City Lake Park of Siloam Springs Sneak Peek

From Adventure Arkansas Series posted on April 27, 2017


Siloam Springs City Council approved the proposal of a new multipurpose park and Ozark Off-Road Cyclists is overseeing the project giving us a first look at the unique destination for not just Siloam Springs, but the Region.

City Lake Park is 165 acres of Adventure in the making.

“What you see behind us is some brand new trail, it’s kind of a sneak peek  as to a new amenity that’s coming to citizens of western Benton Co,” said Pack.

Executive Director of OORC, Brannon Pack is a moving part in this new recreation destination.

“Part of the master plan included new multi-use trails for hikers, bikers, trail runners, dog walkers, bird watchers,” said Pack

David Vansandt’s dream of two decades is finally coming to life as well.

“ It feels like we are being good stewards of our resources we aren’t just letting it sit here, we are creating an opportunity for people to get outside get active and healthy and enjoy what’s created out here,” said Vansandt.

Vansandt’s constant push made the project possible.

“If there had ever been a good answer, we would have quit, but there wasn’t.., we have a lot of buy in from the community and it’s just people who want to see this area used,” said Vansandt.

And he is just as excited as the park supporters…

“I can’t wait to get out here on a bike honestly this will be my home trail, this will be where I come when it’s time to ride,” said Vansandt.

Phil Penny Owner and President of Rogue Trails was approached to help build this outdoor rec center.

“Trail building is an art and you will have a style you will use, everybody has their own and here I’ve been able to express myself,” said Penny.

As a rider himself he knows what riders want in a trail

Glendon Vansandt was the first to hit the trails and test them out.

And Glendon said the hills are a his favorite part.

“There is lots of rollers that you can gain speed at you can jump up on and do tricks, it’s going to be something that you can do tricks, but if you are a beginner you can come out here and just have fun,” said Glendon.

He encourages people who have never Mountain Biked before to go for it!

“Just try it, it’s something that you can do and compete at your whole life,” said Glendon.

So when does the park open?

“We are looking for the trail systems probably a soft open probably later this year sometime around

September and the rest of the amenities when it’s spring of 2018,” said Pack.

And you can get involved too.

“Any volunteer trail advocate or interested citizen to come out and really be a part from the start and actually get to build some of this trail that’s going in here at City Lake Park,” said Pack.

What makes this park so exciting is it's versatility, you can come and fish, have a picnic, bike, hike, run, bring your dogs, look for birds, and some of the trails are handicap accessible; so everyone can enjoy this new establishment within Benton County.

For this week’s Adventure Arkansas, I’m Megan Graddy

Segment Sponsored By: Adventure Subaru


To see the video story click here:


Build, Maintain and Preserve

From the most recent Oz Trails online blog originally published April 18, 2017

Build, Maintain, and Preserve

That is the motto of the Ozark Off Road Cyclists (OORC) – a 20-year-old volunteer powered trail-building organization based in Northwest Arkansas. The club is one of the oldest organizations in the state pioneering the way for Arkansas singletrack. They are proud chapter members of the International Mountain Bike Association and host regular trail building/maintenance volunteer opportunities. We checked in with Executive Director Brannon Pack to learn more about these Wizards of Oz.

How did you get involved with the OORC?

By riding my bike. From my experience, mountain bikers are all good humans and we typically do everything in large groups. Just being around the scene opened my eyes to the amount of volunteerism that went into the hundreds of miles of trails across the Arkansas Ozarks, and OORC's connectivity with the community runs deep. There was this rowdy group of riders that were willing to put down their bikes and pick up the tools necessary to build a better tomorrow for everyone. They were leaving a legacy and I wanted to be a part of it.

How many members does the OORC have?
We've had over 500 individual member contributions in the last year. Additionally, we have four branches of our organization across the OZ Trails and the state of Arkansas including Western Benton County along the Arkansas/Oklahoma border; Carroll County, which is home to the Lake Leatherwood Trail System, Frontier of the Ozarks, which is in the Fort Smith area; and down into Russellville.
What are some of the challenges OORC faces?
Like most nonprofits, engaging volunteers is always at the top of the list. That said, we are definitely moving in a great direction. In December, OORC broke ground on a new multi-use trail at Gregory Park located in Fayetteville, Arkansas just two blocks away from a junior high school and we've already generated over 950 hours of volunteerism towards the project. Additionally, we've rolled out rad "Volunteer Recognition" awards like stickers and custom bar-ends – all designed for our volunteers to be more identifiable in the community. If you see someone rocking an orange OORC "builder" sticker on their helmet or top-tube give them a high-five. These are the members of our community and the Oz Trails that are making a difference.

How often do you host trail building/maintenance volunteer opportunities?
Monthly at minimum, and that's across the five different groups that currently make up our organization. We are now impacting a quarter of the state of Arkansas with our volunteer efforts towards the hundreds of miles of amazing singletrack we have out our backdoor. I say all the time that one of the things that separates the Oz Trails from other mountain bike destinations is "we ride year-round". Literally. There hasn't been a month in the last year I wasn't on a mountain bike. That is due, in part, to the efforts of many trail advocates that volunteered their time to keep the trail systems maintained and ready to shred 12 months a year.
What other events throughout the year can people get involved in?
For starters, there is the annual Buffalo Headwaters Challenge weekend – an event in the middle of winter, in the middle of nowhere, and it’s still the most fun you'll have all year. This past January, OORC hosted the single largest gathering of mountain bikers in the Oz Trails (ever, that we know of). Nearly 500 riders converged on the Upper Buffalo Trail System (an IMBA EPIC) for three days of rowdy good times including live music, food, and some really amazing mountain biking. We like to say it's a weekend spent with 500 of your closest friends.
How does someone get involved with OORC?
We host regular public member meetings on the second Tuesday of the month that are a great place to meet fellow trail advocates and find out ways to get involved. Follow us on Facebook at @OORCclub or visit ozarkoffroadcyclists.orgfor more info.
What is your favorite Oz Trail?
I have to pick one? Probably Lincoln Lake (Lincoln). I personally have a lot of ownership in the trail. It's still the only time I've built trail while it was snowing. It's "only" a 7-mile trail system, but it rides like 12 with some of the best hand-built techie lines in the Arkansas Ozarks. Combo that with a visit to Mt. Kessler (Fayetteville) on the same day for an amazing experience of some of the best hand-built trails throughout the Oz Trails.
Favorite place to eat after shredding?
That's harder than you think. I like to eat. If I'm looking for 3000 calories after a full day of riding, a stop in at Apple Blossom Brewing Companywould be on my list. Their beer selection is great (try a Kessler Trail Ale) and the food is worth it. Plus, if you’re looking for more trail you don't have to go farther than the parking lot to take a spin around Lake Fayetteville.

To read the rest of the story click here:


Local Cyclists Ride In Memory Of Friend

Local Cyclists Ride In Memory Of Friend

DEVIL'S DEN STATE PARK (KFSM) -- Local cyclists took to the trails at Devil's Den State Park for a ride, but this time, someone special is on their mind; their late friend, Eric Williams.

To read the rest of the story, additional video coverage, as well as a link to a fundraising campaign for Eric's family visit:


Story orginally published by KFSM April 9th, 2017




Story by Flip Putthoff w/NWA Democrat Gazette

A tip of the hat today to the legions of volunteers who donate their time, muscle and sweat on dozens of projects that make our outdoors better for everyone.

We all benefit from their work on trails, at cleanups, leading hikes and presenting nature programs. It makes a heart glad to see these willing volunteers doing so much good and asking nothing in return.

That thought was unanimous among our little group visiting the Beaver Lake Nursery Pond, on the eastern shore of the lake north of Horseshoe Bend park. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission raises fish in the 30-acre pond, but visitors enjoy seeing and photographing the rich bird life on the water, in the fields and woods around the pond.

We were having a grand time when we spotted Ken Leonard of Bentonville peeking into bluebird houses that ring the oval-shaped pond. Here was Ken, a Northwest Arkansas master naturalist, donating his morning to make sure the houses are ship shape and ready for bluebirds. Leonard jotted down activity he saw at the houses and noted any nesting activity.

That's just one of a long list of projects these master naturalist volunteer to do around the region. Who could visit the nursery pond and not delight at seeing colorful bluebirds flitting about during a pleasant one-mile stroll around the pond? We all benefit from their fine work.

As Northwest Arkansas has grown, so has hiking and mountain biking. It would be hard to walk or bike a trail that the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists haven't been a part of building or improving. No telling how many people circle the dirt trail at Lake Fayetteville on a pretty spring day. These mountain biking volunteers have logged hundreds of hours transforming a rough and rutted route into a first-class woodlands trail for hiking, running and mountain biking.

Trail building is hard work. It's pick, shovel and rake work. From Fayetteville to Eureka Springs and points beyond, the Ozark Off-Road Cyclists have made mountain biking and hiking better for all trail users.

Building trail at Gregory Park in Fayetteville is among their current projects. You can see them on a lot of weekends, giving up a Saturday morning or afternoon to work at the park.

These are just two groups we've seen in action lately. We could fill a whole newspaper recognizing and thanking every organization, every family and individual who gives their time for the good of all. Look at the hundreds of people who show up every September for the Beaver Lake Cleanup. They're couples, families, individuals and groups who just want to help. Our hats are off to everyone who picks up litter along their street, at the boat ramp or river access without waiting for someone else to clean it up.

Does picking up trash mean catching more fish? You bet. We never start a fishing trip without doing a quick litter cleanup first to increase our karma with the fish. We always seem to catch more.

Sometimes we collect a trash bag of litter. Other trips we have to look hard for any litter to pick up. We always leave the river or lake a better place than when we arrived.

Next time you see volunteers working near the water, fixing up a trail or giving a nature program, tell them thanks. They don't want any credit, but a kind word may make them smile. Just as we smile when we see these helpers hard at work.

Orginally published April 4, 2017

Flip Putthoff can be reached at or on Twitter @NWAFlip

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