Watchable Wildlife

Watchable Wildlife (The “ADA” Trail)

Lovin' the LOViT's Elevated Walkway

Lovin’ the LOViT’s Elevated Walkway

Description:

This portion of the LOViT trail is designed to bring all users, including those who may be physically challenged, closer to nature. The entire trail segment is a 1.25 mile loop including a level paved area with benches and an Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) elevated walkway allowing users to access a wild wetland area at the south end of the Denby Bay area. The Trail circles a large open field, follows along the bank of Gap Creek as it flows into the bay, and then ducks beneath the towering canopy of a densely wooded area changing from woods to marsh and then open water. The elevated walkway, about .25 miles long, also connects to a bridge over Gap Creek. Cross the bridge to the .5 mile Gap Creek spur, which terminates at the old Highway 270 bridge and a small parking area.

Stone Sign - Watchable Wildlife - LOViT

An attractive stone sign marks the pavilion at the ADA Watchable Wildlife Trailhead

 When designing the Trail, we planned three short wheelchair-accessible spurs from the main trail to the edge of Gap Creek, where we quietly observed largemouth bass depositing their eggs in a clear rocky eddy along the shore of the creek. During the winter months, visitors are able to walk among hundreds of Coots, Pin Tail Ducks, Loons, Wood Ducks and on a good day even observe Bald Eagles fishing or harvesting Coots for lunch.

The trailhead currently includes a restroom, parking, and an information kiosk highlighting historical details of the trail and the lake.

Bridge Over Gap Creek - Watchable Wildlife - LOViT

This bridge crosses Gap Creek along LOViT’s Watchable Wildlife trail.

There remains an intent to continuously develop habitat for field and wood birds, including planting seed-producing grasses, wild flowers, fruit trees, and native berry-bearing bushes generating year-around forage for birds and wildlife all along the Watchable Wildlife trail segment. Additionally, the LOViT Traildogs and the Montgomery County Master Gardeners are planning guided interpretive hikes along this section of the trail.

The ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the Trail occurred October 7, 2011.

Surrounding Area:

This trail is at the edge Lake Ouachita, near the Denby Bay Trailhead. Lake Ouachita Shores Resort is across the bay.

Length:

1.25 miles.

Difficulty:

Easy, handicapped accessible.

Amenities:

Restroom, water.

Directions to Trailhead:

Go 9 miles east from Mount Ida, or 25 miles west from Hot Springs, on Highway 270 to Shangri-La Road. You can’t miss the Shangri-La Resort sign. Go one block up Shangri-La Road to the first road on your left, Old Highway 270, go two blocks or so and you will see the parking area and information kiosk on your left. This would be a great place to begin developing your walking skills while enjoying the area wildlife. But if you pass the kiosk and continue along Old 270 just a bit further, you can access the main trail at the Denby Bay Trailhead.

Accommodations:

Lake Ouachita Shores Resort (no restaurant) is across the bay. Tompkins Bend campground and Shangri-La Resort and restaurant are on Shangri-La Rd.


Recent articles about the Watchable Wildlife (“ADA”) Trail:

New Directional Signs and Gap Creek Cleanup – Feb. 12, 2017

New directional signs installed along the LOViT between Hickory Nut Mountain and Crystal Springs.

New directional signs installed along the LOViT between Hickory Nut Mountain and Crystal Springs.

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 cleared in some time.

“It was another nice morning in the woods.”

Thanks Ron and Robert!

 

A Cold and Rainy LOViT Marathon – Dec. 4, 2016

Yesterday, a handful of Traildogs joined with Phillip Carr and Shangri La’s Carr family to help with the annual LOViT Marathon, an out-and-back race traditionally held on the first Saturday in December.

The race starts at the LOViT’s ADA Pavilion just off Shangri La Road and follows the Trail 14.1 miles to the turnaround at the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead.

The LOViT Marathon always brings good friends together for a great run the woods, despite the weather! (Click on this image to view more photos from the 2016 LOViT Marathon)

The LOViT Marathon always brings good friends together for a great run the woods, despite the weather!
(Click on this image to view photos of runners approaching the Hickory Nut Mountain Trailhead, the turnaround point for the 2016 LOViT Marathon)

Phil had expected a record turnout, but the bleak and rainy December morning brought out 76 or so runners for the event, some running the full marathon, while others ran a ½ marathon, catching a shuttle back to the start/stop line from Hickory Nut Mountain.

Despite the weather, this is always a great event.

The LOViT Is Now Clear and Open – Sept. 8, 2016

The clean up of downed trees from the severe windstorm of last July was completed yesterday.

Many thanks to a few Traildogs, especially Robert Cavanaugh and Ron Mayfield, and to our good friends on the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Trail Crew.  Over the past couple of months, we cut well over 100 downed trees off of the Trail.  Much of the saga can be read about on the LOViT Facebook Page.

The entire LOViT is now open for hiking and biking. Fall is a great time to enjoy the trail.

A late-August view from Traildog Vista on Bear Mountain.

A late-August view from Traildog Vista on Bear Mountain.

Help Protect the LOViT – A Call To Action

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.

Removal of the canopy (whether by fire, thinning, or harvesting) results in explosive growth or weeds, bushes, and briars in the trail.

Removal of the canopy (whether by fire, thinning, or harvesting) results in explosive growth or weeds, bushes, and briars in the trail.

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 management project as background information for your personal response.

Many, many thanks in advance for your help and for your comments to the US Forest Service.

The Traildogs

(Click on the links below to view the documents):

USFS Gap Creek Project proposal:

Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee Response:

Other individual responses:

 

2015 LOViT Marathon Is In The Books …

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.

Runners gather at the LOViT Marathon aid station atop Hickory Nut Mountain.

Runners gather at the LOViT Marathon aid station atop Hickory Nut Mountain.
(Click on this image to view photos from atop Hickory Nut Mountain during the LOViT 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!