From President David Peterson: The Ozark Society wants everyone to stay strong and healthy and we recommend people follow all State and Federal guidelines for limiting contact at this time. Most of our group activities are being postponed for now but it is still okay for each of us to walk outdoors. In fact it is a great way to get exercise and boost your mood and maybe your immune system!
We are pleased to announce that the Schoolcraft Chapter in the Springfield Missouri area is renewing its mission and will be meeting soon. Here is an article by Andy Ostmeyer from the Joplin Globe on the details: Andy Ostmeyer: Battles with CAFOs spark new interest in Ozark Society Battles with CAFOs spark new interest in Ozark Society A fight over a large hog farm on a tributary of the Buffalo River in Arkansas has become a catalyst for a new round of conservation action, including in the Ozark Society. Sixty years ago, efforts to protect the Buffalo River in Arkansas launched the Ozark Society, which led the fight to save the river. A more recent fight to protect the river has sparked new interest in the Ozark Society. A dormant chapter of the Ozark Society in southern Missouri is being revived. It’s a good sign for Ozark rivers and our public lands. This timing is no coincidence, either, but the latest proof of a pattern that repeats throughout the Ozarks as surely as our rhythm of hill and hollow. I’ve seen it happen time and again: Residents, busy with their lives and trusting politicians and regulators to protect their water, air, [...]
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 [...]
Compton Gardens in Bentonville was the setting once again, on August 10 this year, for what has become an annual public event, since 2012, to commemorate the August 1 birthday of Dr. Neil Compton, founder of the Ozark Society. This year an invitation-only breakfast for 90 people from the Compton family and close friends, Compton Gardens board members and supporters, and Ozark Society officers was followed by the opening of exhibits on the grounds of Compton Gardens. Some 25 local environmental groups, museums, and vendors had displays and goods for sale in conjunction with Arkansas and the Ozarks outdoors. Nearly 15 volunteers staffed the Ozark Society’s three tables throughout the morning, and Fred Paillet, Steve Stephenson, and Ken Smith were on hand to sign their books. Compton Gardens provided birthday cake and ice cream for the several hundred pedestrians who moseyed on through after stopping at the Saturday Bentonville Farmers’ Market nearby. One highlight of the morning was the dedication of a new neon entrance sign to Compton Gardens, with remarks offered by the artist, Todd Sanders. Many members of Dr. Compton’s family and close friends were able to attend the dedication, including Dr. Compton’s two daughters, Ellen and Edra, [...]
This is the eighth in a series of my adventure to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points. Last time we looked at the odds and ends of high points I picked up as I went by. This time it's a trip I took in September of 2018 to visit 7 New England states: Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and Maine. This was a very aggressive schedule, trying to get all 7 of these states in one 12 -day trip. The number of hikes that would require all day walking, the driving, scheduled stopping spots and weather all pushed me on this journey. It all started on Saturday September 22, 2018 when I flew to Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island This was my first time in Rhode Island. I would explore it more when I came back to fly home. I left my hotel and drove about an hour to the west center of this small state. Just off Rhode Island Hwy. 101, near Foster is Jerimoth Hill, 810 feet above sea level. You park at a sign on the roadside and walk about a quarter mile to the marker in a patch [...]
Before there was Saturday Night Live there were the Farkleberry Follies. Founded in 1967, this performance convened every other year was a time when a collection of Arkansas journalists conducted skits to spoof state politics in general, and Governor Orval Faubus in particular. In a recent editorial, Rex Nelson reported that the main objective of the show was to “skewer the inflated egos of the political class.” The show got its name from an editorial by local cartoonist George Fisher who poked fun at the governor over a folksy meeting where Faubus had lectured a brush-clearing highway crew about the native species of shrubs in our region. One of the most obscure of these was the tree blueberry or farkleberry (Vaccinium arboretum) with its amusing name. There is a direct Ozark Society connection here because the family of current Ozark Society President, David Peterson, received one of the prized farkleberry awards bestowed from the hands of Dale Bumpers some 30 years ago on behalf of a folk music group founded by Fisher in Pulaski County. The shrub itself is especially common in the Ozarks and Ouachitas where it is found growing on the edges of cliffs and around rock ledges. [...]
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 [...]
Ozark Forest Forensics: The Science Behind the Scenery in Our Regional Forests By Frederick Paillet and Steven Stephenson This book interprets our natural surroundings in a way that enhances a simple walk in the scenic deciduous woodlands of the Ozark Mountain region. Explanations go beyond trees and their habitat to include other diverse subjects: the leaf litter beneath a hiker’s feet, strategies used by wildflowers for pollination and seed dispersal, diseases that can ravage our forests, and forces active in the landscape that impact conservation efforts. Simplified line drawings demonstrate specific points of interest in a way that visually cluttered photographs cannot do. Includes: 163 line drawings, a list of species used in the text, a glossary, and a reading list. $24.95 Order it now using our Book Order Form or by contacting Emily Roberts at email@example.com.
Below is the statement of the BNR proposal for use of the Tyler Bend trails to mountain biking. There is an open comment period until November 6th and you can comment at this site: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=119&projectID=61303&documentID=91222 Tyler Bend Trails Plan / EA Buffalo National River » Tyler Bend Trails Plan / EA » Document List Buffalo National River proposes to make improvements to the trail system at Tyler Bend, to allow more and different types of use. This would include improving the accessibility of some trails, and opening others to mountain biking. The purposes of modifying trails at Tyler Bend is to enhance trail sustainability; expand recreational opportunities for visitors in the park; increase visitor use of the established trail system and campgrounds; and to promote the health and well-being of visitors to Buffalo National River. The park has received multiple requests to include cycling opportunities as a new form of recreation at Buffalo National River. In response to these requests, the park is evaluating the feasibility of converting some hiking trails within the Tyler Bend area (outside of the designated wilderness) to include the use of bicycles. In addition to this planning document, a special rule would be required to allow [...]
Jack Boles, President of the Newton County Farm Bureau, has questioned a column by Mike Masterson which quotes from the Big Creek Research and Extension Team’s (BCRET) recent report of monitoring of the C&H Hog Farm in the Buffalo National River watershed. See, “Argument Flawed” 8-30-18. Since the Arkansas Farm Bureau is funding C&H’s legal fight to keep its operation alive, one can hardly expect objectivity from Mr. Boles. But in this case, Mr. Boles is proving a larger point. It is undisputed that excess nutrients in the Buffalo River create algae blooms which in turn cause water quality degradation. Farming activities (hogs, chicken and cattle), the attendant conversion of forest to pasture and the resulting animal wastes are the primary cause of the decline in water quality in the Buffalo River. Mr. Boles and his organization appear to be just fine with this. But let’s look more closely at the point Mr. Boles tries to make. He claims that BCRET’s monitoring Field 5a is not receiving wastes from C&H and thus Mr. Masterson’s statement that C&H’s waste is leaving Field 5a is “cherry picking the facts.” What Mr. Boles fails to inform your readers is that the Field 5a catchment [...]