Pack & Paddle

5 03, 2019

In Memoriam – Randy Ego

By | 2019-06-03T12:10:57-05:00 March 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 | 2019-06-03T12:09:04-05:00 December 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 | 2019-06-03T12:09:10-05:00 December 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 [...]

10 12, 2018

Beers/Brews: Save the Buffalo

By | 2019-06-03T12:09:20-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|

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 | 2019-06-03T12:09:37-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|

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 [...]

10 12, 2018

High-Pointing the States: Part Four – The Southeast Corner

By | 2019-06-03T12:09:44-05:00 December 10th, 2018|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2018|

This is the fourth in a series of my adventure to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points as I can. This time it's the southeast corner of the US: Florida, Alabama and Georgia. I did this trip a few days before my 40th High School reunion in Franklin, Tennessee, in October of 2014. Florida At only 345 feet, Britton Hill, Florida is the lowest high point in the country. The hill is located just off US Hwy. 331 near Florala, Alabama. It also tops the highest point in the peninsula, Sugar Loaf, by 33 feet. I started my trip early on October 22nd, hoping to get from Little Rock to the high point before dark. I went down to Hattiesburg, Mississippi and then went east toward Montgomery and then south on Hwy. 331. I took this route to see this area for the first time. I reached Florala just before dusk. Florala is a resort and retirement area about 90 minutes north of Panama City, that has a small lake and an Alabama State Park. I took a city street east out of town to a county road that would take me the 5 miles or so [...]

7 09, 2018

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

By | 2018-12-10T14:32:54-05:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|

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 | 2018-12-10T14:33:27-05:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|

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 | 2018-12-10T14:33:37-05:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|

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 | 2018-12-10T14:33:48-05:00 September 7th, 2018|Categories: Fall 2018, Pack & Paddle|

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