From Adventure Arkansas Series posted on April 27, 2017
CITY LAKE PARK OF SILOAM SPRINGS SNEAK PEEK
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: http://5newsonline.com/2017/04/27/adventure-arkansas-city-lake-park-of-siloam-springs-sneak-peek/
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.
To read the rest of the story click here: http://oztrailsnwa.com/blog/
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
VOLUNTEERS MAKE OUTDOORS BETTER FOR ALL
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
The usual suspects will get up to some unusual shenanigans this weekend when bicyclists literally make a big splash during the 29th annual Ozark Mountain Bike Festival at Devil's Den State Park.
Known for its focus on bicycle riding rather than bicycle racing, the festival is the park's spring weekend of welcoming trail rides, skill-building workshops, socializing and fat-tire bicycle games (aka "reindeer games," aka "shenanigans").
Longtime organizer Tim Scott, assistant superintendent at the Northwest Arkansas state park, says one of this year's games involves hopping a mountain bike into Lee Creek cannonball-style -- with the aim to displace more creek water than anyone else.
Scott credits (or blames) Brannon Pack, executive director of Ozark Off-Road Cyclists, with the idea.
But first, the weekend opens Friday afternoon with two more-normal events:
• The 29th annual "Anniversary" Ride at 2:30 p.m. led by Scott on the park's Fossil Flats trail, one of the state's first (legal) off-road bike routes. All beginner to intermediate riders who wear helmets are welcome on this 6-mile, no-drop outing.
Rolling and rocky, the path has two potential creek crossings, depending on how recently it has rained. Leaders can take an easier or a harder route, depending on the group's needs. The trailhead's at Campsite A near Site 15 in the park.
• The 12th annual Devil's Den State Park Night Ride at 7:30 p.m. will begin at the same trailhead. "Big John" Sandy, Nick Biondi and Mike Biondi will lead a headlamp-adorned rolling parade through the night woods.
It's a no-drop outing paced for beginners to intermediates, but parents are urged to "please use good judgment if considering taking children." Also, in addition to helmets, participants must have two sources of light.
Scott loves the night ride.
"Usually we don't allow anybody on the trail at night," he says. "It gives them an opportunity to kind of like 'break the rules.' It's just really cool to watch them coming in. It's almost like an airplane landing, all these bikes, and all of a sudden you see these lights coming through the woods."
As they did in 2016, riders can compete for swag by trying to photograph the park's white squirrel -- which once again provides a theme for several events.
"Last year, we hadn't seen the white squirrel almost all winter, and all of the sudden, the first ride the first day, it jumped out," Scott says. "It was just incredible. Everybody goes, 'Wow, there's the white squirrel.'"
And they took pictures to prove they'd seen it, earning small prizes.
Squirrelly doings this year include a 3-mile Family Ride tailored to novices at 9 a.m. Saturday and led by Pack, Bob Cable and Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette outdoors reporter Flip Putthoff.
Also, at 1 p.m., Pack, Chuck Woods and H.B. Fink will lead a 6-mile squirrel-chasing ride for beginners and intermediates; and this will be the weekend's only guided ride to take the Fossil Flats counter-clockwise, which makes it tougher.
And at 4 p.m., The White Squirrel Poker Run will invite families on a 3-mile circuit with five stops where riders will collect cards to build a poker hand. The cards are redeemable for swag at the cookout that evening. Nick Biondi, Rebekah Mann, Christian Johnson and Callie Stoltzfus will lead the ride at novice pace.
Saturday's offerings also include longer trail rides, an intermediate workshop, one for kids and a skill-building area for children. Nonbiking evening fun will round out the day with paddleboat races, burgers off the grill and pedal-made ice cream. (At the cookout, everyone takes a turn pedaling the park's bicycle-powered ice cream churn.)
The weekend will conclude with the Eric Williams Memorial Ride at 10:30 a.m. beginning at the Fossil Flats trailhead in Campground A. Led by the Frontier Ozark Off-Road Cyclist and Phat Tire Bike Shop, the ride will honor a member of Phat Tire's racing team who died March 3 from the effects of a mountain biking wreck Feb. 22 in Oklahoma.
Eric Jacen Williams was 42 and a resident of Sallisaw, Okla. Friends are collecting donations for his widow and two children. More information is on Facebook at bit.ly/2nEbigC.
Scott notes that while several rides are aimed at beginner-to-intermediate riders, a workshop offered Saturday for intermediates doesn't necessarily require intermediate-level skill. It's for those who aspire to be intermediates.
At what point does a mountain biker transition from beginner to intermediate?
Scott says, "Intermediate riders, they're starting to do a lot of riding. They're willing to travel to go to trails, and our 6-mile trail for most intermediate riders would not be enough. Even though part of the trail is a little bit technical, the mileage probably is not enough for them. They do a couple of laps."
The hallmark bike-handling skills for intermediates include being able to bunny hop over small obstacles in the trail.
The shenanigans portion of the festival are scheduled for noon Saturday at Lee Creek Crossing. Two games are planned: slow races in the creek -- object being to ride more slowly than anyone else without setting a foot down -- and the aforementioned "cannonball" splash contest.
Scott: It's kind of a project in the works at this point. Depending on how much water's in the creek, we're going to try to set up a little kicker, which will kind of launch them a little bit so they can then hit the water. It's like a little ramp.
Style: That people can run and jump off?
Scott: They won't be jumping off it, they'll be doing it on their bikes.
Style: Wait. What? So, noon on Saturday, when people still have more riding to do, they're going to jump their bikes into the water?
Scott: They are. If there's not a lot of water in it, they'll have to hit it as hard as they can to make the big splash.
Style: So who's going to judge who's got the biggest splash?
Scott: We'll have a panel of judges there. We haven't decided yet if we'll be holding up cards or not.
Style: Are you going to have some sort of photographic backup, instant replay?
Scott: Haven't got that far.
Style: You realize this is a goofy idea.
More information is at (479) 761-3325 and on the Devil's Den pages at arkansasstateparks.com.
From Arkansas Online article published 4/3/2017
THE WILD SIDE – LETTERS FROM THE HEADWATERS
Greetings from the Headwaters of the Buffalo River. We have lived here for 27 years. The info in the series of articles you will be receiving has been hard won, tried and tested. These ditties will be divided into seasons. Starting with “Spring” which I think has “sprung”.
The first topic is “Poison Ivy”. This really is a 365, 24/7 plant that everyone, whether you are sensitive or not, needs to be able to identify in all seasons. It is just as potent in winter as it is in summer. Poison ivy is very prevalent in all parts of Arkansas and really in all eastern states. When you lay your bike down, sit on that nice rock, or lean against that tree to stare out at the awesome winter view along the South Bench trail be aware that all those 6 to 8” twigs sticking up all around you and possibly that vine crawling up the tree you are leaning on probably is poison ivy.
Lesson: choose carefully where you park your bottom and your bike. You can get ivy from sap that got on your bike, your dog, or friend next to you (who may not even be sensitive).
Now that you are concerned, let me tell you how to deal with it from experience. There is a homeopathic formula that you can get very reasonably, take right now, and it will build immunity in your system to poison ivy and poison oak. It can be found online or at any good natural foods store. There are several options, but the one I like is by Hyland. This one is good because it comes in a little pill form and you can carry it around in your pocket while you are taking it, which for me helps me not forget. I take a whole bottle each early spring and it keeps me from getting it. If for some reason extreme exposure happens keep an extra bottle around and take at the first signs. It will go away pretty fast. If for some unthinkable reason, you forget to do the spring dose and get the ivy bad, not to worry. Start taking the formula just like it tells you on the bottle and usually within 24hrs you will get relief. Start the year out with extra bottles on hand for sensitive members of your family. Having a bottle of Jewel weed tea in the fridge is another wonderful relief giver. Usually available at natural food stores or online. Also, never burn wood with ivy vine on it.
What next? How about creepy, crawly, biting, itchy, bugs! We are absolutely blessed with a wonderful period when being outside in the Ozarks is fairly bug free. You might run across a tick, but if you try to avoid animal trails this is even uncommon. Then, there is the rest of the year that you want to be out there.
The first real pest of the year is the bull gnat, which were already biting me in the garden right before this cold spell. We make an essential oil bug spray with oils that have been used forever by man. Two formulas. I have mine, he has his. First his - 2 oz. mist bottle, water, essential oils of sweet orange, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, Texas cedar wood and lavender. Put a little water in the bottom of mister, add 5 drops of each essential oil and fill with water. Shake well every time you use it. Spray all exposed skin and around shoes. This will periodically have to be refreshed. You may find it handy to make this in a pint-sized bottle and just keep it on hand.
Now mine. I like a combo of water and vinegar. Vinegar feels refreshing, neutralizes your skin PH and kills bugs on contact. For me, making a pint bottle up the first time the bites show up just makes life easier. Recipe – pint bottle, 1 cup water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon alcohol (this can be rubbing or vodka, I like vodka, who doesn't). My recipe uses all the essential oils that have ever been suggested for all creepy crawlies, external and internal. The more the merrier. To your pint bottle add 3 drops each of, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, citronella, sweet orange, Texas cedar wood, rosemary, and thyme. Then add a drop of Cinnamon and clove bud. Also, a half teaspoon vanilla. Mosquitoes do not like vanilla. Shake well and pour in your mister. 4 oz. misters fit nicely in a pocket or pack. Make sure to keep up with the little top that goes over the misting part to prevent damage and leaks.
If you want to know how wonderful all these essential oils are we suggest to google them. We highly recommend a good knowledge of essential oils for health and well-being. We hope you have fun outdoors!
Your neighbors at the Upper Buffalo,
Suzanne and Perry Hayes
Suzanne and Perry Hayes have been residents of the Headwaters community for over 27 years. The OORC is excited to feature experiences learned from our friends in the Headwaters. Look for another article this summer.
This past December, the OORC officially announced the formation of our newest Branch servicing the Fort Smith, Van Buren, Greenwood and surrounding communities. We are excited to unify this large group of passionate trail advocates with one voice.
In front of a packed house, the following advocates accepted nominations to serve as leadership for the Frontier Ozark Off-Road Cyclists, or the FOORC:
Branch Chair - Lap Bui, Secretary - Michelle Nuzum, Trails Coordinator - Bob Robinson, Events/Rides Coordinators - Josh Carroll & JJ Vest (co)
The immediate impact FOORC is making in the western River Valley is already being seen! Over 20 volunteers came out to Lake Greenwood in Greenwood, AR to clear corridor on a new rocky line and trail extension.
With over 3 miles of trail on the ground, the Greenwood Lake Trail System has plans for a total of 16 miles and the FOORC and our members from the community are looking forward to helping grow the recreational amenities in Greenwood, and throughout the Western River Valley.
THE OORC LAUNCHES NEW VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION
The OORC and countless miles of trail exists in the Ozarks because of volunteers. The tireless efforts of our members and fellow trail advocates help create the opportunity for individuals and their families to live healthy, active, outdoor lifestyles across the Arkansas Ozarks. We feel our volunteers should be recognizable in the community and have initially partnered with 712 Design to create unique volunteer recognition awards to help them stand out. From “builder” stickers you’ll see donning helmets and top tubes, to custom bar ends… and more. We’ll be actively recognizing volunteerism throughout the year and we have more recognition in the works! If you see someone rocking these stickers or bar ends give them a high-five. They earned them.
Additionally, the OORC is excited to help bring back TrailBucks in 2017. With a partnership with Phat Tire Bike Shop and Monster Energy, one lucky OORC or FAST volunteer is going to ride away with a sick custom bike at years’ end! How do I get entered to win? Simple. Be an OORC or FAST member and volunteer. Each hour of volunteerism at an OORC or FAST hosted volunteer opportunity earns you one TrailBuck that gets put into the drawing at the end of the year.