Pack & Paddle

6 03, 2019

2019 Buffalo Float June 5-8th

By | 2019-03-06T14:33:44-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

It's time! The 2019 Buffalo River Float is planned and ready to go, are you? We think this year's float is going to be fun for folks of all ages. Group leaders, Stewart Noland, Alan Nye and Steve Heye  are looking for 45 friends to join us for a four day/three night trip on the Buffalo National River. The trip will start from the Ozark Campground, just north on highway 7 from Jasper, on Wednesday, June 5th. . You need to be at the Campground by 10 A.M. We will spend three nights on the river and finish just after lunch at Grinder's Ferry (Hwy. 65) on Saturday, June 8th. The Ozark Campground will be available for everyone starting Monday evening, June 3rd. The trip fee is $200 per person. This fee will cover your car shuttle from Ozark to Hwy. 65. It will also cover all meals from Wednesday lunch thru lunch on Saturday and the fee for our pavilion rental, campground costs, and the group permit. There will be an optional day float before the trip on Tuesday, June 4th that will leave Kyles Landing and return to Ozark campground. Meals and shuttle for this day are on your [...]

6 03, 2019

In Memoriam – Randy Ego

By | 2019-03-06T14:27:19-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

A dear friend and Ozark Society member, Randy Ego, 67, quietly passed away on Thursday January 17, 2019. Randy was seriously injured in an accident in October 2016. With the help of his devoted family, friends and his amazing spirit and strength, Randy kept up his fight to heal and remain with his loved ones, eventually returning to his home and community here in the Ozarks in 2018. Randy and his wife Cathy have been friends of mine almost since the very beginning of my own journey here in Buffalo River Country. One of my fondest memories is when Randy, Cathy and their children joined our group on the Ozark Society Colorado trip.  I remember coming back to camp after a strenuous day of hiking or rafting and Randy (God bless him) would have some freshly caught trout cooked up for appetizers and a batch of frozen lime Margaritas. I can’t ever remember anything that tasted so good or was so refreshing-simply wonderful! The family requests that memorials be made to the Chimes Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 40 Dennard, AR 72629

6 03, 2019

Orphea’s Fence

By | 2019-03-06T14:22:02-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

by Ken Smith via Luke Parsch, Ozark Society Vice President In 1959 when driving along the upper Buffalo River at Boxley, I spied an unusual fence—horizontal boards, but also, between its posts, cross-boards making distinctive “Xs”. And with artistic flair, the fence turned a right angle past a big, spreading tree. From roadside, I made a photograph. Years later, I met the person who must have designed that fence--Orphea Duty, the landowner. “Orphey,” as friends called her, knew her place in this world. Her father, Ben McFerrin--teacher, advocate for public schools, state legislator, lieutenant governor--had acquired this land with its two-story house facing Highway 43. And Orphea inherited the property. After her husband, Fred Duty, had died she remained there--Boxley’s postmistress, community leader, pillar of its Baptist church. Orphea had a definite sense of style. Only she could have designed that pretty fence at rural Boxley. Orphey and Fred were married on horseback; a photograph shows her in a nice riding habit. Her dress for social occasions was always tasteful, at times elegant. And anyone visiting her home for a meal, or even for coffee, found her table already set with china, crystal, and silver. Orphea Duty had enjoyed opportunities [...]

6 03, 2019

High-Pointing the States: Part Five – The Midwest Loop

By | 2019-03-06T14:17:04-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

Here is the fifth in a series of my adventures to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points as I can. Last time we took a look at a trip from October of 2014 to the southeast corner of the US: Florida, Alabama and Georgia. This time I will tell you of my tour of the Midwest following the Eclipse of August 21, 2017. My wife, Meribeth, and I went up to my Aunt's home in Sutton, Nebraska for the big eclipse. Her town was dead center on the path of totality. Nice! Following the event, we made our way towards the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. Along the way, one of our first stops was the highest point in Iowa. After the fair, Meribeth would fly home and I would continue bagging high points in the Midwest. Iowa Iowa's high point, Hawkeye Point, is outside the town of Sibley. This is one of those easy ones: drive up, get out, take the photo. There is a patio and mosaic marker at the high point and it is surrounded by cornfields and a farmstead. Even at 1670 feet, it’s got a great view of the rolling [...]

6 03, 2019

Chert – One of the Most Common Ozark Minerals

By | 2019-03-06T14:04:31-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

As an outdoor enthusiast relocated to northwest Arkansas more than a decade ago, the observation of abundant chert was one of my very first Ozark impressions.  And it was not necessarily pleasant.  The chert attracted my attention in the form of baseball-sized angular rocks hidden in the deep leaf litter of Ozark National Forest hiking trails.  These potentially ankle-twisting nuisances came as a real surprise and forced me to pay far too much attention to my footing when I would rather have been enjoying pleasant fall scenery.  Almost at the same time I began to notice sections of trail constructed into the sides of hills that seemed to have been deliberately paved with gray gravel composed of similar angular rock fragments.  By now all of this is a familiar part of my local hiking experiences.  But what exactly is chert, and where did all the chert in the Ozarks come from?Chert is a glass-like form of rock composed of tiny quartz (silicon oxide) crystals verging on a true glass where molten rock cooled so quickly as to be left with no crystal structure at all.  Trace minerals mixed in with the silica give the various forms of chert their color.  Common [...]

6 03, 2019

Dicamba

By | 2019-03-06T13:55:12-05:00 March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|Tags: |

Dicamba has been around for about 50 years, first registered in 1967.  Originally made by Monsanto, (now owned by Bayer), with several formulations: dianat, metambane, banfel, banvel, banvel cst, banfel d, banfel xg, mediben, oracle, vanquish, diablo.   It is intended to control broadleaf weeds, particularly pigweed. An aside…Pigweed, known as Amaranthus, is an ancient grain.  Three species are globally cultivated as an important food.  It is used as a grain; the seeds are a good source of protein; a leafy vegetable and an ornamental plant (Prince’s feather).  There are about 60 species of Amaranthus. Dicamba use is restricted – one must have a license.  Farmers, road-crews, (both commercial and non-commercial), must be educated in its “safe” use.  It is designed to kill broad-leaf plants.  2-4-d, Round-up, Ortho, Bayer are also used on broadleaf plants.  Dicamba is more economic, more effective and takes less of the product.   Some plants are resistant and some not.   It is heavily used for GMO soybeans. Dicamba became a concern due to its tendency to vaporize from treated fields.  As spring/summer temperatures rise, it vaporizes and spreads via “drift” (winds) to neighboring crops not meant to be treated.   It can and has [...]

10 12, 2018

Beautiful Buffalo River Action Committee (BBRAC) Meeting (11/13/18)

By | 2018-12-10T15:10:41-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

At a recent BBRAC meeting in Little Rock, several agencies reported some action. The Health Department reported on a small survey of septic systems in Newton County, and the Geology Department has stunning new relief maps of the watershed. But the most important meeting announcements were by Mark Faust, the new Superintendent of the Buffalo National River, and Billy Justus of the Little Rock office of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Faust announced a “Buffalo River Science Symposium” scheduled for April 23-24 at the Durand Center in Harrison. The idea is to present as much science pertaining to the Buffalo River watershed as possible. This could be an opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers and regulators like the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Big Creek Research Extension Team and the many citizen advocacy groups like the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Ozark Society, etc. Justus made a presentation about microbial source testing on Mill Creek, which is notorious for years of pollution from non-functioning sewage treatment at Dog Patch, and also from cattle farms in the Crooked Creek drainage, which none-the-less contributes to Mill Creek because of karst. They are differentiating between poultry, humans and cattle, but not hogs [...]

10 12, 2018

The OS Young Naturalists

By | 2018-12-10T15:19:52-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

What a beautiful sight!  It’s certainly uplifting to see children and parents’ hike in our local parks while observing butterflies, identifying native trees, listening to birdcalls and discovering animal tracks.  Ozark Society Young Naturalists began sessions this fall for children ages seven to nine. This new initiative for the Highlands and Sugar Creek Chapters of the Ozark Society presents outdoor learning opportunities in the fall and spring. Each Sunday afternoon focuses on a different topic. Geology, botany, entomology, reptile studies and bird appreciation are topics for our Sunday outings. Hiking while discovering birds and bugs, rocks and flowers seems like a great way for families with young children to spend Sunday afternoons! We generally have between 11 or 12 students along with their parents or grandparents.   They include students from at least 4 elementary schools.  This fall we partnered with the Audubon Society, Master Naturalists, Prism Elementary, and the University of Arkansas Entomology Department.  The program greatly benefited from critical input, program presentation and support provided by other organizations. What’s going on now?  We’re planning our spring sessions. Presently, a geology unit is in the works and the Master Naturalists will be presenting an insect program.  We are also considering a session [...]

10 12, 2018

Beers/Brews: Save the Buffalo

By | 2018-12-10T15:07:22-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

As November turned cold in northwest Arkansas, a warm reception and great brews awaited friends of the Buffalo River at two coordinated events in our area.  Organized by Buffalo River, Highlands and Sugar Creek Chapters “Beers for the Buffalo” on November 8 at Fossil Cove Brewery in Fayetteville raised $1200 for our legal fund while stirring interest and concern for our own Buffalo River.  A week later (11/15) in Bentonville “Brews for the Buffalo” at Airship Coffee brought in another $1000 for our legal fund.  But we raised more than monetary support for the Buffalo, as the business community joined the Ozark Society to raise awareness of the dangers of Hog Farming near the Buffalo River. Both events followed a similar agenda.  Drew Lee, a history student at the University of Arkansas, presented a PowerPoint on the history of the battle for the Buffalo.  He then highlighted current concerns for the pollution caused by the C & H Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).  Finally, he focused on the positive actions we need to take in order to keep the Buffalo River safe and clean.   At the Fayetteville benefit, Teresa Turk presented a video of the hazards of algae growth, while in Bentonville [...]

10 12, 2018

Free-flowing Rivers Versus Dams

By | 2018-12-10T15:07:32-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|Tags: |

Many of us think of rivers and streams as fixed geographic features.  In fact, stream channels and the ecosystems that go with them are dynamic parts of our landscape that depend on a delicate equilibrium of natural forces.  Streams are characterized by a channel and surrounding alluvial flood plain that represent the geomorphic process of erosion and sediment transport. This channel structure results from an ongoing state of adjustment where local reaches of the stream are intimately interconnected with each other. A local change to the stream as seemingly inconsequential as occasional access for off road vehicles can affect the stream over large distances both up and down stream.  And it’s not just the structure of the stream itself.  The surrounding ecosystem depends upon the processes that create the stream environment.  Trees such as sycamore, box elder, and sweetgum are adapted to use exposed gravel bars as seedbeds.  Some of our favorite wildflowers require the rich soil of regularly refreshed alluvial soils that result from infrequent overflows during flood events. Dams, of course, represent an extreme alteration of the stream environment with especially severe consequences for the entire river corridor.  The body of stagnant water held by the dam causes the [...]