On Friday, October 7, 2011, the ADA Watchable Wildlife section of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail was officially opened at the information Kiosk located on Old Highway 270, just one block west of Shangri-La Road. Approximately seventy people attended the ceremony including several seniors from the Montgomery County Assisted Living Facility in Mt. Ida.
The featured speakers were Richard D. Stokes, United State Army Corps of Engineers, Gloria Chrismer, United States Forest Service, Kirstin Bartlow, Arkansas Game and Fish, and Jerry Shields, leader of the LOViT Traildog Volunteers.
Jerry Shields spoke of the key support organizations who have contributed the most to the creation of the ADA Trail, the US Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Arkansas Game & Fish, both of whom have provided grants and other support activities critical to the development of this unique facility. He praised the strong effort of the Traildog volunteers in constructing the ADA approved elevated boardwalk and fishing pier portion of the trail. Jerry also stated that the 900 foot elevated walkway and adjoining pier provide opportunities for physically challenged users to enjoy the beauty of the area and its wildlife population.
Rick Stokes of the USACE spoke of the importance of of coalitions and how the the members of the Denby Bay Coalition have worked together for over six years to make the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) a reality. He stated that the strength of a coalition is based on each partner contributing to the project without any one member carrying the entire load.
Gloria Chrismer of the US Forest Service also praised the close working relationships that have developed with the volunteers and the other federal, state and local agencies over the last six years of construction on the LOViT, noting that these relationships were lead and nurtured by the volunteers and are a credit to their persistence and hard work.
Kirstin Bartlow, state coordinator for the the Arkansas Game & Fish’s Watchable Wildlife Program, stated that the ADA Watchable Wildlife Vista Trail was one of the agency’s first efforts at developing Watchable Wildlife venues throughout the state. She too credited the strong working relationship of the coalition members along with untiring volunteer effort for making this trail a reality.
After the ribbon was cut, approximately two dozen members of the crowd hiked the entire ADA section and were very complimentary of the design and the interpretive signage.
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