Pack & Paddle

3 06, 2019

What Will Global Warming Look Like in the Ozarks?

By |2019-07-23T14:16:39-05:00June 3rd, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2019|

Global change will affect the Buffalo River and the surrounding ecosystem along with the rest of the world, but do we have to worry about that in our lifetime? The experts are quoting a temperature increase of a few degrees. How big a deal could that be? After all, we see daily temperature changes of several tens of degrees. Maybe we would hardly notice a degree or two difference. Can we even expect to recognize that difference against the background of daily fluctuations? On the other hand, we know that greenhouse gasses have a major effect on how the planet absorbs heat, and that there has been a 40% increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That sounds like a big change. Are we going to see a real impact on the Buffalo River in the coming decade? Let’s start with a couple of firmly established facts. First, it is obvious that the globe heats mostly at the equator and that the heat then moves down the temperature gradient towards the poles. That heat transfer occurs by turbulent mixing - a fancy way of saying that heat exchange occurs in the form of exchanging parcels of warm and cold air. [...]

3 06, 2019

Ozark Forest Forensics by Frederick Paillet and Steven Stephenson

By |2019-08-12T11:01:07-05:00June 3rd, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2019|

The Ozark Society Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of Ozark Forest Forensics: The Science Behind the Scenery in Our Regional Forests by Fred 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. Paperback; 342 pages; ISBN: 978-0-912456-28-7. $24.95 FRED PAILLET is adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas, where he conducts research and supervises student projects related to geophysics, hydrology and paleoecology. He earned his PhD from the University of Rochester in New York. STEVE STEPHENSON is a research professor at the University of Arkansas, where he teaches courses in plant biology, forest ecology and plant ecology. Stephenson earned his [...]

3 06, 2019

The Ozark Studies Association

By |2019-07-23T14:18:25-05:00June 3rd, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2019|

The nascent Ozark Studies Association held its first conference at the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, AR, on May 17, 2019. The theme for the daylong conference was “Histories of the Buffalo National River.” Presenters covered Buffalo River and Ozarks region topics pertaining to geology and early cultures, the Civil War, historic cemeteries, the New Deal and dam-building in the Ozarks, the painter Thomas Hart Benton, small farms in the Buffalo watershed, cultural resource threats in the Buffalo National River, and controlling the fate of rivers in the Ozarks. Ozark Society President David Peterson gave a talk that included an overview of the formation of the Society and a description of several of the major environmental issues that OS has been involved in during its existence, including the current hog farm debate. Other presenters were Dr. Rebecca Howard, Lone Star College; Abby Burnett, independent historian; Dr. Black Perkins, Williams Baptist University; Steve Sitton, Thomas Hart Benton Home State Historic Park; Dr. Jared Phillips, University of Arkansas; Dr. Caven Clark, independent contractor (retired from Buffalo National River, National Park Service); and Dr. Brooks Blevins, Missouri State University. The Ozark Society Highlands Chapter pitched in to provide lunch for the [...]

6 03, 2019

Orphea’s Fence

By |2019-06-03T12:08:36-05:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

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 |2019-06-03T12:08:42-05:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

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 |2019-06-03T12:08:48-05:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

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 |2019-06-03T12:08:56-05:00March 6th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

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 [...]

5 03, 2019

In Memoriam – Randy Ego

By |2019-06-03T12:10:57-05:00March 5th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2019|

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

10 12, 2018

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

By |2019-06-03T12:09:04-05:00December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|

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 |2019-06-03T12:09:10-05:00December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|

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 [...]