Lake Ouachita Vista Trail – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Planned For Oct. 28, 2014

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

Jeff Smith – LOViT Has Lost A Very Good Friend

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

A New Trailhead Sign At Joplin, and Clearing Trees on Bear Mountain – Oct. 15, 2014

Oct. 15 was a beautiful fall day for completing some work on the Trail prior to the planned October 28 at 1:00 pm Dedication Ceremony.  We had six Traildog volunteers today – myself, Robert, Dan, Chuck, John, and Jeremy – all helping install the new Trailhead sign at the Joplin Trailhead parking area.  We also cleared brush and weeds around the parking area and also the section of the Trail heading east where we utilize the old road. We also cleared the weeds from the Trail where it crosses Mountain Harbor Road. Finally, we checked out the ADA Trail for downed limbs and debris. It was a good day to be out on the Trail, and it was nice to have Chris Ham and Tom Ledbetter from the USFS join us at the trailhead. Yesterday, Oct. 14, Traildogs Robert and Dan covered Section 7 of the LOViT from Brady Mountain … Click to read the full article

New Signs Marking the LOViT – Oct. 1, 2014

This past week we had six volunteers assist in the installation of the new trailhead signs at the Brady Mountain Trailhead parking area.  It was a challenge to get two deep holes dug in the rock-hard clay soil, but we persevered and were able to install the two 6 X 6 treated poles and attached the six different signs required for the site.  It is now virtually impossible to miss this parking area as you drive down Brady Mountain Road. We also attempted to construct the short spur from the parking area to the current trail on the east side of the Brady Mountain Road crossing, but it appears we need the assistance of a mini-excavator to complete this task.  We did remove all the trash, brush, downed trees, and weeds from this now-usable spur, but a day with a mini-excavator and a few volunteers would create a better spur … Click to read the full article

Learning To LOViT – Bike Camping on the LOViT

(The following article by Martina Kolm was originally published in the Fall, 2014, edition of “Arkansas Wild” magazine.  It is reproduced here with Martina’s permission.  Martina, thank you for sharing your adventure with us.  For more information about Martina and her web design business, visit her site at   Learning to LOViT With the help of Traildogs and a summer sausage log By Martina Kolm July, 2013 During the brutal ride, everyone switched positions. Clinton, my boyfriend, retook his normal lead; I was second, then Mickey. I stopped to wait; a moment to rest and relish the grandeur of this place. We were enjoying a camping/mountain-biking trip on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (“LOViT”) near Mt. Ida, Arkansas. The extensive trail system is 25+ miles with 10+ more planned. [Now, a 45 mile IMBA-designated Epic Trail!] The beautiful mid-day sun poured its light through the canopy, bouncing off white rocks, … Click to read the full article

Two New Benches on Section 8 – September 24, 2014

Wednesday’s weather provided a perfect day to be out on the Trail again. We had five Traildog volunteers gather today at the Brady Mountain Road Trailhead parking area to assist with the installation of two new benches along LOViT’s Section 8, which runs from Brady Mountain Road to its easternmost trailhead at the Avery Recreation Area below Blakely Mountain Dam. Before starting the bench installation, we worked on flagging a spur from the parking area over to the Trail some 100 feet away. There currently is no connector from the Trailhead parking to the Trail; users must hike or bike down the busy Brady Mountain roadway to enter the Trail.  Is is our plan to construct this short spur to limit having to utilize the busy roadway. Today, we loaded up the bench frames and slates with their hardware, along with 80 lb. bags of concrete and gallon bottles of … Click to read the full article

Cleaning up Trail Entrances – FS47A to Pipe Spring – May 16, 2014

Four years of storms and neglect were remedied last Friday when six Traildogs spent the day improving Section 5 of the Trail where it parallels and crisscrosses US Forest Service Road 47 between Crystal Springs Road and Hickory Nut Mountain Road. We worked the part of this section from the FS47A trailhead at the eastern base of Hickory Nut Mountain to Pipe Spring, where the LOViT joins the Charlton Trail leading to the Crystal Springs Campground Pavilion. We sought to improve access and signage at each entrance and exit point along the road. We started at the intersection of FS47 and FS47A, where we installed an assurance directional sign post. The post directs users to follow FS47A 1/4 of mile north to where the Trail turns left and proceeds west to the summit of Hickory Nut Mountain. We also installed a new sign at the FS47A trailhead. We cleared all … Click to read the full article

The End of Construction – April 11, 2014

With the final 700 feet or so of Section 8 of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) completed, we mark today as the day on which the original plan for the Trail has been fulfilled! Twelve years ago, Jerry Shields and Al Gathright began an effort to create a hiking and biking trail along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita with the intent not only to provide a terrific experience for those who enjoy this beautiful part of the country in which we live, but also to provide an additional tourist attraction to the area that would help bring “shoulder season” traffic to the resorts, restaurants, crystal shops, and other businesses in our area. Their goal has been realized with today’s completion of the LOViT as the Traildogs groomed the final stretch that emerged at the Trail’s easternmost trailhead near the Avery recreation area below Blakely Mountain Dam. A great … Click to read the full article

Trail Finish Work – April 2, 2014

A warm and humid day on the Trail today, but it didn’t slow down the seasoned Traildogs as we pushed the finish work further down the south flank of Blakely Mountain. We completed finish work on the old tramway roadbed and down across the spring-fed creek at the bottom of the mountain. We spent a couple of hours armoring the very wet and muddy crossing of the creek as we began our approach up to the Corps’ security gate at the intersection of Rick’s Road and Blakely Dam Road. We visited with the Progressive Trail Design Crew, who assured us they would complete the machine finish work to the Avery Recreation Area today. We are scheduling our next and hopefully final workdays next week.  We are planning three scheduled workdays: Monday April 7th, Wednesday April 9, Friday April 11th, and, if necessary, Saturday, April 12th. Once we determine our final … Click to read the full article