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So far David Peterson has created 12 blog entries.
16 12, 2021

An Update on Lake Sylvia Recreation Area

By |2021-12-16T10:16:19-06:00December 16th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2021|Tags: |

In 1978, then Pulaski Chapter chair Rose Hogan invited my family to attend our first Ozark Society general meeting, to be held in the Great Hall of the historic girl scout camp at Lake Sylvia. The serene 18-acre lake, built by the CCC in 1936, is located at the eastern end of the Ouachita National Forest, just 38 miles west of Little Rock. The Great Hall features massive log beams, a kitchen, and austere rock walls. The camp, constructed by the Works Progress Administration (1936-1940), included rustic cabins, a recreation area and a campground. Unfortunately, the lack of a water supply caused the closing of the camp in 1979, and the facilities deteriorated. Efforts to restore the area began in 1992 when the camp was put on the National Register of Historic Places, but it remained in decline. But help is finally on the way. In July, the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism and the Ouachita National Forest issued a joint agreement making Lake Sylvia Recreation Area a part of Pinnacle Mountain State Park. 1.3 million dollars were dedicated to refurbishing the Great Hall, making the cabins habitable, repairing the leaky dam, and expanding recreational opportunities, including a [...]

13 09, 2021

Ozark Society Plans for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Buffalo National River

By |2021-11-04T17:19:12-05:00September 13th, 2021|Categories: Fall 2021, Pack & Paddle|

On March 1, 1972, Richard Nixon signed a bill making the Buffalo River the first National River in the United States. Now almost 50 years later, the Ozark Society is planning 5 major events in support of the 50th anniversary. Details will be posted on the Ozark Society website later. BNR50 Hike Series: A series of hikes on the 134 miles of trails within the Buffalo National River (BNR) will be offered to the public beginning in fall of 2021 and extending throughout 2022. The Highlands Chapter of the Ozark Society (OSHC) will organize the hikes as part of its annually scheduled hiking season with a special focus on hiking within the BNP during this anniversary period. If you are willing to lead a hike, contact coordinator Brian Thompson at thompsonadd@gmail.com. Buffalo River Float, Grinder’s Ferry (Hwy 65, River Mile 95.2) to White River (River Mile 153.0), June 13-18, 2022: This 58-mile event is intended to involve more people than the usual semi-annual OS float for members only, with invitations to news media as well as friends, neighbors and celebrities that might not ordinarily float the river. We will travel in small groups (<15) with experienced leaders, and possible access [...]

7 06, 2021

The Ozark Society Foundation Endowment

By |2021-06-30T15:41:52-05:00June 7th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2021|

The recently established Ozark Society Foundation Endowment is a good opportunity for those of us who want to provide long term stable financial funding for conservation activities for the Ozark Society Foundation and the Ozark Society. The Endowment is managed by The Arkansas Community Foundation in Little Rock which manages over $400 million in assets for more than 2,000 funds. The Ozark Society Foundation Endowment establishes a pool of money which will pay yearly returns to the OSF for working capital while maintaining and increasing the initial investments for the long term. All contributions are fully tax deductible and there are additional special services that the Arkansas Community Foundation provides. The easiest way to contribute is ONLINE via credit or debit card. Go to www.arcf.org/give- online/?fund=Ozark+Society+Foundation+Endowment. Or you can send cash or a check in behalf of OSF Endowment to: Arkansas Community Foundation 5 Allied Drive, Suite 51110 Little Rock, AR, 72202 One special service Arkansas Community Foundation offers is assistance for Planned Giving, which can include stock, real estate, retirement and insurance distributions, crops/timber, or farmland. Chief Development Officer at ACF, Ashley Coldiron, at 501-372-1116, can handle the details for you. There may be tax benefits for giving through [...]

9 03, 2021

Remembrance of Lil Junas

By |2021-03-09T14:30:27-06:00March 9th, 2021|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2021|Tags: |

Prize winning photo journalist Lil Junas, Ph.D. died December 11, 2020 in Pennsylvania at the age of 85. Her career was amazing: college sports information, university teaching, and photographic missions throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Central Asia and much more. She was also an avid canoeist and outdoors person, she tent-camped in all mainland US states, in Canada and the Yukon. She spent 4 years in Arkansas (1976-1980) as a photographer for the Log Cabin Democrat newspaper in Conway, AR. In 1973, the Ozark Society decided to publish books on various endangered Arkansas streams in hopes of exposing the scenic, geological, historical, fish and wildlife, educational and cultural values to the general public, emphasizing the need for preservation. Ken Smith’s Illinois River (1977) was the first in the series, and then Lil was asked to undertake Cadron Creek: A Photographic Narrative (1978) even though she had never been on the Creek. The threat for Cadron Creek at the time was the Soil Conservation Service proposal to put 23 dams on the Creek for the purpose of flood control, even though the amount of land flooded by the impoundments exceeded the amount of land saved from flooding. And as [...]

7 12, 2020

Ozark Society President’s Report for Winter 2020

By |2020-12-07T12:33:11-06:00December 7th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2020|Tags: |

Opportunities in the Buffalo National Park The Ozark Society is committed to maintaining the water quality of the Buffalo National River and also improving the experience of park visitors – two opportunities present themselves now. Here are some activities we are pursuing. Pre-National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) planning: At the fall annual board meeting Laura Timby proposed that OS present the Buffalo River National US Park Service with two recommended changes in policy: Decrease congestion at access sites along the river by reducing long term parking on the gravel bars Require WAG bags for proper solid waste removal for all overnight floaters. Mark Foust, superintendent of the Buffalo National River for the US Park Service, tells me that these topics, as well as many more, are already on the list of topics under review in their comprehensive management plan. Mark Foust, BNR Superintendent Other topics include: dogs on wilderness hiking trails, controlled burns in the park, bike use in the park, horse trails, and unpaved roads. Please pass along other such issues to board members: Laura Timby at laurab2053@gmail.com, Alice Andrews at alice209ok@yahoo.com, Stewart Noland at stewartnoland51@aol.com David Peterson at ospres@pzarksociety.net Cemetery Maintenance: There are at least 40 [...]

26 08, 2020

Ozark Society President’s Report for Fall 2020

By |2020-08-28T12:31:13-05:00August 26th, 2020|Categories: Fall 2020, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

Fall General Meeting, 9 AM, at Lake Nixon, October 3, 2020 We currently plan a one-day meeting with board meeting in the morning and general meeting with election of officers in the afternoon, followed by a Compton Award recognition of Dana and Bill Steward. Lake Nixon is a church camp a few miles west of Little Rock with canoeing/kayaking on their private lake, hiking on site, and plenty of covered outdoor meeting space to accommodate social distancing. If you have an interest or know of a person who might be willing to serve on the OS board please contact one of the nominating committee members: Luke Parsch, Lowell Collins, or Alice Andrews. CAFO Moratorium In their haste to reject the temporary moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s in the Buffalo River Watershed, the Arkansas Legislative Council also rejected changes to regulation 6, which puts Arkansas in the potential awkward position of Federal regulations usurping state implementation for some aspects of the clean water act. There has been no public response from DEQ about a resolution of these issues but the deadline for action on the moratorium is September 19, 2020. Robert’s Gap Project www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53597 The Forest Service has a [...]

8 06, 2020

Permanent CAFO Moratorium (Reg 5) Passes PC&EC

By |2020-06-08T14:51:41-05:00June 8th, 2020|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2020|Tags: |

Last week there was a surprise announcement that the Pollution Control & Ecology Commission had a minute order on the agenda to pass changes in Reg 5 at the May 27 meeting. Meaning that after 10 months of delay, there was likely to be a resolution one way or another for our efforts to make permanent the current temporary moratorium on medium and large hog CAFO’s in the Buffalo River Watershed. The temporary moratorium was for 5 years and is scheduled to expire this year. Without a permanent moratorium the entire C&H kind of affair could start over again next year. The battle lines have been between those who think that clean water, as exemplified by the Buffalo National River, should be preserved verses the “right to farm” position postured by the Farm Bureau. The possibility of coexistence has been greatly politicalized by the C&H controversy, which, along with the corona virus problem, led to several delayed votes. But PC&EC meetings are public meetings and DEQ accommodated that by broadcasting on Arkansas Public Television and by allowing no more than 15 members of the public into the hearing room at any one time – the rest were to sit in [...]

12 12, 2019

Tom McClure Promotes Wilderness Ethics at the Fall Meeting

By |2020-01-21T18:03:56-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: News & Updates, Winter 2019|

Tom McClure gave a rousing keynote address on the value of wilderness at the fall meeting of the Ozark Society at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Tom, a native of Gurdon who now lives in Rogers, has been involved in preservation issues around the country for most of his life. He traced the wilderness ethic through Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, and others with pithy statements and observations and then brought the issue back to Arkansas. Most of the current wilderness areas in Arkansas (about 1% of the area) were established in the early 1980’s with one recent 640-acre addition last year at Flatside. But there may be as many possible wilderness areas that might have qualified for inclusion but were deleted for various reasons in the ultimate legislative actions. A good example is the Blue Hole, a special interest area on Hurricane Creek. Hurricane Creek is in the watershed just south of East Fork Wilderness, some 15 miles north of I-40 near Hector. It is protected by the steep sides of White Oak Mountain and a narrow canyon where it joins the East Fork of Illinois Bayou. Blue Hole is a swimmable pool just below two wonderful 10-foot waterfalls. It has a [...]

12 12, 2019

C & H Hog Farm and CAFO Moratorium in the Buffalo River Watershed

By |2020-01-21T18:05:13-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: News & Updates, Winter 2019|

The last piglet at C&H was weened a couple of weeks ago and all hogs are due to be gone by January 2020. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will then proceed with the closure and remediation of the waste lagoons. The next step, making the temporary moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s permanent, was put on hold at the October 25, 2019 meeting of the Arkansas Pollution, Control & Ecology Commission (APC&E) when they unexpectedly voted to extend the comment period 90 days. The reason for the extension was the publication of the Big Creek Research and Extension Team's (BCRET) final report. The new deadline is now January 22, 2020. Although the initial 400 positive comments (out of 402) will be counted this time, we ask that Ozark Society members add additional comments in support of the DEQ rule change. Electronic submission: http://water.adeq.commentinput.com/?id=6pAef. The 300+ page BCRET report, available at the BCRET website, is highly technical but with readable summaries. While opponents of the moratorium will latch onto the phrase that C&H has had a “limited impact” on the Buffalo River, there is strong evidence that the Big Creek watershed has been contaminated with excess nutrients. This includes [...]

4 09, 2019

Ozark Society News and Happenings

By |2019-12-12T11:44:41-06:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: Fall 2019, Pack & Paddle|

C&H Buy Out – On June 13, 2019 Governor Hutchinson announced the “agreement” to close the C&H Hog Farm.  The buy-out money, 5.2 million from the Arkansas Department of Heritage and 1 million from Arkansas Nature Conservancy, is in escrow.   But more than two months later the 180-day close down has not started yet because of an issue over potential liens.  Still we are assured that the deal will stick.  Basically, the 9-page agreement establishes a conservation easement to the State of Arkansas which permanently prohibits CAFO operations on the property but does allow most other types of farming or even a housing development.  The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (now DEQ under the recent governmental reorganization) has the responsibility for directing facility remediation and continuing monitoring. Permanent Moratorium on Swine CAFO’s – The current moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s in the Buffalo River watershed is due to expire in 2020.  But it makes no sense to spend 6.2 million dollars to preserve “the historical, cultural, and recreational significance of the Buffalo National River” without making the moratorium permanent.  DEQ made that recommendation at the July 26 meeting of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology and received [...]


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