1 03, 2024

Tales From the Trail: Arkansas History and the Athens-Big Fork Part 1

By |2024-03-01T15:10:35-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Perry Hill, Bayou Chapter Ozark Society The Athens-Big Fork (ABF) Trail lies within the Ouachita National Forest. The south trailhead is a few miles north of the community of Athens and a few miles east of Shady Lake Campground, while the north trailhead is off Hwy 8, just a little south of Big Fork. My first introduction to the ABF was in 1990, when I joined a few others on an annual trail maintenance outing. It was one of my first forays into outdoor adventure. (Being a ‘greenhorn’, the cold November temps and strong wind atop Brush Heap Mountain impressed upon me an urgent need to learn about layering my clothes.) During the outing, a comment was made to me that would prove to be the impetus for a different kind of exploration of the ABF a number of years later. I was told that the Post Office had used the trail for mail delivery over a hundred years earlier, and that the Bayou Chapter had “built” part of the trail. That claim was a bit confusing, since it seemed illogical there could have been postal service a hundred or more years ago on a trail had been [...]

1 03, 2024

50 Ideas to Save Energy and Dollars

By |2024-03-05T11:03:32-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Orlo Stitt, Holistically Green Living Change bulbs and tubes to LEDTurn off lights.Teach your children and spouse to turn off lights.Ask your employer to turn off the lights.Install a low-flow shower head.Take showers instead of baths.Take shorter showers.Walk places—instead of driving.Ride a bike to where you want to go.Have your home H.E.R.S. Tested by a Certified RaterMake improvements based on H.E.R.S. rating results.Add weather stripping—around doors and windows.Caulk/foam air leaks—around pipes, wires, and cracks.Add insulation to your ceiling and walls.Replace your water heater—gas or electric--with a heat pump water heater.Replace your stove with an induction unit—you will really like it!Plant trees—coniferous to the north and west.Plant trees—deciduous to the south and east.Mow less grass—mowing takes gas.Or buy an electric mower and weed-eater and charge it with sunshine.Replace lawn with drought-tolerant Xeriscaping.Sell or trade the “ole gas guzzler” car.Drive a hybrid car, a plug-in hybrid, or an all-electric car (check for tax credits).Buy a pre-owned plug-in car—take a $4000 tax credit.Buy a new EV—made in the USA—and take a $7,500 tax credit.Ride the bus or commute by train.Plant a vegetable garden and orchard—harvest the veggies and fruit.Turn your thermostat down in winter—put on a sweater, blanket, shawl, or jacket.Add ceiling [...]

1 03, 2024

Annual Spring Meeting –May 18-19 in Springfield MO

By |2024-03-01T14:55:03-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Jennifer Ailor and Barbara Lucks, OS Schoolcraft Chapter Our annual spring meeting will be hosted by our Schoolcraft Chapter, and will be unlike any Ozark Society gathering you’ve attended in the past.  It will be May 18th-19th, and all Ozark Society chapters and members are invited. Saturday’s events will take place at the Darr Agricultural Center at Missouri State.   The board meeting will be in the morning, with an option for non-board members to attend a native plant sale.  There will be a catered lunch exclusive to Ozark Society members (see Eventbrite link to reserve).   In the afternoon, nationally known sustainability and conservation author Doug Tallamy will present “A Conversation with Doug Tallamy.” In addition, Springfield Environmental Services will present its yard ethic program. Post-meeting, there’s more: two campsites highlighting spectacular member properties, landscapes and conservation best practices; a potluck in a barn with musical entertainment and maybe even some dancing; a possible reappearance of Henry Schoolcraft himself; and the option of a tour Sunday afternoon of Tumbling Creek Cave and Ozark Underground Laboratory where they study groundwater and land use.  For the Cave tours, once again we’ll be asking for a head count. Be sure to get [...]

1 03, 2024

Coal Mining Threat in the Ouachita National Forest

By |2024-03-01T14:53:13-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By David Peterson, OS Past President I read the December 17, 2023 headline in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, “U.S. Forest Service prepping impact statement for coal mine in Arkansas,” in partial disbelief.  Ouro Mining Company in Fort Smith planned to mine 3.5 million tons of coal per year for 20 years, half from under the Ouachita National Forest (ONF) and half from old private leases in adjacent Oklahoma.   Is this possible in a world which just passed the 1.5 C target for global warming?                                         In order to have standing in the ensuing permitting process the Ozark Society had until January 25, 2024 to submit comments. Miners in Paris, AR, 1930’s.  Ray Hanley, AR Dem/Gaz History: Coal mining in the western part of the Arkansas River Valley dates back to 1818, but the peak production year was 1909, followed by an erratic, long term downward production slide until the last mine closed in 2017.  The mines were never very productive due to coal seams as narrow as two feet.  Mining was extremely hazardous (in the 1930’s, 14 miners died [...]

7 12, 2023

The Ozark Society Endowment Fund

By |2023-12-07T14:39:52-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President     I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty careful with my charitable contributions.  Sometimes I really like the organization, but I’m not sure I trust their board.   Are they spending in a responsible way?     That is one reason why I like The Ozark Society Endowment, managed by The Arkansas Community Foundation.   The money I contribute, adds to principal that is not accessible to the board, but instead throws off efficient annual income in perpetuity.   For a non-profit like The Ozark Society, it is truly the gift that keeps on giving.     In addition, not only can I make a cash contribution, I can give them those decades old shares of Wal-Mart that I’m hesitant to sell due to the horrendous capital gains, allowing the full value to support The Ozark Society’s mission, while providing me with a sizeable tax deduction.   You can do this with real estate as well.   And don’t forget you can donate from required minimum distributions allowing you to avoid those taxes.   Finally, if you are interested in a gift to the Ozark Society from your estate, the good [...]

7 12, 2023

Clobbering Clabber

By |2023-12-07T14:35:48-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Steve Heye, OS Pulaski Chapter Outings Chair     It's the only major rapid on the lower section of the Buffalo National River. Located just downstream from the Ghost Town of Rush, Clabber Creek shoals is a quarter-mile of pure excitement when the water is up. It can be a fantastic ride or it can be the bane of a paddler that doesn't know what makes it so much fun.     Located on the top of the "Duck Head", Clabber Creek enters the Buffalo on the left bank where the river makes a hard right to drop down a series of rock shelves. The creek has created conditions that made the river stay right, and overtime, erode the rock ledges of the right bank into a stoney field of pits, ridges and holes. The result is a series of standing "hay stacks" on the right third of the river. The safe way through is always to stay far left. Should an open boat get caught on the right half of the Buffalo in this section, the hay stacks become a real danger.  In 2017, on an Ozark Society week long float, Gary Alexander and I got sucked [...]

7 12, 2023

Are You Taking Advantage of Efficiency Incentives?

By |2023-12-07T14:30:59-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Jennifer Ailor, OS Climate Change Committee Chair      One of the most effective ways for a homeowner to mitigate climate change is through energy efficiency. Efficiency is another form of “fuel” that electric utilities often count because it replaces the coal, gas, oil, etc. that otherwise would have been used to generate electricity for inefficient appliances and equipment.     Utilities often offer rebates and other incentives for customers to purchase more efficient appliances and equipment. States sometimes offer incentives as well. Finally, the federal government further sweetens the impact of efficiency by offering tax credits. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 modified (for the better) federal residential energy-efficiency tax credits through Dec. 31, 2032.They apply to energy-efficiency improvements in primary residences owned and lived in by the taxpayer (that’s you). The credits apply to all kinds of appliances and equipment, including heating, cooling and water heating equipment.     Before 2023, the maximum tax credit for all efficiency improvements was $500.  Now, that lifetime limit per taxpayer has been replaced by an annual limit of $1,200. That’s a huge incentive to invest in energy efficiency in your home. The tax credit is now 30 percent of [...]

7 12, 2023

Lessons from the Earth’s Largest Living Organism

By |2023-12-07T14:27:04-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair We regularly see in newspapers and magazines a general interest filler piece featuring the world’s largest single organism named Pando.  It lives in the mountains of Utah and consists of a giant aspen grove connected by a network of underground roots: covering 106 acres, weighing an estimated 13 million pounds, and consisting of 40,000 individual trees.  Pando is always photographed from the air above as the only practical way of giving a sense of its sheer size.  Here I am reminded of the description of Hinduism as a faith that features thousands of different deities all of whom are the same god.  In Pando, each individual tree has its own avatar, but they are all part of the same biological entity.  The concept of entire groves of trees and shrubs that are separate yet the same – and otherwise genetically identical – is a theme that is repeatedly invoked in the science of forest ecology.  There are many specific examples we can cite in the Ozarks.  But the connection between stands of trees expanding by stems sprouting at a distance from their roots has been an important part of my own personal studies [...]

7 12, 2023

David Eddy – Our 3rd Sassafras Hiking Award Winner

By |2023-12-07T14:22:19-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President David Eddy and Dixie, both 700-milers     David Eddy, an attorney from Russellville, is our third recipient of the Ozark Society Sassafras Hiking Award.   To qualify for this award, you must have hiked the lengths of The Ozark Highland’s Trail, The Ouachita Trail, the Buffalo River Trail, and the Ozark Trail in Missouri, for a distance exceeding 700 miles.     David grew up in Morrilton, hunting deer and turkey in the Arkansas woods.  “As Thoreau once mused, one finds that hunting and fishing are simply a good introduction to the forest and there is much more to be discovered.”   He’s floated almost all of the mountain streams of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, having bought his first canoe (an Ouachita) in 1974, which he wrapped around a tree on a swollen Mulberry River in 1975. He still has his Old Town Tripper he bought from the Pack Rat in Fayetteville in 1979. David has section-hiked the Ozark Highland Trail several times, as well as the Ouachita Trail. In fact, hiking the Ouachita Trail each late winter to early spring has almost become an annual ritual. He enjoys [...]

7 12, 2023

2023-2024 Youth Grants

By |2023-12-07T14:18:35-06:00December 7th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2023|Tags: |

By Roslyn Imrie, OS Youth Grants Chair     The Ozark Society is proud to announce another grant cycle for the Youth Grant. Since 2020, we have granted over $42,000 through 25 different projects. Through this small grant program, the Ozark Society has been empowering the youth of the next generation to actively engage in conservation efforts.     Over the years, we have seen some amazing conservation projects unfold after receiving this funding. The money we have granted to nonprofits and schools in the region has allowed young people to clean up riverways, test water quality, build educational trails, break ground for gardens, construct greenhouses, and much more. Though the program favors projects that have real-world conservation impacts, we also recognize the importance of environmental education, which can change the hearts and minds of a population, making a real impact on the future.     We welcome nonprofits and schools to apply for between $500 and $3,000 in grant funding before February 3rd.  All projects must involve youth (children under age 18) and should focus on conservation or environmental education efforts. Projects are expected to take place in 2024 or before March of 2025. Applicants can apply online [...]


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