Trail Work Begins on Wolf Pen Gap in Mena

Zoie Clift


Forest officials have begun working on
a number of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails at Wolf Pen Gap in Mena. Work is ongoing
on four trails that are the focus of an emergency stabilization project. The
trails have been pinpointed as a source of increased sedimentation in nearby
streams and the Ouachita River. Other trails at Wolf Pen Gap remain open at
this time.


According to Acting District Ranger Jim
McCoy the work is part of an Interim Management Plan to stop heavy sediment
movement off some trails. 

A long-term strategy for the popular
trail system is in the works. In the meantime forest employees, partners and
volunteers have begun the interim work necessary to maintain and, in some
places, reroute the trails.


The following trail segments are part
of the project:

1. The east end of Trail 8, also known
as “Rattlesnake” (OHV traffic will be rerouted to Road 95)

2. Trail 836

3. Trail 4 from the intersection of
Trail 6 to the intersection of Trail 614

4. Trail 8 from the intersection of Trail 826 to Trail 836.


According to McCoy, the future of the
trails being worked on will be determined through required environmental work. Public involvement is a key component of that work. 

To date, the Forest Service has been
working with partners including the Arkansas Trailblazers, Ouachita ATV Club,
The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


On a side note,
a public meeting to discuss alternatives for the
trail system is scheduled for Dec. 14 from 6-8 p.m. at the Rich
Mountain Community College lecture hall. The meeting is a forum to discuss why
and how alternatives for Wolf Pen Gap are being developed and to receive early
feedback from the public about the range of
alternatives. Managers will consider public feedback as they start analyzing
alternatives for the trail system. For more information on Wolf Pen
Gap, contact the Mena Ranger District at 479- 394-2382.


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