Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas serves Scott, Polk, and Montgomery counties or it may be best to say "west-central Arkansas" to drive economic develop and tourism.
? Mena AR 71953
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Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas


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In press release issued by the U.S. National Forest Service, officials announced that a draft decision notice and final environmental assessment concerning the future of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails and mixed use roads at Wolf Pen Gap near Mena was released. today.  Mena-Oden District Ranger, Tim Oosterhous identified Alternative “I” as outlined in the Wolf Pen Gap Environmental Assessment, as the alternative he intends to select.

“This alternative leaves some existing motorized use designations for roads and trails in place, and results in some changed designations due to route relocations and decommissioning,” he said.

Currently 41.7 miles of roads and trails are available for OHV use at Wolf Pen Gap, either year-round or seasonally.  Key components of Alternative I define a trail system with 39.6 miles of routes, including mixed use routes and seasonal designations.  Designated routes will be open seasonally from the 2nd Friday of March each year, through Oct. 31.  Two holiday periods would open the trail system to OHV use:  from three days prior to Thanksgiving through two days after Thanksgiving, and from Dec. 25 through Jan. 2.

After learning of the release of the new plant, Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison, who has strongly advocated to keep Wolf Pen accessible, told The Pulse,

“It is important for Polk County that the Wolf Pen Gap trail system remains sustainable. The trail system provides recreational opportunities that benefit us economically and allows our citizens to access public lands that we have historically enjoyed. While the proposed EA alternative may not be perfect for us, we want to do everything possible to maintain water quality in our streams and rivers. We look forward to working with all of our partners on the implementation of the plan.”

Oosterhous spoke of the importance of the partnerships in developing the final plan, “We have looked at many options, discussed ideas with partners, trail riders, and community leaders, and held many community meetings on management of Wolf Pen Gap over the last four years,” said Oosterhous.  “We’ve developed great partnerships and accomplished work that we’re all really proud of.  We plan to continue in that same vein, working with partners, including volunteers, to provide an enjoyable and sustainable outdoor opportunity for OHV enthusiasts while protecting the valued resources in the area.”

Also instrumental in the efforts to keep Wolf Pen open has been Gar Eisele, ARCO Chair.

“We and our partners want to maintain a sustainable trail system at Wolf Pen Gap.  A trail system that provides a significant economic benefit to Mena and maintains the natural beauty and water quality of the of the rivers in the Wolf Pen Gap area.”

Those valued resources include water quality in Gap Creek and Board Camp Creek, two tributaries to the Ouachita River and a number of threatened, endangered and sensitive aquatic and plant species.  Monitoring the routes will be an important factor in protecting natural resources, particularly during rainy periods according to the Wet Weather Management Plan, an appendix to the Environmental Assessment.  The monitoring will be conducted by Forest Service employees, with assistance from volunteers, to determine if the amount of rainfall is enough to result in damage to the maintained trails, or in increased sedimentation in nearby tributaries.  If so, a temporary closure of the trail, generally short-term, will occur.

In addition to changes made to road and trail designations, a number of other actions would occur over the next 5 years in this popular area, including improvement of more than 269 stream crossings, construction of a foot trail to Hawk’s Gap overlook, installation of picnic tables at two vistas, construction of a pavilion at the North Trailhead, and obliteration and relocation of the “warm-up” trail at the West Trailhead parking lot.

Oosterhous believes his pending decision strikes the best balance between the community and trail users with the sustainability of natural resources.

The Wolf Pen Gap Project is subject to the objection process which allows individuals or entities who previously submitted timely and specific comments about the project during official public comment periods the right to object.  Objections will be accepted for 45 days beginning on the first day after publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

For more information on the Wolf Pen Gap Project, or to learn more on how to file an objection, visit,  call 479-394-2382, or stop by the Mena Ranger District Office, 1603 Highway 71 North, Mena, AR.


This will be the 14th year that the bicycling tour and race will be put on by the Ouachita Cycling Club. On April 5th, the 60-mile Tour will start from the Oden School campus. The riders will head towards the Ouachita Trail and do a mixture of single-track trail and road leading to the Womble Trail, which loops back towards the school where the riders will finish.

The Race on April 6th, is 60 miles as well, but instead of going around Blowout Mountain  on the Ouachita Trail, it goes over it.  Here the steep, rugged terrain and long rocky sections has most riders getting off to push their bikes, at least some of the time. The fastest winning time last year was 4 hours and 40 minutes. Most riders take 6 to 8 hours and some much longer than that! Winners in 4 categories get a cash prize and a trophy made locally from crystals mined at Wegner’s.

The weekend draws more than 500 cyclists and their families for the event and most of them are from out of state. This year’s registration shows riders from 13 states. They come back for pre-rides and vacations. Many seek lodging and restaurant services in Mena.

In order to put on a mountain bicycle event of this magnitude many volunteers are needed. On Saturday the bicyclists and their families and the volunteers are treated to a pancake breakfast and spaghetti dinner. On Sunday they have breakfast as well as post-race pizza. Polk County Development Center is in charge of coordinating all the food.

When the cyclists arrive at the school they head for the Registration area to get their race numbers, t-shirts, cycling socks and goody bags. CASA is in charge of organizing all of this.

To ensure the safety of the riders we have radio operators from the Ouachita Amateur Radio Club. First Responders and Volunteer Fire Departments in the area facilitate communication and emergency medical help, should it be needed.

The Tour is a more relaxed version of the race. The objective for most of the entrants is to see how much distance they can complete before a given cut-off time. As the cyclists pass through checkpoints on the course they receive colored wristbands. The Mt. Ida Trap Shoot team is in charge of checking each rider and counting the wristbands. On race day they separate the finishers from the riders who had to bail out.

We couldn’t have a race without a course. The Ouachita Mountains offer some of the best mountain bike single-track trails in the country. In fact, the Womble Trail near Pencil Bluff has earned Epic status by the International Mountain Bike Association.

Trails have to be maintained, especially after ice storms! The Ouachitas were badly hit in December and miles of trail were littered with fallen timber. FoOT (Friends of the Ouachita Trail) volunteers who were certified by the Forest Service as sawyers spent several days cutting and removing fallen branches and trees.

FoOT volunteers also serve as Course Marshals, directing riders and making sure that they stop for vehicular traffic on the highways. Five Aid Stations offering water, energy drinks, and snacks are manned by FoOT Volunteers.

We are very fortunate to have Oden Schools allow us to use their facilities. Riders eat in the cafeteria, being served meals prepared by the staff who put in many hours of overtime. Indoor camping is permitted in the gym. Students greet visitors and answer their questions.

The Ouachita Challenge is special for many reasons. For the cyclists, it is an early race in their season that allows them to hone their skills. Since all profits from the Tour and Race go to the community organizations and the school, it is a welcome source of revenue. Please make all of our visitors feel at home and say, “Y’all come back!”

Original Source:

The RMCC Foundation will be hosting the 3rd Annual Trap Shoot on Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. at the Mount Ida Shooting Range in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. The proceeds from this event will benefit RMCC students and the Mount Ida Trap Shooting Team.

Each year, this event has grown in participation and in sponsorship! First and second place awards are presented in three divisions; junior high, senior high, and adult division with a grand prize for the overall winner. The event promises to be great fun for the novice too.

See the attachment to sign up today and encourage others to sign up too! Sponsorship signs are also available for 12-Gauge Level Sponsors!


Real America TV, a new network planning a national launch on the 4th of July, 2014, is filming its first major production at a custom hot rod shop located in Mena, Arkansas. The company, Street & Performance on #1 Hot Rod Lane, will be home of a reality TV show called Mountain Motors.


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The State Agencies and Governmental Affairs House and Senate Committees met in Mena last week to hear directly from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism [ADPT], the governing body of Arkansas State Parks, on multiple delays and a termination of contract with WAI [Wade Abernathy, Inc.].

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runloveFebruary 22 marks the inaugural LOViT 100K endurance trail run.  Trail runners from across the region are signed on to take on the 62 mile race course that includes rocky, rolling hills and expansive views of Lake OuachitaThe Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) is a popular hiking and mountain biking trail near Mount Ida that winds along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita.

According to the race website, the 100K route will cover the current Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, with a few modifications. The start line will be at the Crystal Springs pavilion, 15 miles west of Hot Springs, and follow the trail to the west end (Denby Bay) before coming back to Crystal Springs and heading out to the east end (Brady Mountain Road) and back to the finish at Crystal Springs Pavilion.


A look at the neat medal that will be given to finishers of the race.

For the most part, the course is single track terrain with a tiny portion being forest service road. The single track sections are a mix of rough, rocky climbs and smooth pine bed trail. Of note, rocks and roots are a strong feature on this course and, depending on seasonal rainfall, multiple wet creek crossings too. Plans are also in the works to expand the 2015 event to include the 100 mile distance. When this happens, it will be the second such event (the Arkansas Traveler 100 is the first) in Arkansas. To learn more about the LOViT 100K visit

Date: Saturday Nov. 2nd.
The festival takes visitors back to the days when most families grew a field of cane and made their sorghum every fall. Sorghum, or molasses as it is sometimes called, was a staple in most families that carried them through the winter.

The tradition takes center stage on the museum grounds each fall. According to Emilie Kinney, Director of the Heritage House Museum via a news release, the cane is brought in from the field and squeezed on site using two mills. “The small one is operated by a harnessed mule and the larger one is engine driven. The think green juice is cooked until it reaches just the right consistency of rich amber syrup.”

There will be free sampling of sorghum on site and other sorghum products available for tasting and buying.

Cane was grown, along with other crops, so a family could have sorghum molasses throughout the year. The stalks were hauled by wagon to the mill. Powered by a horse or mule, the mill pressed the juice from the cane. Then the juice was cooked in a copper pan until it reached the right consistency for molasses.

Folks at the museum are harnessing mules to operate the mill for grinding and juicing and will have sorghum cooking.

Rural families depended on sorghum as a kitchen staple during the winter months. It provided nutrients and was a standard sweetener in most homes. Many folks recall the typical breakfast of hot biscuits, butter and thick sorghum.

There is no fee to attend the festival. Activities will start at 10 a.m. and will “ probably last till mid-afternoon.” The Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County is at 819 Luzerne St.

August 23rd and 24th

From 7pm to 9pm

on South Mena Street.

4 Person Scramble

$400 per Team

Shotgun Start At 8:00 A.M.


*Late registration subject to availability.

Location: Glenwood Country Club

Contact: Call 479-394-RMCC, ext. 1220

Good Ol' Days

Friday May 24th
Saturday May 25th

8:00am - 9:00pm

Phone: 870-867-2723

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