On May 4, 2019, over thirty friends, family, colleagues and trail enthusiasts gathered at the elevated Watchable Wildlife walkway section of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) to celebrate Tom Ferguson’s life and long career. Tom was an outdoorsman’s outdoorsman. He enjoyed opening the beauties of nature to any and all that could keep up with his long stride in his many forays into the wilds of nature. Tom was known throughout the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) as a man who enjoyed the complexities of nature and its impact on those who enjoyed the adventure of a hike through an untamed forest. He was part of the first teams to explore the possible creation of what is now known as the LOViT Trail. Tom along with other USFS trails professionals scouted the Ouachita Mountains bordering the southern shore of Lake Ouachita searching for the best possible route. Tom seemed to always … Click to read the full article
BE AWARE OF HUNTING ON THE TRAIL!
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail traverses U.S. Forest lands that have long been popular hunting grounds in all seasons. All Trail users should be aware of these activities and not wear clothing that could be mistaken for wildlife. Bright colors and hunter orange eliminate most instances of mistaken identity.
BE AWARE IT'S HUNTING SEASON - WEAR ORANGE ON THE TRAIL!
We would like to remind everyone that modern gun deer season opens on November 9, 2019, and continues through December 1 in the Ouachita National Forest along the LOViT. Dogs are allowed to be used hunting for deer during this time. A second modern gun season is December 26-28. Note also these deer hunting dates: Archery - Sept. 28, 2019, through Feb. 29, 2020; Muzzleloader - Oct. 19-27 and Dec. 14-16; Youth modern gun hunt - Nov. 2-3, 2019, and Jan. 4-5, 2020. Be especially careful and be sure to wear orange if you decide to hike or bike on the Trail during these times. We don't want anyone to get hurt or to cause conflicts between Trail users and hunters.
PLEASE visit the following link for more information regarding hunting seasons in Arkansas https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/ Be safe out there!!!.
Local Traildog volunteers gathered near Denby Bay of Lake Ouachita the week of January 14, 2019, to repair the planking on the trail bridge over the Gap Creek part of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) Watchable Wildlife handicap accessible portion of the 45-mile-long LOViT trail system. The Gap Creek Bridge was originally constructed by a trail coalition team in 2010, lead by the US Corps of Engineers, and supported by the Traildog volunteers, with funding through a grant from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. The thirty-foot-long pedestrian bridge is a low maintenance structure made of structural fiber and wooden planking. It rises almost twenty feet above the creek bed and is above the Lake Ouachita’s high water mark. During the construction stage, the Corps of Engineers constructed a temporary road from the Old Highway 270 road, known locally as “Blow out Bridge Road,” to the construction … Click to read the full article
One of the highlights of the Christmas season this year was an event atop Hickory Nut Mountain a few days before Christmas. Over two hundred people crowded the parking area of the old vista area to witness the release of a rehabilitated bald eagle back into the wild. It was a stirring site to see this magnificent bird that had been struck by a vehicle almost a year ago suddenly leap into the air with a mighty push of its now repaired wigs and soar down the slopes of the mountain to the lake surface almost a 1000 feet below. It was heartening to see so many people on the vista all gathered to wish the old eagle well and to drink in the beauty of the view on a sparklingly clear day. There were so many vehicles the large parking lot could not accommodate the crowd, forcing latecomers to … Click to read the full article
Hittin’ The Trails “Guided Hikes” (First Published in the Montgomery County News, April 1, 2018) Fifteen years ago, the idea of a hiking and biking trail along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita was born. Support from both land mangers of the proposed route – the US forest Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers – was sought and received by a small band of local trail enthusiasts who later became the Traildog Volunteers. A plan was developed to construct a trail from the Denby Bay area of the lake to the Blakely Mountain Dam Avery Recreation Area forty-five miles to the east. The US Forest Service agreed to take the lead in the training of volunteers in trail design, construction and long term maintenance. Some ten years later and over a million dollars of grants, in-kind labor and donations, the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, or as it known … Click to read the full article
Traildogs Al Gathright and Jerry Shields hit the trail today to do some trimming and to install two plaques on sponsored benches. We drove to the Brady Mountain Trailhead parking area for the 3/4 mile hike into the first bench, located on the banks of the small creek the Trail crosses. This bench was purchased by the Traildogs to be sponsored for Jeff Smith of the Hot Springs Sentinel Record, who was tragically killed in a car accident. Jeff had followed the development of the LOViT from the first day of construction until his untimely death. He wrote hundreds of articles about the Trail’s development and was instrumental in bringing the Trail’s existence into the public eye. We installed a brass plaque in honor of Jeff’s support. The location is a beautiful, secluded location and has a very nice view of the creek and the small waterfall just upstream from … Click to read the full article
Saturday November 8th was a perfect fall day on Hickory Nut Mountain as six Traildogs met at the Trailhead for some trail maintenance. We had four certified sawyers, myself, Jay Marsh, Dan Watson, and Al Gathright, along with Chuck Dumas with his trusty weed trimmer, and Mike Curran with his historic one man four foot hand saw. Our first order of business was to install the new trailhead sign furnished by the US Forest Service. It took a bit of digging in the stone-infested ground, but we finally concreted in the 6 X 6 post and sign just to the left of the Trailhead map sign. We also cleared all the downed trees and limb debris from the campground located adjacent to the Trailhead. There were two overnight campers in the campground, but the tents’ inhabitants were out taking advantage of the perfect fall weather to enjoy the Trail . … Click to read the full article
One perennial mud hole gone from the trail! After celebrating with the Ouachita Mountain Hikers on Saturday, Oct. 25, I met members of the Boy Scout Troop 262 out of Little Rock at the Tompkins Bend Trailhead parking area. Six Scouts, their troop leader, and several parents joined in to assist Bryan Wornock complete his Eagle rank project of building a 12′ foot bridge about a 3/4 mile east of Shangri-La Road. The team started to work around noon and finished at 5:00 pm, with the new bridge completed and ready for use. Bryan utilized the existing design of our other small bridges to construct the bridge over an area know to bikers and the “Slick Spot” where you can easily take a spill if not careful. Hikers refer to the spot as the “Mud Hole”! We really appreciate the Scouts supporting the Trail! They exemplify the best of young … Click to read the full article
Saturday, October 25th, the Ouachita Mountain Hikers had a rally and BBQ at the Avery Recreation Area to celebrate the completion of their six-day hike of the entire Lake Ouachita Vista Trail system. Starting at the ADA Kiosk on Monday Oct 20th, various groups of OMH members hiked sections of the Trail. Eight of the members, including Traildog Chuck Dumas, received special recognition for hiking the entire forty miles of trail. This was a team effort of the Ouachita Mountain Hikers organization, with some members hiking, some shuttling, and some organizing the Rally and BBQ. The Ouachita Mountain Hikers invited the LOViT Traildogs to join in the hikes and to join them in their celebration rally and BBQ. Pam Harrison served as head chef and food organizer, and it was indeed a feast! Three of our Traildogs – myself, Robert Cavanaugh and Chuck Dumas – were present at the rally … Click to read the full article
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to officially open the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) has been set for: Date: Tuesday October 28, 1014 Time: 1:00 pm Location: The Avery Recreation Area at the Lake Ouachita’s Blakely Mountain Dam in Garland County. This forty-mile long trail system designed for mountain biking and hiking is the result of ten years of planning, design and construction by a coalition of a dozen local, state and federal organizations. The trail courses along the southern shores of Lake Ouachita over five mountains located in the Ouachita National Forest. The agenda for the ceremony will include remarks by: Colonel John W. Cross, Colonel US Army Corps of Engineers Norman Wagner, Forest Supervisor Ouachita National Forest Joe David Rice, Arkansas Tourism Director Jeff Crow, Deputy Director, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Steve Schneider, Regional Director, International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Following … Click to read the full article
A very good friend of the LOViT and of the Traildogs, Jeff Smith, was tragically killed Friday afternoon, Oct. 10, in a head-on collision on Highway 7 north of the town of Bismarck, AR. Jeff Smith was editor of the Special Sections of the Hot Spring Sentinel-Record and has faithfully reported the story of the building of the Trail now for 10 years, writing a great many articles about our progress. Jeff was a dedicated supporter of the Trail. He came to our first day of construction each year without fail, from year one to our last first day this year. From the Hot Springs Sentinel_Record Facebook page: “Jeff Durand Smith, a valued member of The Sentinel-Record family, was killed early Friday evening in a three-vehicle accident on Highway 7 south near Bismarck in Hot Spring County. “Jeff, the special sections editor for The Sentinel-Record, was well known in the community for his reporting of veterans … Click to read the full article