The LOViT Traildogs
The "Traildogs" organization was established in the fall of 2005 as a group of volunteers dedicated to the construction and maintenance of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT). The organization consists of approximately thirty volunteers who provide support to the US Forest Service and Corps of Engineers in the design, planning, and construction of the Vista trail.
There are no meetings to attend and no dues. The Traildogs are notified through email of the planned workdays and join the construction teams as their schedules permit.
- initial layout and flagging of each new segment of the trail
- assistance in the actual construction of the trail
- installing benches and signs along the trail
- marking the trail with signs and blazing
- ongoing trail maintenance as needed
Traildogs enjoy the new bridge on Segment 1 near the Tompkins Bend Trailhead.
Traildog shirts are awarded to each participant at the completion of each new segment of the trail. A minimum of five work hours are required.
To join the group, please send us your name, address, phone number and email address by
None of your contact information will be shared with anyone else without your permission.
Recent and Past Traildog Activities
Traildogs Ron Mayfield and Robert Cavanaugh put up 13 trail signs where the trail comes down Hickory Nut Mountain and along the intersections of the LOVIT and FS 47. Six of the signs were placed on Hickory Nut Mountain. Four of these were on two posts where the trail comes down to Hickory Nut Mountain Road (FS Road 50) from the trailhead, and two were placed on a post near the kiosk/trailhead. Another was placed at the intersection of FS 47A and FS 47. Four went on bare posts previously placed along FS 47, and one replaced an arrow that was missing. We put one more near the old pavilion near Crystal Springs. This should help hikers and bikers stay on the trail. Robert and Ron also cut 10 or 11 trees off of the short section between the Gap Creek Bridge and Hwy 270. This area had not been … Click to read the full article
Today, four Traildogs (Al Gathright, Robert Cavanaugh, Ron Mayfield, and Dan Watson) attacked drainage problems along the Trail in a couple of areas along Section 1 between Denby Bay and Tompkins Bend. The first location was near the “Pine Plantation” area, a bit west of Shangri La Road. After working on a new water bar here, we followed the trail back to the Sunset Vista spur (34°33’12” N 93°28’46” W) to enjoy that beautiful location for a while and to clean up debris along the trail. The second location was above the two bridges just west of “The Dip” along Shangri La Road. Three new water bars were installed along the very steep slope a bit south of the bridges (34°33’13” N 93°28’6″ W). It was a beautiful and balmy day for the first of February – a great day to be on the LOViT!! Finishing a little after noon, we … Click to read the full article
Today, a number of Traildogs installed a new bench along the Trail’s 5th section between USFS Road 47A and Pipe Spring. The bench, sponsored by Mike Hardage to honor Wanda Hardage, sits about 30 yards off the trail and overlooks a beautiful beach along Walnut Creek a bit south of where it dumps into the cove occupied by the Crystal Springs Marina. … Click to read the full article
Help Protect The LOViT By Making Your Voice Heard The LOViT Traildogs, Friends of Lake Ouachita, and the Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee are seeking user support from all those who hike, bike, or just generally love the LOViT. The United States Forest Service has published an announcement of a proposed “Resource Management Project” (see the link below) that would likely damage the canopy, the tread, and the aesthetic beauty of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. We urge each of you read the proposal letter and provide your input to the Womble District Ranger, Shalonda Guy. Public input is a key element in the planning and execution of all Forest Service proposed projects. In addition to the Project document from the USFS and their map describing the areas in which the proposed burn and timber harvest would take place, we have also attached a sample of letters already submitted regarding the viability of this proposed resource … Click to read the full article
This afternoon, led by Al Gathright, 6 Traildogs (yes, spouses are Traildogs too!!!) hosted trail workers from the International Mountain Biking Association and the Texas Conservation Corps to a hamburger and brat supper at the new Friends of Lake Ouachita-sponsored pavilion at the entrance to the Tompkins Bend Campground, followed by a short tour of Lake Ouachita. We all tremendously appreciate the work these teams are doing along the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail – THANK YOU ALL!!! … Click to read the full article
Four Traildogs – Al, Mike, John, and Dan – met Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, to set two posts for future directional signs where the LOViT crosses Hickory Nut Mountain Road, and then to hike Section 4 east to the trailhead for Section 5 at USFS Road 47A. The goal of the hike was “recon” – to evaluate the shape of the trail segment for any problems that need to be added to the winter maintenance schedule. After placing the posts, the recon hike was mostly uneventful, which is a Good Thing! We were able to move three fallen trees off the trail, two of which needed a little prodding from a small hand saw. Also, we noted a couple of areas that are in need of water bars in order to deflect rainwater off the trail to prevent erosion. And, no recon hike is complete without carrying loppers and shears … Click to read the full article
It is winter and time to hit the Trail for a number of maintenance projects that are never fun during the heat of summer, so today, five Traildogs met at the trailhead at USFS Road 47A to place a number of new directional signs along LOViT’s Section 5 from FS47A east to Pipe Spring. This section of the LOViT both crisscrosses USFS 47, which runs between Hickory Nut Mountain Road to the west and Crystal Springs Road to the east, and also follows along USFS 47 at times before sinking back into the Ouachita National Forest. It’s easy to miss a turn. Overall, the day was beautiful, and, for the most part, the digging was not too difficult, although we did have to relocate a couple of times due to hitting a shelf of shale. Once a hole was dug, a post was set in concrete, leveled, and then the signs were … Click to read the full article
The 2015 LOViT Marathon was run December 5, and by all accounts, it was a successful event. Your LOViT Traildogs supported the event by working at aid stations at both the Joplin and Hickory Nut Mountain Trailheads. Click on the image below to view photographs of the runners who made it to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain, the turnaround point for this out-and-back marathon. Here are the race results: http://runarkansas.com/results/LOViT2015.htm. Also, a slide show with many more photos can be found here: http://runarkansas.com/slideshow/LOViT26_2015/slideshow.php. Finally, here’s the LOViT Marathon Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LOViTmarathon/. What a great bunch of participants we enjoyed at this aid station. Great people, great event! … 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
On Wednesday, July 8, Traildogs Jerry Shields and Al Gathright placed two plaques on adjacent benches along LOViT’s elevated walkway, part of the Watchable Wildlife Trail Segment. The two bench plaques were donated in honor of Diann Gathright’s dad and her uncle. The benches are side-by-side on the fishing pier part of the raised walkway. It is appropriate to have the brothers together near the lake they loved. Here’s their story as told by Diann’s sister, Pam Howell: The Boys of the Lake by P.R. Howell If people didn’t know better, they would have sworn they were twins. They looked alike, talked alike, laughed alike, and possessed a kinship beyond being older and younger brother (one of two). They were friends. Their friendship was fostered – as anyone who had the good fortune to hear their boyhood stories – through a series of adventures and misadventures while growing up in … Click to read the full article