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Outdoors briefs

by Bryan Hendricks | November 8, 2020 at 3:41 a.m.

Taking applications for youth deer hunt

MOUNTAIN HOME -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking applications from youth hunters to participate in a special muzzleloader deer hunt Dec. 12-13 at the Ozark Isle Park/Dry Run area on Bull Shoals Lake. Eight permits will be issued to hunter education graduates ages 15 and under.

Applicants must submit a completed application form, including their hunter education identification number, by Nov. 27. Corps of Engineers officials in Mountain Home have scheduled the random drawing and hunter notification on Nov. 30.

For safety, hunting blinds will be provided. An unarmed adult older than 21 must accompany youth hunters during the hunt. Youth hunters will be limited to muzzleloaders only.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for covid-19 such as masks and social distancing will be in place while checking in for the hunt and checking in any harvested deer after the hunt.

Application forms are available at the Corps of Engineers office at 324 West 7th St. in Mountain Home or by contacting the hunt organizer at (870) 425-2700, ext. 1433. Visit www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at facebook.com/littlerockusace and on Twitter at twitter.com/usacelittlerock for more information.

U.S. representatives tour damaged WMA

BALD KNOB -- U.S. Reps. French Hill and Bruce Westerman met with representatives from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Ducks Unlimited Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area on Tuesday to talk about the future of green timber duck hunting in The Natural State.

Hill and Westerman observed wildlife habitat that has been chronically damaged by excessive flooding during the last decade.

Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA is one of 40 green tree reservoirs that the Game and Fish Commission manages. About 800 acres of timber have died at the WMA and another 600 acres are in jeopardy of dying, said Brad Carner, chief of the Game and Fish Commission's wildlife management division.

"Much of the problem is how high the White River has been flowing in the last decade," Carner said. "But we also need to address how quickly we can get that water off the area when we have the chance. All of our water-control structures throughout the entire GTR system are undersized for the amount of water we need to move."

Carner said it will cost $60 million to renovate and upgrade infrastructure at green tree reservoirs. He said the Hurricane Lake deadening prompted the Game and Fish Commission to reevaluate how it manages these systems and what steps are needed to continue offering sustainable, high-quality public waterfowl hunting.

"Arkansas has more than 100,000 duck hunters buy stamps every year here and it's a major part of our economy in this part of the state," Fitts said. "The timber value of the lost trees aside, the recreation loss to our hunters and the economy is huge. Duck hunting is estimated to have an economic impact of $70 million each year in Arkansas. And the value of this habitat to the ducks throughout the flyway can't be measured."

Parks get new trails

Central Arkansas residents and visitors will soon gain access to a 28-mile network of trails -- including the recently opened Monument Trail system at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, and planned trails at River Mountain Park and Two Rivers Park in Little Rock.

Recently opened are 13 miles of the Monument Trail system, designed and crafted at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Grants totaling $2.6 million from the Walton Family Foundation to the Arkansas Parks & Recreation Foundation support the work, which will produce world-class hiking, trail running and mountain biking experiences in Central Arkansas.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park, which will soon add 5 miles of trails, will be accessible to River Mountain and Two Rivers Parks through the newly improved shared lane on Pinnacle Valley Road.

The trail development at River Mountain Park and Two Rivers Park will provide more than 10 miles of mountain bike trails in the heart of Little Rock. The River Mountain development will feature numerous downhill sections which will encompass more than 300 feet of elevation change. A beginner's bike skill park will be built at Two Rivers Park.

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