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Contact: Keith A. Jefferson, 870-356-2798
Buffalo River Backcountry Horsemen recently hosted a barbeque at the Tyler Bend Pavillion to congratulate and thank the Buffalo National River trail crew and National Park Service staff for their efforts in renovating a section of the Buffalo River Trail above Woolum.
The joint effort between NPS and BRBH began in 2009 with Recreational Trail Grant funds from the Arkansas Highway Department. These funds originate from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and represent a portion of the motor fuel excise tax collected from non-highway recreational fuel use: fuel used for off-highway recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-highway light trucks.
As a result of this funding, Buffalo River Backcountry Horsemen received grant funding in 2009 to renovate a three-mile portion of the old county roadbed of the Buffalo River Trail: An area full of jagged rock outcroppings formed through years of wind, rain, and traffic. The trail section, which is above the popular Woolum camping and trailhead areas, runs high along a scenic ridge between Ben Branch and Robertson Hill. Renovations along this roadbed included restoring the tread and installing drainage features to protect the trail against future wear and erosion.
In order to receive the grant, Backcountry Horsemen, who were the sponsors, pledged a 20% match or $4320 worth of "sweat equity," and they worked with NPS trail crews during a six-week period last summer. After the work was completed, the BRBH volunteer contribution amounted to over 556 hours--or a value of $7920, and the renovations provided tremendous improvements to that section of the popular Buffalo River Trail.As part of the celebration, Superintendent Kevin Cheri received a check for $16,741 from the Backcountry Horsemen for the work done by the NPS trail crew during the project, and NPS Trail Crew and BRBH enjoyed spending the afternoon together around the barbeque without picks, shovels, or sledge hammers in hand. …And all those in attendance vowed to continue working together on future projects!