS LANDSCAPE. THE ORIGINAL PRACTICERS OF PRESCRIBED USE OF FIRE IN THIS COUNTRY AND ALMOST ALL PARTS OF NORTH AMERICA WERE THE NATIVE AMERICANS. THEY BURNED THE HABITAT THAT THEY LIVED IN ON A REGULAR BASIS FOR BENEFITS OF THEIR PEOPLE.

THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE PARTNERED WITH MANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS IN THE ECOSYSTEM SYSTEM RESTORATION PROJECT INCLUDING THE NATURE CONSERVE HE NOT -- CONSERVANCY.

WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT SPECIES, AND IN 2004 AFTER THE RED OAK BORE HAPPENED AND KILLED A LOT OF OAKS THERE WAS A CALL TO ACTION AND TO HELP DO SOMETHING ABOUT MAKING AN UNHEALTHY FOREST HEALTHIER, AND SO THEY HAVE BEGUN TO WORK WITH PARTNERS IN A PEER-REVIEW PROCESS THAT HELPS TO DEVELOP LAND SCALE RESTORATION, FIRE RESTORATION PROJECTS IN A WAY THAT IMPROVES WILDLIFE, BOTH QUAIL AND TURKEY AS WELL AS BIRD DIVERSITY AND SPECIES DIVERSITY LIKE THE FLOOR AND FAUNA WE HAVE HERE WHERE WE'RE STANDING.

IT'S ONLY FITTING THAT THE NATURE CONSERVANCY PLACE A VITAL ROLE, SINCE IT PRIDES ITSELF ON PRESERVING AND RESTORATION.

IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST AND OUTSIDE OF ITS BOUNDARIES THERE ARE 250 SPECIES THAT'S ONLY EXISTENCE IN THE WORLD IS HERE IN THIS HILL COUNTRY AND WE'RE EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO HAVE, YOU KNOW, AN AREA THAT WE CAN WORK IN TO HELP PROTECT AND RESTORE AND ENHANCE THAT BIODIVERSITY. USING PRESCRIBED FIRE IN AREAS THAT HAVE NOT HAD A LOT OF PRESCRIBED FIRES BEGINS TO CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE WITH 80 YEARS OF FIRE SUPPRESSION YOU HAVE A LAYER OF LEAF, LITTER, SMALL LIMBS AND STUFF THAT LAYS ON THE GROUND AND EXACTS AND AREAS THAT HAVE BEEN TREATED WITH A PRESCRIBED FIRE MULTIPLE TIMES, THREE OR FOUR TIMES BEGINS TO SHOW IT'S CHARACTER OF WHAT WAS HERE HISTORICALLY AND WHAT WE'RE SEEING AS WE'RE WALKING AROUND OUT HERE IS PRETTY MUCH 80 YEARS OF SEED BANK UNDER THAT LEAF LITTER THAT HAS COME TO LIFE.

TAKE A HIKE UP TO PILOT ROCK FOR YOURSELF AND ENJOY THE DIVERSITY THAT HAS COME BACK TO LIFE.

BLANCHARD SPRINGS, THAT WOULD BE THOSE BEHIND ME. A LOT OF PEOPLE COME HERE TO GO TO THE CAVERNS BUT THE BLANCHARD SPRINGS RECREATION AREA OFFERS MANY OPPORTUNITIES, IT GOES BACK TO WHAT A SOLD KER, JOHN BLANCHARD CREATED THIS HOMESTEAD AND SINCE THEN MANY FOLKS HAVE BEEN COMING HERE FOR SITES LIKE THIS. MREETS EXPLORE.

LOCATED NORTH OF MOUNTAIN VIEW IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST NEAR THE TOWN OF 56, THE BLAN BLANCHARD SPRINGS RECREATIONAL AREA OFFERS AN ADVENTURE. FIRST, THERE ARE THE SPRINGS THEMSELVES WHICH ARE SITUATED AT THE END OF A TRAIL AT A PICTURESQUE BLUFF. THE WATER THAT FLOWS OUT OF HERE IS 7,000 GALLONS PER MINUTE. JOHN BLANCHARD BUILT A MILL HERE AND A LARGER ONE WAS BUILT AROUNEAR THE SPILL WAY ON MERE LAKE. YOU CAN OPERATE FOR YOURSELF A WORKING MODEL OF THAT MILL. DURING THE 1940s, THE CONSERVATION CORE BEGAN RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MILL BUT THE WORK WAS HAULED BECAUSE OF WORLD WAR II. A SHORT HIKE ENDS AT THE MILL RECONSTRUCTION SITE AND THE SPILLWAY.

WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GO DOWN THERE IF THEY WANT TO AND FEEL THE SPRAY OF THE WATER AND WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HAPPENING AND YOU MIGHT EVEN GO BACK IN YOUR MIND AND SEE A COTTON WAGON DOWN HERE OR MAYBE A LOAD OF CORN COMING IN TO BE GROUND DOWN FOR THE FAMILIES HERE. PEOPLE USED TO COME UP TO THIS AREA AND THEY WOULD SPEND THE DAY. THEY WOULD HAVE THE SPRING UP HERE, THEY MIGHT PUT A WATER MEL LON IN THE SPRING AND LET IT COOL DOWN ASK IT WOULD BE A FAMILY OUTING FOR A DAY OR A -- A LONG DAY ANYWAY AND PEOPLE USED TO COME HERE REGULARLY.

THEY STILL DO.

YES, WE DO HAVE A FEW FOLKS COME BY. A LOT OF WHAT HAPPENS DOWN HERE, THE BLANCHARD RECREATION AREA IS ON THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST AND IT'S CALLED THE FILLAMORE RANGER DISTRICT AND WE HAVE THREE CAMPGROUNDS THAT PEOPLE CAN USE, DAY USE AREAS WHERE PEOPLE CAN SWIM, FISH, HIKE, JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DO, CAVE TOURS, IF THEY WANT TO GO TO THAT. ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS WE'VE BEEN DEALING WITH AND DEVELOPING IS THE BIKE TRAIL. THE BIKE TRAIL HAS A JUNCTION RIGHT HERE FOR PEOPLE TO GET ON THE TRAIL AND RIDE THIS TRAIL. IT'S LOTS OF CHALLENGING FUN FOR PEOPLE THAT LIKE TO RIDE MOUNTAIN BIKES AND IT'S BEEN ENJOYED BY MANY PEOPLE.

OF COURSE THE CAMPING OPPORTUNITIES ARE GREAT.

OH, YES, WONDERFUL PLACE TO CAMP. WE HAVE 32 CAMP SITES HERE AT BLANCHARD BUT AS PEOPLE COME IN AND SPEND TIME WE LET PEOPLE STAY TORE A FEW DAYS. AS THE WINTER COMES ALONG WE HAVE DAY LIMITS BUT, REALLY, PEOPLE COME IN HERE AND CAMP, GO DOWN TO THE CREEK AND SWIM AND WATCH THEIR KIDS GROW AND WATCH OTHER FOLKS ENJOY THE AREA. WE HAVE AMP THEATE THEATER PROG THE SUMMER MONTHS, PRIMARILY AND WE HAVE GROUPS COME IN HERE, CAMPSITE AREAS FOR LARGE GROUPS, 50 OR SO, ANOTHER ONE FOR 35 PEOPLE AND PAVILLONS PEOPLE CAN RENT AND THEY CAN CALL US AT THE DISTRICT OFFICE IN MOUNTAIN VIEW AND RESERVE THOSE AREAS. IT'S KIND OF A NEAT PLACE. LOTS OF FOLKS COME HERE TO ENJOY FAMILY REUNIONS OR JUST A WEEKEND OUT OR A SCOUTING OUTING OR MAYBE A CHURCH GROUP COMES DOWN AND HAS AN EVENING -- ALTOGETHER ENJOYING THE EVENING.

ALL DAY SING AND GO DINNER ON THE GROUND.

I'M SURE THAT CAN BE DONE, TOO, WE CAN WORK WITH THAT, WE SURE CAN.

THERE IS A LOT TO DO HERE AT THE BLANCHARD SPRINGS RECREATION AREA. SO MUCH SO THAT WHEN YOU GET YOUR FILL OF ONE THING YOU CAN MOVE ON TO SOMETHING ELSE, LIKE FISHING FOR RAINBOW TROUT ON THE PEER AT MURE LAKE.

SWALLOWED THE WORM, DAD!

WHERE DID THE WORMS GO?

EXPLORING A NATIVE AMERICAN BLUFF SHELTER, SHELTER CAVE OFFERS ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES IN LEARNING ABOUT THOSE OZARK BLUFF DWELLERS WHICH INHABIT THIS AREA THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO.

AFTER YOU'VE FINISHED EXPLORING, HIKING OR FISHING, A PERFECT END TO GO YOUR DAY HERE AT BLANCHARD SPRINGS RECREATION AREA IS TO TAKE A DIP AT ONE OF TWO SWIMIN' HOLES ALONG NORTH FILLAMORE CREEK.

COME, SEE, EXPERIENCE AND EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF ALL THERE IS TO DO HERE AT THE BLANCHARD SPRINGS RECREATION AREA IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST AND YOU'LL SEE THAT VISITING JUST ONCE ISN'T ENOUGH. FOR MORE ON THESE AND OTHER DESTINATIONS AND TO VIEW OUR MAPS OR ORDER A COPY OF OUR EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEBSITE, AETN.ORG/EXPLORI AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS.

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