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Exploring Arkansas September 2010

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Mill Creek Trail, Gunner Pool, Cache River National Wildlife Reserve, Koen Interpretive Nature Trail
Southeast of Fayetteville, in the Ozark National Forest , the Mill Creek Multi Use Trail offers an adventure for just about everyone - especially ATV enthusiasts. Gunner Pool and Barkshed Recreation Areas near Mountain View offer their own unique camping and swimming adventure. The Ivory Billed Woodpecker was rediscovered in 2004 but has yet to be seen again A canoe trip through the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge takes viewers to the general area where it was last spotted. n of Jasper in an experimental forest lies a hidden gem-the Koen Interpretive Nature Trail

TRANSCRIPT

[ ♪Music♪ ]

IT'S RECEIVED PORTRAYS PRAISE FROM ATV ENTHUSIASTS FROM ALL OVER.  MILL CREEK IS WHERE WE WILL BEGIN THIS WEEK'S SHOW AND TAKE YOU TO THE GUNNER POOL AND BARKSHED RECREATION AREA.  AND THE NEXT STOP WILL BE THE CACHE RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WHERE IF YOU RECALL, THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER WAS REDISCOVERED BACK IN '04 AND CLOSE IT OUT ALONG THE KOEN INTERPRETIVE TRAIL JUST NORTH OF THE JASPER.  NOW LET'S HIT THE TRAIL, HERE AT MILL CREEK. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A FOUR-WHEELER ENTHUSIAST HAD TO ENJOY THIS TRAIL.  YOU CAN COME OUT ON YOUR TWO WHEELER AS WELL, LIKE BILL EDDY OF FAYETTEVILLE.

I HAVE BEEN RIDE OUT HERE SEND THE LATE '70s.  THIS TRAIL SYSTEM HAS DEVELOPED A LOT IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.  THE RAISERBACK RIDERS MOTORCYCLE CLUB IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE MARKED THE TRAILS.  MADE A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS ON THE TRAILS. TRAILS ARE HERE REALLY NICE AND THERE ARE SOME RUGGED SPOTS AND SOME ROCKY PLACES AND SOME BEAUTIFUL SCENERY.  DEER AND WILDLIFE.  I HAVE TO BE SEVERAL TRAIL SYSTEMS I LIKE WHITE ROCK AS WELL AS ANYPLACE I HAVE BEEN.

THIS TRAIL SYSTEM IS NOT THAT LARGE, BUT IT OFFERS A VARIETY OF AND A LOT OF ELEVATION CHANGE, A LOT OF CHALLENGING PLACES.  I HAVE RIDDEN IN COLORADO AND IN TEXAS AND I HAVE RIDDEN A LOT OF PLACES IN THE COUNTRY.  THE RIDING HERE IS LIKE I SAID IS GOOD AS ANYPLACE IN THE COUNTRY, I THINK.

IS IT'S A UNIQUE WAY TO SEE THE BACK COUNTRY OF THE OZARKS?

IT'S NICE TO BE ABLE TO COME OUT AND GET ON THE TRAIL AND HAVE THE TRAIL BE MARKED KNOWING YOU CAN MAKE A LOOP AND END UP IN THE SAME PLACE YOU STARTED.

THAT'S IMPORTANT.

AND YOU CAN GO THE WHOLE, WHAT 27 MILES OR SHORTER IF YOU WANT TO GO?

THE MAIN LOOP IS 28 MILES I BELIEVE MARKED WITH THE BLUE DIAMONDS, WE CALL IT THE BLUE LOOP.  YEAH, IT'S A GREAT TRAIL THERE'S SOME OTHER SMALLER TRAILS THAT GO OFF OF IT.  AND IT'S A PLACE THAT YOU CAN RIDE ALL DAY LONG AND HAVE A GREAT TIME.

OF COURSE MULTIUSE, MEANING ATVs, MOUNTAIN BIKES, HORSES PLAIN OLD HIKING AND DIRT BIKING

YES, EVERYBODY IS WELCOME AND IT'S A GOOD AREA FOR ALL OF THOSE USES. [ ♪Music♪ ]

BY WHICHEVER MEANS YOU DECIDE TO UTILIZE MILL CREEK TRAIL YOU WILL BE ENJOYING SOME OF THE MOST REMOTE AREAS OF THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST, FEATURING, MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, SCENIC VIEWS AND CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAMS.

OFF ROAD VEHICLE USE HAS BECOME A FAVORITE FORM OF RECREATION IN OUR NATIONAL FOREST AND INCREASING IN POPULARITY YEAR AFTER YEAR AND THE PROBLEM IS WEAR AND TEAR THE WEEKS CAN CAUSE ON THE LAND THAT'S WHY THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE STRESSES TO STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS AND TREAD LIGHTLY, BUT THE IMPRESSION YOU LEAVE LASTS A LIFETIME.

SINCE MANY OF THE TREES ARE RIGHT ALONGSIDE THE EDGE OF THE TRAIL, THEY CAN SNEAK UP ON YOU WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.

THE MILL CREEK MULTIUSE TRAIL, IF YOU CAN AVOID THE TREES, IT IS WELL-WORTH THE DRIVE OUT HERE TO TAKE A RIDE. [ ♪Music♪ ] [ ♪Music♪ ]

NORTH SYLAMORE CREEK FLOWS ALONG NORTHWEST OF MOUNTAIN VIEW N OZARK FOREST.  THIS IS ONE OF THE PICTURE-PERFECT SETTINGS. HERE AT THE GUNNER POOL RECREATION AREA LOCATED NORTH OF THE TOWN FIFTY-SIX ALONG GUNNER POOL ROAD. THIS REALLY IS AN IDEAL SETTING TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL WITH MINIMAL CROWDS, UNLIKE OFTEN AT TIMES YOU MAY ENCOUNTER AT MANY OF THE STATE PARKS, ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMERTIME.  LOCATED NORTH SYLAMORE CREEK IS A FEDERALLY WILD AND SCENIC RIVER. IF YOU LIKE A LITTLE ELBOW ROOM WHILE CAMPING THIS IS THE IDEAL LOCATION THERE ARE 26 CAMP SIDES BETWEEN THE SYLAMORE CREEK AND SWIMMING AREA AND WHICHEVER YOU DECIDE TO DIP IN YOU CAN'T GO WRONG.  CREEK SETTING OFFERS HIGH PICTURESQUE BLUFFS THAT ADD TO YOUR SWIMMING PLEASURE. BUT IT'S NOT JUST THE SWIMMING, KIDS ALSO ENJOY EXPLORING ALL ALONG THE BASE OF THE BLUFF LINE. PROBABLY, THOUGH, THE LEAST CROWDED AREA FOR SWIMMING IS GUNNER POOL.  COME HERE DURING THE WEEK AND YOU CAN EVEN ENJOY A ROPE SWING ALL TO YOURSELF.  A SHORT PATH AT THE OTHER END WILL LEAD YOU DOWN TO THE SPILLWAY. BUT IF YOU STILL WANT MORE ALABAMA -- ELBOW ROOM AND FEWER PEOPLE THERE'S A UP THE CREEK FROM GUNNER POOL THE NORTH SYLAMORE CREEK ACCESS OR JUST DRIVE THE 6 MILES OR SO TO GET THERE.  AT BARKSHED WE WERE TALKING PRIMITIVE CAMPING AWAY FROM IT ALL.  ONLY A HANDFUL OF CAMPSITES HERE. WHICH I SAY, WOULD MAKE THE PERFECT SPOT FOR A SMALL FAMILY REUNION.  AND HERE AS WELL AS NORTH SYLAMORE CREEK OFFERS PLACES TO GO AND COOL OFF.

SO WHETHER YOU CHOOSE THE GUNNER POOL RECREATION AREA OR BARKSHED, YOU WILL ENJOY A WILDERNESS CAMPING EXPERIENCE THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE: AWAY FROM EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING.  REALLY AND TRULY GETTING BACK TO NATURE AND REJUVENATING ONCE -- ONE'S SELF. [ ♪Music♪ ] [ ♪Music♪ ]

TRYING TO CATCH SOME BASS. MAYBE A FEW CATFISH AND SO FORTH.  THESE LAKES ARE REALLY KNOWN FOR CROPPING. REALLY GOOD -- GET FLOODING FROM THE WHITE RIVER AND WE ARE CLOSE TO THE WHITE RIVER.  IN FACT THIS IS ON OLD OXBOW.  USED TO FLOW FROM HERE. [ ♪Music♪ ]

JOINING UP WITH WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST RICHARD CROSSETT OF CACHE RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, WE VENTURED OUT INTO WHAT THE LOCALS REFER TO AS BISCOE BOTTOMS.  IN THE SOUTH AREA OF THE REFUGE BETWEEN BISCOE AND CLARENDON. IT WAS IN THIS REFUGE THAT THE ONCE THOUGHT EXTINCT IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER WAS FOUND IN -- THE LAST TIME IT WAS SEEN IN LOUISIANA IN 1944.

IT WAS -- BACK IN 2004 AND IT'S BEEN SPOTTED NUMEROUS TIMES SINCE THEN.  WE DON'T HAVE THAT REAL GOOD PICTURE LIKE WE WANT, BUT NUMBER OF GOOD SIGHTINGS --

FROM THE PUBLIC AND WE ARE NO LONGER SEARCHING FOR IT ANYMORE WE STOPPED THE SEARCHING ABOUT A YEAR OR SO AGO, CORNELL STOPPED SEARCHING ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO AND IT WAS A SMALL SEARCHING ABOUT A YEAR AGO, BUT AS FAR AS THE PICTURE WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE IVORY BILL WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN IT YET.

AN ELUSIVE BIRD I UNDERSTAND?

YES, HARD TO FIND AND WE HAVE DONE ALL KINDS OF SURVEYS AND ALL SORTS OF ASSISTANCE AND DIFFERENT PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS AND SOME GOOD SOUNDS FROM THEM AND SOME FEW SPOTTINGS HERE AND THERE, BUT THE PICTURE WE HAVE BEEN HOPING FOR DON'T HAVE IT.

YOU WOULD THAT I BIRD THAT'S 20-SOME INCHES LONG WOULDN'T BE THAT DIFFICULT TO SPOT.

YEAH, AND I AM NOT QUITE SURE WE HAVE GOTTEN THAT PICTURE.  A BIRD KIND OF A NOMAD FLYING BACK AND FORTH.  DEFINITELY NOT A WHOLE LOT OF BIRDS AND IT'S BEEN HARD TO GET THAT PICTURE.

YEAH. [ ♪Music♪ ]

THE CACHE RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE CONTAINS A VARIETY OF WETLANDS, INCLUDING THE SOME OF THE MOST IMPACT AND LEAST DISTURBED HARDWOOD FOREST IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY REGION IS WHY THEY WERE REFERRED TO AS WETLANDS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.

THIS HAS THE MOST WINTERING MALLARDS OF ANY PLACE IN NORTH AMERICA.  THROUGH THE WINTERTIME.  THAT'S WHY IT'S CALLED AN AREA OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.  FEW AREAS IN THE COUNTRY --

THE LONG-TERM GOAL OF THE REFUGE IS A REFORESTATION PLAN TO PROVIDE A HARDWOOD CORRIDOR THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF 70 AIR MILES.

HERE ABOUT 75 ACRES, ACQUISITION BOUNDARY IS ABOUT 187,000 ACRES. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE QUITE A FEW PEOPLE THAT WOULD LIKE TO SELL US THE LAND, BUT WE DON'T HAVE MONEY AND THE MOST OF THE MONEY COMES FROM CONGRESS AND WE HAVE GRANTS AND, BUT MOST COMES FROM DIRECTLY FROM CONGRESS.  YEAH, EVERY TIME WE BUY PARCELS PARTICULARLY, AG AREA, REFOREST THE AREAS TO MAKE BIGGER HABITAT BLOCKS.  WHICH ARE GREAT FOR WATERFOWL AND BREEDING BIRDS, DEER, BEARS AND TURKEYS.

SO MAYBE WHEN ALL THE REFORESTATION IS COMPLETED THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER WILL THEN HOPEFULLY RETURN ONCE AGAIN. [ ♪Music♪ ]

MANY TIMES WHILE EXPLORING ARKANSAS, THE PLACES WE WIND UP GOING TAKES QUITE A BIT OF AN EVIDENT TO GET IN AND OUT OF. BUT WITH THE EXPECTATION THIS TRAIL.  THE KOEN INTERPRETIVE TRAIL, JUST NORTH OF JASPER IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST.  THIS IS ONE OF THE PLACES THAT YOU CAN EASILY TAKE A WHEELCHAIR OR A MOBILITY POWER SCOOTER. JOINING US IS SARAH DAVIS FROM THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE WILL BE GUIDING US ALONG. [ ♪Music♪ ]

TO GET TO THIS TRAIL GO 3 MILES NORTH OF JASPER ON HIGHWAY 11 AND LEFT ON COUNTY ROAD 79.  AFTER 4/10 OF THE MILE TURN RIGHT AND GO 200 YARDS DOWN TO FOREST SERVICE ROADS TO THE PARKING LOT ON THE LEFT.  PUTS YOU AT THE TRAILHEAD AND THE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KOEN INTERPRETIVE TRAIL ESTABLISHED IN 1950 TO DEVELOP SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES NEEDED TO SUSTAIN AND ENHANCE SOUTHERN FOREST ECOSYSTEMS AND THE BENEFITS THEY PROVIDE.

HENRY KOEN BY THE WAY, WAS AN EARLY SUPERVISOR OF THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST.  HE'S KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF FORESTRY RECEIVING HIS FIRST APPOINTMENT IN 1913 AS A FOREST RANGER.  HE WAS WORKING WHEN THE FIRST FOREST ROAD WAS BUILT AND FOR MEN OF THE MEN HE WAS SIMPLY KNOWN AS UNCLE HENRY HE RETIRED IN 1943. THIS INTERPRETIVE NATURE TRAIL WAS CONSTRUCTED IN 1985, ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED AS A FITNESS TRAIL THE CONCEPT WAS CHANGED TO INTERPRETATIVE WHEN THE LOCATION WAS FOUND TO CONTAIN PLANTS OF NON-NATIVE SPECIES DATING BACK TO THE '50s AND MANY SPECIES OF NATIVE TREES.  THROUGHOUT THE YEARS VARIOUS UPGRADES HAVE BEEN DONE TO THIS QUARTER MILE-LONG LOOP TRAIL. [ ♪Music♪ ]

THE SURFACE IS HARD AND MADE A SURFACE OF MIXED CONCRETE AND SOIL.  IT'S A HARDENNENED SURFACE AND REALLY EASY ABOUT -- THE QUARTER OF A MILE OF MAIN TRAIL, AND IF YOU TAKE THE SPUR TRAILS INTO ACCOUNT IT'S ALMOST A HALF A MILE.  THE -- SLOPE OF THE TRAIL, YOU CAN SEE DIFFERENT TREE SPECIES.  THEY HAVE SIGNS THAT WERE MADE, THAT EXPLAIN WHAT TREE YOU ARE LOOKING AT THROUGHOUT THE TRAIL.  THE QUIET AREA, YOU CAN OBSERVE DIFFERENT BIRD SPECIES; THERE'S A WILDLIFE POND OFF THE TRAIL.

WOODPECKERS AND SONG BIRDS.

WOODPECKERS AND SONG BIRDS AND DIFFERENT WILDFLOWERS.  YOU WILL HAVE TO COME AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF YEAR.

EVEN THOUGH IT'S NOT OFFICIALLY BARRIER-FREE ACCESSIBLE, BUT IT'S BY THE LOOKS OF IT, YOU KNOW, THOSE WHO HAVE POWERED SCOOTERS OR WHEELCHAIRS IT'S PRETTY MUCH IS ACCESSIBLE.  IN THAT MANNER?

YEAH, I THINK MOST EVERYONE WILL BE ABLE TO USE IT.  WE ALSO HAVE PICNIC TABLES AND THERE ARE RAMPS THAT WILL ALLOW TO YOU GET UP TO THE PICNIC TABLES AND ACCESS THE TABLE.

WHAT'S YOUR FATE OF PART OF THE TRAIL?

I REALLY LIKE SONG BIRDS, IT'S A QUIET PLACE.  IT'S USUALLY YOU CAN COME IN THE MORNING WHEN THE SONG BIRDS ARE ACTIVE AND HEAR A LOT OF VARIETY.  I AM ALSO INTO THE MECHANICCALS, THE DIFFERENT SPECIES THERE'S NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE.  BECAUSE OF THE -- EXPERIMENTAL NATURE OF THE FOREST, THEY PLANTED SOME NON- NATIVE BUT WERE PLANTED HERE FOR SOME REASON PLANNED.

WHAT'S IN ALL ABOUT INTERESTING?

YES, THOSE ARE AMERICAN CHESTNUT MIXED WITH CHINESE I BELIEVE.  THEY ARE FOUND TO BE A BLIGHT RESISTANT CHESTNUT. THESE ARE SOME OF THE EXPERIMENTAL SEEDLINGS.

IN A RECENT SURVEY IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT VISITORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE IN ONE WAY OR OTHER LEARNED ABOUT THIS TRAIL AND CAME TO ENJOY ITS BENEFITS. [ ♪Music♪ ]

THERE'S A LOT TO ENJOY HERE, WITH PLENTY OF PHOTOOPS FROM PLANTS TO WILDFLOWERS TO LIVING CREATURES AND EVERYTHING ELSE IN BETWEEN. [ BIRDS CHIRPING ] [ ♪Music♪ ]

AND THE BEST PART OF THE KOEN INTERPRETIVE TRAIL, IT IS ACCESSIBLE TO ANYONE. [ ♪Music♪ ]

SO TAKE A WALK FOR YOURSELF ALONG THE HENRY KOEN INTERPRETIVE TRAIL JUST NORTH OF JASPER IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST, YOU WILL BE SURPRISED WHAT YOU CAN FIND HERE.  FOR MORE OF THIS DESTINATION AND FOR OTHERS AND TO READ MY BLOG OR ORDER A COPY OF THE EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.AETN.ORG.  AND WE WILL SEE YOU FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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