We want to thank Loring Bullard and Dan Chiles for all their efforts to revive the Schoolcraft Chapter of Springfield MO. It now has 23 members and counting. In honor of their work, Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair, has a story about Henry Schoolcraft, their namesake. Fred’s Story: The legacy of one of the earliest Ozark explorers is chronicled by a modern annotated edition of Henry Schoolcraft’s winter trip across the broad divide between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers in: Rude Pursuits and Rugged Peaks – Schoolcraft’s Ozark Journal 1818-1819, Henry R. Schoolcraft and Milton D. Rafferty, 1996, 170 p. The book contains the original journal with annotations and maps, plus a biographical sketch of Schoolcraft and his career. The journey takes about three months and was made in early winter (November through January). The route is over the headwater tributaries of the Meramec River, across the headwaters of the Current River to follow down the North Fork of the White River. Then, down the White to the Black River, going up to cross over into the St. Francis River on the way back to the Meramec drainage. Rather mild weather at the beginning and streamflow so reduced that a [...]
This is the ninth in a series of my adventures to visit as many of the fifty United States' highest points as I can. In chapter eight we looked at the trip I took in September of 2018 to visit 7 New England states in one trip. This time we head out west to visit Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota in August of 2019. It all starts on August 6th with a flight to Denver, picking up a rental car and driving to Rawlings, Wyoming, for the night. I would do all my prep work the next morning for my three-day backpack into the High Uintas Wilderness. On August 7th, I drove over to Rock Springs and then spent a few hours exploring the Flaming Gorge region of the Green River before driving over to the trailhead for the night. In the morning I would load up and start my hike towards Kings Peak. Utah Located in northeastern Utah, Kings Peak at 13,528 feet is the highest point in Utah. It barely ekes out nearby points that make up the Uintas range. The range is not unlike the Ouachitas, as they run east-west, only they are way higher. I [...]
Things are taking shape for our hike this summer on the John Muir Trail in the High Sierras of California. And it’s not too late for one more of you to join us! Trip leader Steve Heye has a permit for eight hikers and one spot is still open. You still have time to join in on the training and planning in the months before the hike. The hike will be from June 29th to July 5th starting from the Onion Valley Campground and end at Whitney Portal. This is a distance of 44 miles over 6 nights. A group of us will be in Onion Valley a couple of days early to get used to the altitude. Plan on a vacation window of June 26 to July 6 to get there, do the hike and get back home. If you’d like to join us or want more info, contact Steve at heye@Aristotle.net. If you can’t make it, do you know someone who might like to go? Then please tell them., These permits are hard to come by and we don’t want to leave any slots empty.
The Ozark Society sponsored hiking trips to Zion National Park in September, 2014, and to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in September, 2017. To continue our visits to the Southwestern US we will hike in the vicinity of the town of Sedona, AZ with an arrival on October 18 and departure on October 24 this year. Of course, you can arrive earlier or depart later on your own. Sedona is surrounded by the Coconino National Forest with its red rock buttes and canyons. There are over 120 hikes within 20 miles of town and 95 of those are within 10 miles with several trailheads in the town itself. These are about equally divided between easy, moderate, and difficult hikes. Hikes will be led by Bob Cross with Roger Keesee and possibly Terry Fredrick as co-leaders. We will try to have at least two led hikes per day. A group campground has been reserved at the Coconino National Forest Chavez Crossing Group Campground (#3, Sycamore). It is right on Oak Creek (for swimming and wading). The capacity is 30 campers, primarily tent campers, but a few camping trailers or RV's of less than 25 ft. in length will be allowed. There [...]
The Buffalo River Chapter of the Ozark Society will be hosting the Spring Ozark Society Recreation meeting the weekend of April 25-26. The meeting will officially begin at 8:30 am on Saturday, April 25th at the Group Pavilion at Tyler Bend Campground of the Buffalo National River. This is a recreation-based event. Activities on Saturday will include hiking, boating, and a potluck supper, followed by entertainment by Buffalo River Chapter member Dave Smith. Meeting registration is $5/person or $10/couple or family. A light breakfast and overview of the day’s activities will be provided at the Pavilion on Saturday morning. Group site #1 at the Tyler Bend Campground has been reserved for the Ozark Society for Friday and Saturday nights, April 24 and 25. The cost for camping for adults is $10/night and $5/night for a child for the first two children. There is no additional charge for more than two children. The Ozark Society Board will meet at Laura Timby’s home, 50 Frost Street, Gilbert, AR at 10 am on Sunday morning, April 26. All are welcome to attend.
Seventy people gathered at the Butterfield Trail Village Lodge in Fayetteville on Jan. 26 to honor Robert A. (“Bob”) Cross as the 2019 recipient of the Neil Compton Award. The award is given to individuals who embody the inspiration, dedication, and perseverance of the Ozark Society’s Founder and first president, Dr. Neil Compton, in conserving our natural treasures and resources in the Ozarks and surrounding regions. The room was full, the conversation was at a high decibel level, and the food and drink were abundant. Tom Perry, chair of the Highlands Chapter which hosted the event, opened the program by welcoming the guests. As Bob was presented with a plaque and handmade wood puzzle, Ozark Society President David Peterson remarked how Bob’s steady investigation and analysis of the handbooks, reports, and data regarding the permitting and operation of the C&H hog farm was key to the dissolution of the farm. Patti Kent, a member of the Highlands Chapter, described her first hiking adventures back in the 1990s with Bob as hike leader. Janet Parsch read the nomination letter that she and Luke Parsch had written to nominate Bob for the award. Luke Parsch, Ozark Society Vice President, presented Bob with [...]
The mention of virgin Arkansas forest conjures up images of massive ranks of white oak columns or soaring canopies of stately shortleaf pine, but ecologists have found virgin forest hiding in plain sight all across America. These are modest forest plots that have remained uncut and undisturbed because they inhabit rough and non-arable land covered by crooked and unmerchantable trees. A decade ago Harvard researchers made news when they documented virgin forest adjacent to the Wachusett Mountain ski area within the metropolitan Boston area. More recently, the UARK tree ring lab showed that virgin chinquapin oak and post oak stands were growing on Mt. Kessler within Fayetteville city limits. Crooked and storm-battered trees there were as much as 300 years old. That was one factor that prompted the city’s purchase of the Mt. Kessler property to preserve it for future outdoor recreation. Ozark Society members recently had the opportunity to experience another Arkansas area of virgin forest – and one that covers a much more extensive area than the limited stand of oaks on Mt. Kessler. This was during our Society fall meeting in November at Queen Wilhelmina State Park lodge, where some of us hiked a five-mile section of [...]
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 [...]