Pack & Paddle

7 09, 2018

High-Pointing the States: Part Three – The Western Swing

By | 2018-09-07T11:57:16+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

This is the third in a series of my adventure to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points. We've visited the six states that surround Arkansas and Mt. Magazine in the previous two episodes. This time we'll look at a trip I took in August of 2013 to visit 5 western states: Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Since I covered Oklahoma in part one, I'll just say that it was the first stop on this trip. I left Little Rock and drove over 700 miles that day to the panhandle and stayed in a state park that was near Black Mesa. The following day I got up and did the Mesa before lunch then made my way from Kenton, Oklahoma west into New Mexico, heading for Taos. New Mexico It was interesting to drive the back county and state roads in N.E. New Mexico. The high plains gullies and scrub made for an eye-opening trip. I finally was on U.S. 64 to Cimarron to make a quick visit to the Philmont Scout Ranch on my way to Taos. I arrived in Taos about 6 pm, ate dinner and decided to get closer to my target, Wheeler [...]

7 09, 2018

In Memoriam: Dr. Kimberly Smith & Roy Senyard

By | 2018-09-07T11:38:09+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

Dr. Kimberly Smith Dr. Kimberly Gray (Kim) Smith, member of the board of the Ozark Society Foundation since fall 2011 and chair since January 2013, passed away unexpectedly on April 9.  As a Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, he served in many roles and oversaw and collaborated on research in many areas, resulting in over 300 professional publications.  Four days before he died, Kim gave his retirement seminar, in which he said: “Be curious, be creative, challenge yourself to learn new things… and have fun doing what you do… I did.” Roy Senyard Roy was a lifelong advocate and lover of the outdoors. He spent decades working to preserve the integrity and beauty of the Arkansas wilderness through his passion for caring for The Ozark Highlands Trail. He was the longtime Maintenance Coordinator for the OHT, organizing the volunteers who keep the trail open by cutting back the side growth of trees and shrubs. If there was meaningful trail work to be done, Roy was the first person on the scene. Had trees from a storm fallen and blocked the trail? Roy gathered a team together and off [...]

7 09, 2018

Buffalo River Bur Oak – A Blast from the Distant Past

By | 2018-09-07T11:57:34+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

The Ozark Plateau is considered to lie in what the Forest Service designates as the oak-hickory biome.  Early land office survey data show that Ozark forests were about 70% oak at the time the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase.   The oaks growing on the ridges and cliffs around the Buffalo River come in so many varieties that many of us find it hard to tell one from another.  Some like white, black and post oaks are common and widespread, while others are associated with special habitats such as limestone outcrops (chinquapin oak) and poorly drained lowlands (pin oak).    Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is a relatively infrequently encountered oak that grows throughout the Ozark region, telling an interesting story about our region’s deep past. Investigations of the prehistory of Midwest America showed that giant mammals such as mastodons and ground sloths once roamed our region while a great sheet of ice covered almost all of Canada.   Investigations at sites where such fossil remains were found showed that the vegetation associated with those fossils was very different from what is found in the Ozarks today.  Before the cause of these geologically recent glacial events were known it was sometimes thought that the [...]

7 09, 2018

Ozark Society Election of Officers October 13th

By | 2018-09-07T11:59:38+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

The fall meeting of the Ozark Society will take place at Lake Claiborne State Park in northwest Louisiana over the weekend of October 12-14 (Fri-Sun).  One important order of business at the membership meeting on October 13 will be the election of officers to the Ozark Society Board of Directors.  Positions up for election to a two-year term are:  President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Conservation Chair, Education Chair, Membership Chair, and Communications Chair/Pack & Paddle Editor.  In addition, State Directors (i.e., board members at-large) for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri will also be elected. The Nominations Committee is seeking nominees and/or volunteers who are interested in serving on the Board of Directors by running for one of these important Ozark Society positions.  Interested persons should contact one of the following nominating committee members for more information: Janet Nye:  jbnye14@swbell.net or 501-258-7138 Luke Parsch:  lparsch@uark.edu or 479-442-3817 Sandy Roerig:  sroeri@lsuhsc.edu or 318-686-9481 A listing of current 2017-18 Ozark Society Board members can be found at https://www.ozarksociety.net/about-us/ozark-society-officers-2015-2016/   Duties of officers can be found in the Ozark Society Bylaws at https://www.ozarksociety.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/BYLAWS_4-2010.pdf

7 09, 2018

Compton Conservation Day

By | 2018-09-07T11:59:53+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

Remarkably, mid-August this year in northwest Arkansas was wet and dreary, but on Compton Conservation Day, August 10, the Ozark Society, along with other conservation organizations, opened our tables to a warm, sunny day.  Families and friends browsed through booths, took part in hands-on children’s activities, ate free ice cream, and listened to the music of “School of Rock.”  This 2018 Compton Conservation Day, held at Compton Gardens and Conference Center (the former Compton family home and property) in Bentonville, Arkansas, like every other annual Compton celebration, is historically significant to the Ozark Society, as here we celebrate the founder of the Ozark Society, Dr. Neil Compton.  On this day we remember both the efforts he and many others made to save the Buffalo River from being dammed as well as his endeavors to build a society for families and friends to enjoy nature in the Ozarks while working to keep our natural resources available for generations to come. He accomplished both of these goals! The Ozark Society was well represented with three display tables and a pH testing activity for children of all ages. Books, puzzles and T-shirts were sold, while posters supporting the Buffalo River and the Roberts Tract of [...]

7 09, 2018

The 13th Annual Secchi Day

By | 2018-09-07T12:00:11+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

On August 18th nearly 700 people entered the festival grounds at Prairie Creek on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas to celebrate the 13th Annual Secchi Day.  Taking its name from Secchi disks used to measure the depth of water visibility in lakes and rivers, this Science Education Day organized by Beaver Water District offered a mobile aquarium demonstration, on-shore scavenger hunts with prizes, free lunch and ice cream, kayak and stand-up paddle-board test rides, hands-on science activities, microscope activities, a photo contest and musical performances, including Water Fun Facts with Papa Rap and Marshallese dances and crafts.  This was the first year the Ozark Society served as a partner for this event.  Working with Hobbs State Park, our volunteers offered participants free kayak rides.  Ozark Society members helped participants into life jackets, loaded them into kayaks, and later helped pull them safely off Beaver Lake. Under a large canopy, along with many other partners, the Ozark Society presented our children’s activity.  As a constant flow of children moved from exhibit to exhibit, we kept the children interested by having them test the pH of solutions such as Coca-Cola, water from the Buffalo River, vinegar and soda water.  They loved using litmus paper to [...]

7 09, 2018

Alice Andrews to Receive a 2018 Neil Compton Award

By | 2018-09-07T12:00:20+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

Join Us as We Celebrate Alice Andrew’s Neil Compton Award “Ozark Alice” Andrews of Little Rock is a more than 40-year member of the Ozark Society and is honored as the latest recipient of the Neil Compton Award for her tireless work in conservation. Alice has served extended terms as Ozark Society President and Conservation Chair, finding herself in the middle of many conservation battles to preserve water and air quality and wilderness areas in Arkansas. For all her work in conservation, many of us most fondly recall and deeply appreciate her leadership in helping to organize extended trips on the Buffalo River. We will celebrate Alice’s Neil Compton Award on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 80 Belle River Point, Maumelle, AR, 72113 at Janet and Alan Nye’s home on the Arkansas River. We will party from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm. Be there as President David Peterson presents the award to Alice at 5 pm. At Alice’s request, the celebration will be a fund raiser to benefit the Ozark Society’s efforts to preserve and protect the Buffalo National River. Effective now until October 20, 2018, Legal Fund donations honoring Alice Andrews and Dr. Doug James, our most recent recipients of [...]

28 08, 2018

Ozark Resources Watchdogs

By | 2018-08-28T14:56:15+00:00 August 28th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2018|Tags: |

On April 7, 2018, 17 people seated around a large table at the Omni Center in Fayetteville Arkansas exchanged ideas, options and information about ways to successfully remove threats to our rivers and their watersheds. Two additional participants communicated with the group via the Internet. Goals included finding common ground as we strive toward success, and ways to promote effective communication among different organizations. This luncheon meeting was in conjunction with the Public Meeting, What’s Next for our Buffalo River, held at Mt. Sequoyah in Fayetteville on the evening of the same day. For additional information on this evening event please see: http://buffaloriveralliance.org/event-2865333 Individuals and Organizations included: ·    Terry Spense* of Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) ·     Ozark River Stewards ·    Buffalo River Watershed Alliance ·      Mulberry River Society ·     Rita Grifflin,* Mayor of Harman Arkansas ·     Kings River Watershed Partnership ·     The Ozark Society ·    The OMNI Center ·     White River Waterkeeper ·     NW Arkansas Worker Justice organization ·     Animal Legal Defense Fund ·     Peter Lehner,* attorney for Earthjustice ·     Kelly Hunter Foster* of Waterkeeper Alliance's (Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign) ·     Center for Biological Diversity ·     Friends of the North Fork and White River * Note: These folks served on the panel or spoke at the evening [...]

28 08, 2018

The Trouble with Mussels

By | 2018-08-28T14:56:25+00:00 August 28th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2018|Tags: |

Everyone who has ever floated the Buffalo River is familiar with freshwater mussels. Their shells litter the gravel bars and living mussels can be seen embedded in the rocks in riffles. Although most of us enjoying the Ozark out of doors think of these “river clams” as peripheral to our activities, the lowly mussel has played an inordinate role in our local economic history. This little creature has had a strong influence on industry as well as ecological management in Arkansas, serving as both an economic resource and an ecological management problem. The industry part is nicely summarized in an article in the March-April 2017 issue of Arkansas Wildlife. It all started with a late 1800’s pearl rush after the discovery of valuable pearls in White River mussels. In the meantime, Arkansas mussel shells were found to be a valuable source of mother-of-pearl goods in the manufacture of buttons. New cutting techniques and President Harrison’s protective tariff bill spawned a surge in button manufacturing based on blanks cut from White River mussels. The industry lagged during the depression, but then surged again when buttons had to replace zippers during WWII metal rationing. After that, the Japanese cultured pearl industry found that [...]

28 08, 2018

High-Pointing the States: Part Two

By | 2018-08-28T14:56:35+00:00 August 28th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2018|Tags: |

Here is another installment of the adventures I’ve had trying to conquer the highest point in each state of the US. Last time I started showing you the highest points in the states that border Arkansas. This time we will finish the list with Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. A very diverse set of peaks. Ok, two of them are hills! Texas Like Oklahoma's highest point, Texas' high point is way out west in the Guadeloupe National Park, south of Carlsbad New Mexico. Guadeloupe Peak (8751 feet) is on the end of a long ridge running out of New Mexico south into west Texas. Around the ridge is the high plains desert. This is real “Old West” country, mesquite, cacti, hot and dry. The park is on US 62 about 25 miles south of Carlsbad Cavern. The hike up the peak is a moderate day hike on well-worn trail. In fact, you can ride a horse to a corral to near the top if its sure footed. I did this day hike as part of a trip to explore the park on September 29, 2008. My good friend, Gary Alexander did the hike with me and it became the 8th high point [...]