For several years, construction on the Buffalo River Trail had been stalled due to a reroute needed near Little Rocky Creek (between Red Bluff Rd and South Maumee Rd). NPS notified me a couple days before Thanksgiving that we now have clearance to construct that reroute so I give thanks to the folks at NPS for making that happen.
Turnout for the Autumn ‘20 trail work session in late October was small, hampered by the pandemic and perhaps by threats of copious rain as well. Without clearance to work on the reroute, we spent time on high-priority maintenance instead.
On Friday I hiked into an area where the trail crosses a power line clearing in Boone Hollow. Due to the lack of forest canopy the brush grows fast and thick so this is one of our maintenance headache areas. I carved a path through the brush and began filling a big hole in the trail where a tree’s root ball used to be. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees and occasional wind gusts caused showers of yellow leaves.
More people arrived Friday PM and Saturday AM. 4 of us headed to the Woolum area to address one of our biggest headaches – the area where the BRT & OHT cross Richland Creek a couple hundred yards upstream of its mouth. The east side of the creek had apparently been cleared at one time so there is not much of a forest canopy here but there is deep and fertile soil that produces a bumper crop of 8-10-foot-tall weeds each year. We’ve put blazes on every one of the few trees so people have some chance of finding their way through this 50-yard stretch when it’s overgrown. Afterward, we cleared soil from the steps leading up to Point Peter Mt and did some minor tread repairs along the slope above the stairs.
On Sunday 4 of us headed downriver to the Spring Creek crossing. There was a bad area on the upriver side where a lot of stuff had eroded into the trail from the slope above, leaving a narrow walking path sloped steeply toward the creek. We re-dug about 50 yards of tread (attached picture) and un-buried some stone steps that we didn’t even know were there.
Rain was forecast for much of the remaining week but we hoped to get something done on Monday before it started. No such luck. 6 of us headed to the Zack Ridge Rd trail head in a light rain and hiked upriver. Most of the trail down to Bear Creek had already been cleared of brush. After reaching the flood plain we began clearing grass, briars, and cane and then crossed Bear Creek to continue clearing until we reached an old road. We ate lunch in the rain by Bear Creek then hiked out.
Given the forecast we decided there was no sense staying at camp so we packed-up and headed home Monday afternoon. The Tyler Bend area got 8” of rain that week and we got some important work done despite our small crew so I don’t feel any shame in calling it quits.
Thanks to Mike B, Todd W, Brad B, Ken L, and a shout-out to new friends Maggie and Rick. We met Maggie on the trail Saturday while she was day-hiking and told her a bit about what we were doing.
She and husband Rick joined us for work Monday and have since adopted that section of the BRT upriver from Bear Creek. In addition, Brad B has adopted the section from Zack Ridge Rd downriver to Brush Creek.
There are still a couple areas available for adoption. The Ozark Highlands Trail Association coordinates maintenance between the Richland Valley and AR-14.