Posts Tagged ‘watchable’

02212018canoecampLITTLE ROCK – Despite the passage of time, little has changed in the fundamentals of a long, skinny boat propelled by paddles. A 21st century, Kevlar canoe probably would be recognized by a Native American of the 1700s.

Packing a canoe for an expedition today usually is associated with recreation – possibly a few days on the Buffalo River to get a taste of what early explorers and fur traders might have experienced. Canoe-access campsites offer a more intimate experience with the outdoors than traditional campgrounds. Canoe travel enables us to move silently through the water, which allows close encounters with wild creatures.

The AGFC has developed more than a dozen water trails across the state. A handful of these offer overnight camping. For maps, including those geo-referenced for smartphones, and more details about each trail, visit agfc.com/watertrails.

Little Maumelle River Water Trail

The Little Maumelle River rises in the Ouachita Mountains west of Little Rock, meanders south of Pinnacle Mountain and widens as it reaches the Arkansas River. The 8.2-mile trail offers solitude near the city, drawing paddlers with towering cypress trees, wildlife viewing and angling opportunities.

Tucked in among cypress trees, a camping platform near the banks of The Nature Conservancy’s William Kirsch Preserve at Ranch North Woods gives paddlers dry respite. It’s the first of its kind in Arkansas, although camping platforms are popular on waterways in the southeastern U.S. Experience the sounds of nature while floating under the stars by requesting a reservation at arkansaswatertrails.com.

Crooked Creek Water Trail

Crooked Creek near Yellville is known among anglers for feisty smallmouth bass. The trail covers 22 miles of the stream, although other stretches may be floated. The water level in the creek depends entirely on rainfall. Be sure to check the U.S. Geological Service gauge at Kelley’s Slab before paddling.

Although most property along Crooked Creek is privately owned, there are primitive camping options at Snow Access and TNC’s Brooksher Crooked Creek Preserve, which has no access by road. Paddlers also may camp at Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek with permission from the center’s manager.

Wattensaw Bayou Water Trail

Waterfowl, woodpeckers or warblers flit overhead, depending on the season, and river otters and beavers swim in the coffee-colored water. Three access points along Wattensaw Bayou offer options on this 7.8-mile water trail that leads to the White River.

Blue paint designates primitive campsites (no water, sewer or electricity). Sites are available with road access along the bayou. For those looking for solitude, a river-access-only campsite is perched along the bayou about the midway point of the trail; first-come, first-served.

Bayou DeView Water Trail

With more than 15 miles of trail oozing through towering cypress and tupelo trees, Bayou DeView exposes paddlers to the Big Woods; only a small fraction of these wetlands remain today. Ancient cypress trees host barred owls, wintering bald eagles and nesting great blue herons. Fishing is good, too, especially for crappie, bream and catfish.

The bayou relies on rainwater, so check the USGS Bayou DeView gauge near Brinkley. To enjoy an overnight in the swamp, access the Hickson Lake campsite from a spur trail off Bayou DeView.

Rabbit Tail Water Trail

With more than 700 miles of undeveloped shoreline and more than 100 islands, Lake Ouachita can be a paddler’s dream. Rabbit Tail Water Trail is on the quieter, north shore of the lake and is tucked into relatively protected coves. Wind can be a deal-breaker on this lake’s wide-open water.

Paddlers on the 8.5-mile loop may camp on an island (check U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations) or along the shore in the Ouachita National Forest. Pack out trash. Reserve a guided trip at ouachitakayaktours.com.

Subscribe to Arkansas Wildlife Magazine for more outdoors ideas and award-winning articles. Visit www.ArkansasWildlife.com.


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In the heart of elk country, Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission toured several projects designed to benefit not only Arkansas’s elk herd, but numerous species of wildlife. The Commission was in Harrison last week for its monthly meeting.
The Commission observed elk in Newton County’s Boxley Valley and habitat projects in the recently purchased parcel in Richland Valley. Numerous bull elk put on a show for commissioners by bugling and herding cows in the picturesque Buffalo River country of north Arkansas.
Biologists with the agency told the commissioners about various habitat enhancement projects such as prescribed fire and restoration of native grasses. Biologists emphasized that the habitat improvements attract elk to public property, but also benefit species such as turkey, black bears, dove, songbirds and white-tailed deer.
In other business, the Commission:
*Heard a presentation on repairs to Lower White Oak Lake. The 50-year-old lake is a popular destination for many anglers and is managed as a trophy Florida largemouth bass fishery. Earlier this year, the lower gate on the water control structure began leaking significantly. Currently the lake is 4.5 feet below normal levels due to the leak and evaporation. Replacement of the gate is estimated at $205,500.
*Approved a budget increase of $3 million to be used in restoration of damages to AGFC facilities statewide from the spring 2011 tornadoes and floods. The Federal Emergency Management Administration will reimburse 75 percent of the amount to the AGFC. The remaining 25 percent will come from the State of Arkansas emergency funds and insurance proceeds.
*Approved a $26,000 grant to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. The goal of the AHFH is to help feed hungry Arkansans by hunters donating harvested deer to the organization. The deer are then processed and delivered to the many feeding agencies and organizations across the state. Last year the organization provided 70,000 pounds of venison to people in need.
*Approved up to $1 million to help fund development of a revised state water plan. Money for the plan will come from gas lease revenue. The plan will be developed by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission with input from the AGFC.
*Approved an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement between the AGFC and Arkansas Department of Rural Services for the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Pilot Program. The amendment includes an additional $500,000 for the program during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
*Approved an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement with Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department and Arkansas Department of Rural Services for the Wildlife Trails and Recreational Facilities Grants. Up to an additional $1 million will be available for the project.
*In partnership with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the AGFC was recently awarded a $1,509,012 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant will benefit three federally-endangered species by providing funds to purchase a 1,688-acre tract of habitat along the bank of the lower Saline River in Ashley County.
*Approved a budget increase of $45,000 to help fund sampling requirements and laboratory fees related to chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer and elk populations. Money will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
*Approved a budget increase of $200,489 to add new projects within the Big Woods of Arkansas Habitat Conservation Planning Grant. The projects will benefit six federally-listed endangered species including the ivory-billed woodpecker, red-cockaded woodpecker, interior least tern and the fat pocketbook, pink mucket and scaleshell mussels.
*Approved a budget increase of $26,618 to benefit federally-listed threatened and endangered species. The money will be used to perform pathogen testing in the Ozark hellbender and for projects related to bats that are threatened by white-nose syndrome.

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