Winter 2019

12 12, 2019

Tom McClure Promotes Wilderness Ethics at the Fall Meeting

By |2019-12-12T12:24:11-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

Tom McClure gave a rousing keynote address on the value of wilderness at the fall meeting of the Ozark Society at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Tom, a native of Gurdon who now lives in Rogers, has been involved in preservation issues around the country for most of his life. He traced the wilderness ethic through Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, and others with pithy statements and observations and then brought the issue back to Arkansas. Most of the current wilderness areas in Arkansas (about 1% of the area) were established in the early 1980’s with one recent 640-acre addition last year at Flatside. But there may be as many possible wilderness areas that might have qualified for inclusion but were deleted for various reasons in the ultimate legislative actions. A good example is the Blue Hole, a special interest area on Hurricane Creek. Hurricane Creek is in the watershed just south of East Fork Wilderness, some 15 miles north of I-40 near Hector. It is protected by the steep sides of White Oak Mountain and a narrow canyon where it joins the East Fork of Illinois Bayou. Blue Hole is a swimmable pool just below two wonderful 10-foot waterfalls. It has a [...]

12 12, 2019

Compton Day Celebration – August 10th

By |2019-12-12T12:23:45-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

Compton Gardens in Bentonville was the setting once again, on August 10 this year, for what has become an annual public event, since 2012, to commemorate the August 1 birthday of Dr. Neil Compton, founder of the Ozark Society. This year an invitation-only breakfast for 90 people from the Compton family and close friends, Compton Gardens board members and supporters, and Ozark Society officers was followed by the opening of exhibits on the grounds of Compton Gardens. Some 25 local environmental groups, museums, and vendors had displays and goods for sale in conjunction with Arkansas and the Ozarks outdoors. Nearly 15 volunteers staffed the Ozark Society’s three tables throughout the morning, and Fred Paillet, Steve Stephenson, and Ken Smith were on hand to sign their books. Compton Gardens provided birthday cake and ice cream for the several hundred pedestrians who moseyed on through after stopping at the Saturday Bentonville Farmers’ Market nearby. One highlight of the morning was the dedication of a new neon entrance sign to Compton Gardens, with remarks offered by the artist, Todd Sanders. Many members of Dr. Compton’s family and close friends were able to attend the dedication, including Dr. Compton’s two daughters, Ellen and Edra, [...]

12 12, 2019

High Pointing Part 8

By |2019-12-12T12:23:23-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

This is the eighth in a series of my adventure to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points. Last time we looked at the odds and ends of high points I picked up as I went by. This time it's a trip I took in September of 2018 to visit 7 New England states: Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and Maine. This was a very aggressive schedule, trying to get all 7 of these states in one 12 -day trip. The number of hikes that would require all day walking, the driving, scheduled stopping spots and weather all pushed me on this journey. It all started on Saturday September 22, 2018 when I flew to Providence, Rhode Island. Rhode Island This was my first time in Rhode Island. I would explore it more when I came back to fly home. I left my hotel and drove about an hour to the west center of this small state. Just off Rhode Island Hwy. 101, near Foster is Jerimoth Hill, 810 feet above sea level. You park at a sign on the roadside and walk about a quarter mile to the marker in a patch [...]

12 12, 2019

John Muir Trail Outing, High Sierras

By |2019-12-12T12:27:11-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

Steve Heye is organizing a multi-day backpack trip along the John Muir Trail in the California Sierras the Summer of 2020. The hike will be from the Onion Valley campground to the Whitney Portal, around 45 miles. The trip is currently in the planning stages and will require input from all those wishing to go. Because this area is high demand wilderness, we must apply for a permit to hike this trail. This is done by lottery and so dates of the trip will be dependent on a permit being issued to us. We will begin applying daily in January for permits issued for July dates and continue applying until we obtain a permit. We should know by April first if we have a permit and what the dates will be. The hike itself will probably be seven days/six nights with a day hike to the top of Mt. Whitney at 14,500 feet. The hike has several wilderness restrictions. Most of the hike is at an altitude of 9000 to 10,000 feet. Other restrictions deal with food containers, human waste, the size of the group, campsites and campfires. There has been early interest shown, so if you would like to [...]

12 12, 2019

In Celebration of the Farkleberry: Our Wild Ozark Blueberry

By |2019-12-12T12:22:41-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

Before there was Saturday Night Live there were the Farkleberry Follies. Founded in 1967, this performance convened every other year was a time when a collection of Arkansas journalists conducted skits to spoof state politics in general, and Governor Orval Faubus in particular. In a recent editorial, Rex Nelson reported that the main objective of the show was to “skewer the inflated egos of the political class.” The show got its name from an editorial by local cartoonist George Fisher who poked fun at the governor over a folksy meeting where Faubus had lectured a brush-clearing highway crew about the native species of shrubs in our region. One of the most obscure of these was the tree blueberry or farkleberry (Vaccinium arboretum) with its amusing name. There is a direct Ozark Society connection here because the family of current Ozark Society President, David Peterson, received one of the prized farkleberry awards bestowed from the hands of Dale Bumpers some 30 years ago on behalf of a folk music group founded by Fisher in Pulaski County. The shrub itself is especially common in the Ozarks and Ouachitas where it is found growing on the edges of cliffs and around rock ledges. [...]

12 12, 2019

C & H Hog Farm and CAFO Moratorium in the Buffalo River Watershed

By |2019-12-12T12:22:22-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Pack & Paddle, Winter 2019|Tags: |

The last piglet at C&H was weened a couple of weeks ago and all hogs are due to be gone by January 2020. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will then proceed with the closure and remediation of the waste lagoons. The next step, making the temporary moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s permanent, was put on hold at the October 25, 2019 meeting of the Arkansas Pollution, Control & Ecology Commission (APC&E) when they unexpectedly voted to extend the comment period 90 days. The reason for the extension was the publication of the Big Creek Research and Extension Team's (BCRET) final report. The new deadline is now January 22, 2020. Although the initial 400 positive comments (out of 402) will be counted this time, we ask that Ozark Society members add additional comments in support of the DEQ rule change. Electronic submission: http://water.adeq.commentinput.com/?id=6pAef. The 300+ page BCRET report, available at the BCRET website, is highly technical but with readable summaries. While opponents of the moratorium will latch onto the phrase that C&H has had a “limited impact” on the Buffalo River, there is strong evidence that the Big Creek watershed has been contaminated with excess nutrients. This includes [...]