3 06, 2024

Some Deeper Thoughts on What Makes an Endangered Species

By |2024-06-03T14:07:34-05:00June 3rd, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair      Recent news items about preservation of endangered species regularly raise questions about exactly what a species is and how it differs from other similar less-threatened relatives.  For example, the eastern red wolf is only maintained under controlled breeding with a very limited wild colony or two – maintained by testing all pups and destroying those with traces of coyote genes.  Now, the New York Times had a piece on the large-scale destruction of a barred owl population in the northwest to save another species.  We all remember the great hullabaloo about saving the spotted owl by preserving the last fragments of that owl’s habitat in old-growth redwood forests.  Now, human habitat manipulation has created a corridor of woodland across the great plains to allow the eastern barred owl to expand its range into Washington and Oregon.              We remember from biology 101 that two similar species are distinct when they are unable to produce fertile offspring after mating. That can happen through genetic incompatibility, or just because they live on separate continents.  Spotted and barred owls look a bit different (spots versus bars), but only range [...]

1 03, 2024

Ouachita National Forest Mine Permit Denied

By |2024-03-05T11:13:09-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Carolyn Shearman, OS Communications Chair In January of 2023 the Pulaski Chapter of the Ozark Society was made aware of a proposed 32-acre Crystal Quartz mine being planned in the Ouachita National Forest within the Lake Winona watershed.  Lake Winona is one of the 2 main drinking water sources for Central Arkansas Water (CAW) in the greater Little Rock area and serves about 100,000 of their 500,000 customers. Pulaski Chapter received a draft of the US Forest Service’s Environmental Assessment (EA) on January 22, 2023 that tentatively approved the project pending a 30-day Public Comment period.  We, like Central Arkansas Water, strongly opposed the project and felt that several issues in the proposal presented a significant risk to water quality and the habitat of the area and we chose to comment on our concerns. Following that comment period the US Forest Service attempted to modify the proposal so that the risks were mitigated and in July of 2023 resubmitted a revised EA for only CAW and the Ozark Society to comment on since we were the original objectors.  Again, both organizations found significant risks remaining in the proposal and resubmitted comments stating our issues.  CAW staff even sent [...]

1 03, 2024

Sassafras Hiking Award Winner Katie Ellsworth

By |2024-03-01T15:21:36-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Stewart Noland, OS Archive Chair The fourth Sassafras Hiking Award recipient is Katherine (Katie) Ellsworth of Bentonville.  Katie moved from Alaska to Bentonville in October 2022, and hiked all four Sassafras Hiking Award trails since then – an impressive feat. Katie began hiking as a teenager, and has maintained an interest in hiking since then.  She has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and a portion of the Continental Divide Trail.  Katy likes to hike with new hikers, and discuss with them what gear and pace works for them.  She is open to different ways of doing things on the trail, sharing what she knows, and learning from others.  Her experiences on the trail have led her to believe if you need something, the trail will provide. Katie’s most scary trail experiences have involved river crossings, having once lost all of her gear on an Eagle River Trail river crossing in Alaska.  Katie’s trail advice is to know your boundaries, but do not give up too soon. Katie’s best trail is the Pacific Crest Trail, with its incredible scenery.  Her favorite Sassafras Hiking Award trail is the Ozark Trail, where she saw numerous wildlife and enjoyed [...]

1 03, 2024

What Can You Say to Climate Deniers?

By |2024-03-01T15:18:06-06:00March 1st, 2024|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Spring 2024|Tags: |

By Fred Paillet, OS Education Chair One of the most often cited facts by climate deniers is the known history of climate fluctuation in the recent geologic record.  The idea is that we know climate fluctuates naturally, so that changes in weather patterns need not be related to any man-made condition. When those of my generation were educated about climate the idea that vast ice sheets once covered northern states was already established. The cause of those past conditions was a mysterious natural part of the earth’s climate system.  Any human-induced climate effects would surely pale in comparison with these much more dramatic and well-documented changes. In fact, we should really appreciate the divine blessing of fossil fuels.  They ensure our comfortable survival when climate turns colder.  They provide for air conditioning and irrigation when things get hotter.  Global warming is just a distraction created by liberals to cripple the energy industry in its effort to insulate us from inevitable natural climate variation. Those much-hyped feedback effects are just so much hypothetical malarky. Sixty years after I graduated from high school, the cause of ice age climate is much better understood.  The real lesson from that understanding is how [...]

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 [...]


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