6 09, 2023

Water Quality in Arkansas

By |2023-09-07T10:57:30-05:00September 6th, 2023|Categories: Fall 2023, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President For those of you who live in Arkansas, you have likely received the occasional e-mail from me asking that you comment on an ADEQ permit for the land application of industrial waste.  I want to take this opportunity to provide some background. Seventeen years ago, the Oklahoma State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the NW Arkansas’ poultry industry, as chicken litter from local farms was beginning to impact the Illinois Scenic River, a beautiful stream that begins in Arkansas and flows into Oklahoma.  In response, the Arkansas Legislature designated the counties along the NW Arkansas border, a Nutrient Surplus Area, the intent being to reduce phosphorus levels and improve water quality.    As a result, poultry farmers began exporting their chicken litter to the north and west to be applied to row-crops where the manure is actually beneficial.  In addition, the Arkansas Division of Agriculture has begun experimenting with anaerobic digesters as another means for managing litter.  Finally, NW Arkansas municipal waste treatment plants have adopted some of the most stringent (and most expensive) phosphorus reduction targets in the country.  These combined efforts have made a difference.  The water quality in the Illinois [...]

6 09, 2023

Who Is Jim Furnish?

By |2023-09-06T11:37:05-05:00September 6th, 2023|Categories: Fall 2023, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Tom McClure, OS Conservation Co-Chair   We are fortunate and very excited to have Jim Furnish join us at the Ozark Society’s Fall meeting as our guest speaker.   Jim will be speaking between 3 and 4 pm on Saturday afternoon, October 28, 2023, at Tyler Bend Campground on the Buffalo National River. Jim had a 34-year career in the U.S. Forest Service and is the author of “Toward a Natural Forest: The Forest Service in Transition (A Memoir).” He served as the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service from 1999-2002, and spent several years as the Supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon in the 1990s. Jim was an important player in the protection of old-growth forests in Oregon during the spotted owl/clearcutting debates of the 1980s and 1990s.  He was also instrumental in initiating the Forest Service’s “2001 Roadless Rule”, which establishes prohibitions on road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on 58 million acres of inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System lands.  The intent of the 2001 Roadless Rule is to provide lasting protection for inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System in the context of multiple use management. For all who [...]

6 09, 2023

OS Fall General Meeting

By |2023-09-07T10:58:03-05:00September 6th, 2023|Categories: Fall 2023, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Stewart Noland, OS Archive Chair The Ozark Society Fall meeting will be held at Tyler Bend on the Buffalo River, October 28-29.  Group campsite 2 and the pavilion have been reserved for our activities.  Following is the schedule of activities. October 28th Schedule: 10am. Meet at the pavilion for a hike 10am - 1pm. Ozark Society Board meeting at the pavilion 2pm - 4pm. General membership meeting at the pavilion.  Bring your camp chair.  Talk by Jim Furnish. 6pm - 8pm.  Potluck supper and entertainment at the pavilion.  Bring a dish, beverage, and your own utensils for the potluck.  Ozark Society member Dave Smith will provide the entertainment with mountain music only Dave can perform. October 29th Schedule: 9am. Meet at the pavilion for a hike or float trip (water level dependent) Group campsite 2 has been reserved for October 28 for campers.  Other sites are available at Tyler Bend by reserving them through recreation.gov.  Cabin rentals are available nearby through Buffalo River Outfitters, or options in Gilbert.  The cost to attend the meeting is $5 per family, regardless of the number of family members.

6 09, 2023

End of Year Planning and Giving

By |2023-09-07T10:58:28-05:00September 6th, 2023|Categories: Fall 2023, Pack & Paddle|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President Year-end planning and giving ideas: In addition to our ongoing conservation work, The Ozark Society has enjoyed other recent notable achievements. Consider our Youth Grants program, designed to provide environmental education for the next generation. The “First River” documentary has also been a resounding success and has appeared several times on Arkansas Public Television. Our Sassafras Hiking Award is challenging Arkansans to get out and enjoy our exceptional trails. And let’s not overlook recent publications such as “Letters to Dan,” and “Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Arkansas.” As these programs require funding, we hope you will consider The Ozark Society in your end of year planning. Donations to The Ozark society can be directed to any of the following spending categories: Conservation, Legal, Youth Grants, or Endowment Fund. Here is the link: www.ozarksociety.net/donations/ Or you can also add a donation while you renew your membership for 2024: www.ozarksociety.net/membership/ Below are some additional giving strategies that can save you tax dollars. Tax free giving from RMDs. If you are subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401k, any charitable contribution from those funds is not taxed as income to you. [...]

24 05, 2023

The National Forest Decisions – You Can Make a Difference

By |2023-05-24T15:41:03-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2022|Tags: |

By Tom McClure, OS Conservation Co-chair       We have all inherited 2.6 million acres of national forest land here in Arkansas. That’s 7.6% of the land area of the entire state, which is 34 million acres.  These lands are a treasure, impacting our lives in so many positive ways.  For a good portion of us, these wonderful places are firmly tied to our sense of well-being, and our hopes and dreams for the future.  We want the “The Natural State” to live up to its motto over the long term.   We know and appreciate what the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests have meant to us in our lifetimes, and we want them to be here, in good shape, for generations to come.          These lands house much of the state’s biological diversity.  Our native plants and animals dwell here, in a variety of habitats.  Some of these species are rare and need special attention from us to help assure their survival into the future.  These forests maintain elaborate ecosystems that we are still trying to understand.  They provide a place to learn about nature and a place to learn about our relationship with [...]

24 05, 2023


By |2023-05-30T12:51:09-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Alice Andrews, OS Conservation Co- Chair I am inspired and excited to report on environmental concept, referred to as “Personhood”. To quote Claire Parish’s article in The Varsity (University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper), “Rivers aren’t people…but what if we acted like they were?” What makes a person? For example, is it possible for something inanimate to be a person? Environmental personhood clarifies that environmental beings have intrinsic worth, that they have value beyond just their impact on humanity. It is not that people have a right to clean air, but that the air has a right to be clean. The legal concept is both very new and very old, and is rapidly gaining ground around the world: Ecuador, Colombia, India, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Canada, Switzerland, Colorado and a few other states in the U.S. Colorado’s Uncompahgre River has a legal Personhood Resolution, flowing with legal rights through several towns without the potential worries of being polluted or dammed. The legal challenges can be and are difficult but the above-named countries have had great successes. Environmental personhood can be traced to a 1972 paper by Professor Christopher D. Stone, titled “Should trees have standing?” Stone proposed that environmental beings like [...]

24 05, 2023

Zombies in the Ozarks

By |2023-05-24T15:31:21-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair You read that right – there are a few zombies on the loose in the Ozarks. By zombies we mean functionally dead creatures with their nervous systems taken over by alien life forms and programmed to do the bidding of those new masters. In high school biology you may remember hearing about one of nature’s ecological cruelties in the form of wasps that parasitize caterpillars. The female wasps do this by stinging the caterpillar to paralyze the bug, and then depositing eggs injected into the still living body. The wasp larvae then mature by eating the living flesh of their helpless victim. The process of ecological success through such a parasitic process has reached its ultimate form in the zombie ant fungus of the genus Ophiocordyceps. This fungus disseminates spores that infect ants but not to simply digest them. The fungus first takes over the ant’s nervous system to program the ant zombie to become the ideal fruiting body for the dissemination of spores. The ant is programmed to climb to the highest point it can manage so that the spores eventually produced can be exposed to the wind to ensure that they [...]

24 05, 2023

Climate Change Part 1: What Can a Person Do?

By |2023-05-24T15:25:31-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Laura Timby, Climate Change Committee It’s on the news everywhere, all the time. Dire predictions regarding the results of Climate Change also referred to as Global Warming. Not everyone agrees on whether its real or some made up scare tactic, but the general consensus of the Scientific Community is that it is real and happening, regardless of what it is called. Rarely a day passes without some news report of increasingly devastating storm events. Whether it is an unimaginably fierce hurricane or tornado, catastrophic flooding, frequent devastating earthquakes, deadly droughts, new records snowfalls, or soaring temperatures that threaten all life on earth, as we know it, it appears to be occurring with increased frequency. Disturbing? Frightening? Yes indeed, and on a scale that makes an individual wonder what they can possibly do to stop or slow the progression of this trend? Margaret Mead was a well-known American cultural anthropologist in the 60’s and 70’s. One of her more publicized quotes goes like this: “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has." Wow! What a powerful and intriguing message. It gives me goose bumps! Very [...]

24 05, 2023

In Memoriam: Wellborn Jack Jr.

By |2023-05-24T15:21:10-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Carolyn Shearman and The Shreveport Times Wellborn Jack Jr. passed away April 4, 2023. He was born in Shreveport on July 23, 1936. He attended Barrett Elementary, Broadmoor Jr. High and Byrd High School. He graduated from LSU and LSU Law School where he was named Editor in Chief of the Law Review. He began the practice of law with his father in Shreveport in 1963. Wellborn had a brilliant mind and a passion for the law. He had an unparalleled commitment to his clients. He was included in “The Best Trial Lawyers of America” collection. Of all the cases he tried in his over 50 years as a trial attorney, two of them especially stood out. He was the first in the country to obtain, in a violent case, a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict based upon PTSD from the Vietnam War. He also defended a member of Earth First in an environmental conspiracy case in AZ. Wellborn was a life-long environmentalist. He was instrumental in creating the Caney Creek Wilderness Area, the first designated wilderness area in AR. He obtained a temporary restraining order to stop the dam ultimately built on the Cossatot River. [...]

24 05, 2023

Legislative Update: House Bill 1706 – To transfer the authority related to liquid animal waste management systems

By |2023-05-24T15:17:32-05:00May 24th, 2023|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Summer 2023|Tags: |

By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President This recently approved legislation is about moving the permitting of hog farms from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC). Back in 2019, there was similar legislation introduced as a result of the C&H Hog Farms controversy. ANRC is a farmer friendly agency established in dustbowl days to assist farmers with the conservation of topsoil. They serve an important purpose, but they are more aligned with farmer’s interests than evaluating permits or conducting enforcement. The goal was to have ANRC rewrite the regulations to be more favorable to hog farms, possibly in a way that would protect C&H. That early legislation fell apart when EPA expressed an unwelcome interest. This year, HB1706 was introduced with the same purpose as the failed 2019 bill, in that it would move permitting from ADEQ to ANRC. The new bill was sponsored by DeAnn Vaught of District 87 (Horatio). Representative Vaught, a senior house member serving on several committees, also raises hogs as part of her farming operation. Surprisingly, the Governor’s Office did not support Vaught’s bill, primarily because ANRC would be required to hire their own legal, geological, and [...]


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