As President of Friends of the Ouachita Trail let me welcome you to the FoOT Website. We are currently in the process of updating this site to make it more convenient and practicable for trail users.
FoOT is entering its second decade of service maintaining and enhancing the Ouachita Trail. Ice storms this past winter and wind storms this spring have added greatly to the work load of maintaining the OT. Plans are being made to clean up the last major damaged section east of Foran Gap (Hwy 71). Approximately 90% of the 223 miles of the OT is adopted. FoOT always needs volunteer trail adopters to cover the areas not adopted and/or to assist adopters with large sections to maintain.
FoOT continues to work on the trail shelter project. This project consist of building 12 new shelters on the west end of the OT. To date 6 shelters have been completed. An additional shelter will be build this October. You can find details of this project on the FoOT website. FoOT is currently trying to raise the necessary funds to complete the last 5 shelters. An additional $25,000 is needed to supplement existing funds to make completion of the shelter project a reality. If you wish to contribute to this effort or know of a funding source, please contact myself or any member of FoOT.
FoOT is moving toward the establishment of an endowment for the future of the Ouachita Trail as well as other trails in the Ouachita Mountains. The majority of the funds will come through estate planning. A campaign will be conducted this fall known as the Legacy Program. Be thinking if your love of the trail would lead you to be a part of this effort. We already have $300,000 being committed to the Legacy Program. We would like to raise $750,000 in commitments with a stretch goal of $1,000,000. Think of FoOT when you revisit your estate planning. FoOT is a 501C3 non-profit.
As you can tell FoOT enters its second decade as a strong, viable organization to carry out its mission of maintaining and enhancing the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. FoOT has an outstanding Board and District Trail Captains, who not only contribute leadership but donate numerous volunteer hours to all our efforts on the OT. I must add, FoOT’s partnership with the Ouachita National Forest remains strong and we appreciate their support.
While Friends of the Ouachita Trail always needs additional funds, the most important resource is the time and effort of our volunteers. To all of you that have and continue to support FoOT, Thanks!!
President of FoOT
The 04/27/14 tornado inflicted significant damage o the OT in the area of MM217-MM218. There are numerous trees on the ground, stacked, leaners, and just a lot of unstable situations posing major safety issues.
Hikers and FoOT volunteers are asked to stay clear of the area until further notice. Central Arkansas (CAW ) is currently assessing the area and will probably conduct some blowdown removal. Once we get the clearance from CAW, we will post to FaceBook and the FoOT website the “all clear” to get back out there. Until then please help out by staying clear. Thanks for your help.
The sixth new shelter atb MM 109 on the Ouachita Trail was completed Saturday, March 29th.
If you left camping gear on the Ouachita Trail between miles 207 and 208, FoOT members have recoverd them. Contact Pinnacle Mountain Stae Park at 501-868-5806 to identify and claim them.
2014 Ouachita Challenge!
Saturday, April 05, 2014 to Sunday, April 06, 2014
The Ouachita Cycling Club is now in its second decade of presenting the Ouachita Challenge. This unique event in a sixty plus mile loop provides two days of mountain bike touring and racing on two of our best trails. The Ouachita Trail is known for its challenging climbs, vast technical sections, and scenic views of the Ouachita River. The Womble Trail (an IMBA Epic) is known for its fast trails and scenic views of the Ouachita Mountains and valleys.
With our many great sponsors and the support from numerous volunteer groups, including Friends of the Ouachita Trail, we make every effort to assure you that your Ouachita Challenge Mountain Bike Adventure is a memorable and enjoyable experience.
In past years, FoOT has worked road crossinsgs and some aid stations. This year, FoOT will man all the aid stations, so more volunteers will be needed.
Add these dates to your calendar now and plan to help with this wonderful event in some way.
Many hikers have braved the shaky old landscaping timber bridge over Pipeline Creek at MM 195.2, but no more. On November 16, 2013, James Hughes, as his Eagle Scout Project, led a group of Boy Scouts and volunteers in constructing a trail re-route around the old bridge. James is the son of Alan and Laurie Hughes of Little Rock, and is a member of Troop 29 at Christ the King Catholic Church. A well done to James and his trail crew.
Here is a description of the re-route, so be sure to update your trail guides.
Walking from west to east, the trail intersects a gravel logging road (Duffy Road) at about 195.1; TURN RIGHT (east) and head downhill on the road about 375 feet to a low water concrete bridge. The pipeline crosses the road just before the concrete bridge, and there are gates on both sides of the road. Continue on the road across the concrete bridge for about another 300 feet where the trail will leave the road; TURN LEFT (north) and head out through the woods. The trail is level for about 100 yards when it starts up a small hill. The rock outcropping at the top overlooks the old bridge off to the left. At the bottom of the hill, TURN RIGHT onto the old trail. You are on your way to a small wooden bridge at about 195.4.
The Red Bluff Creek bridge was deemed unusable several years ago, and a “temporary” re-route was constructed. The re-route turns south on the road right before the old bridge, and follows that road on through the deer camp out to Duffy Road. It turns east on Duffy, crosses the creek on the low water bridge, on up the hill, cutting back north into the woods just before getting to the clear cut on the right. FoOT has been working with Arkansas State Parks for the past year to get the old bridge replaced with some type of permanent water crossing. However, nothing has been decided at this point. Therefore, the “temporary” re-route is still in place. The old bridge should not be used. This re-route is at MM 196.3
There is another unusable landscape timber bridge just west of the Red Bluff Creek bridge over Pipeline Creek. Within the next few weeks we will have an Eagle Scout Project construct a re-route of that section. That re-route will continue the trail on Duffy Road over the low water bridge, on up the hill a couple of hundred feet, and cut into the woods back to the north. It will rejoin the old section of the trail on the rock outcropping right above the old bridge. This reroute will be at MM 195.1
The Annual Meeting is scheduled Saturday, October 26 at Stephens Park Pavilion at Blakeley Dam just west of Mountain Pine, AR. Meeting starts at 11 A.M. with lunch at noon. Please send in your reservations to the FoOT e-mail (FoOT@friendsot.org) for lunch ASAP.
In addition, please send in your votes for the new Board Members.
Remember, we are a 501c3 group and we need the annual meeting.
Contact Bo Lea at 501-662-8809 or Blea@windstream.net.
Yesterday we received notice from Central Arkansas Water that the OT in the Lunsford Corner area is open again, although they have not taken all of the signs down yet. The logging contractor still has to close out the logging roads, but that should not have any impact on the trail. They were actually trying to wait for some rain so they could seed the roads. So, the trail is open. Enjoy and anything to FoOT that needs attention.
FoOT Members and Friends,
The Annual meeting of the membership of Friends of the Ouachita Trail is set – make your plans to attend now. Please check your e-mail for requests to RSVP.
Date: Saturday, October 26th
Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 noon
Place: Stephens Park Pavilion – Hot Springs, AR.
Mt. Pine Road at Blakely Dam east side
Primary Business of Meeting: Election of three directors
FoOT is governed by nine directors, elected by the membership. Directors serve three-years, staggered terms, with three directors elected every year. The Board has nominated Robert Cavanaugh, Sue Ehrgood and Dave Peterson. The ballot is included in this email. Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, please vote. Membership participation is important. Return the ballot either by mail, email or at the annual meeting.
There will be a report of highlights of FoOT accomplishments and progress during the past year and the plans/challenges for the coming year. Also, this is an opportunity for you, the members, to give your feedback to the directors. Other business as may be introduced from the floor.
Fun: Scenic area and close to the Vista Trail
Food: Following the meeting, lunch will be provided by FoOT in appreciation of the support of the membership.