Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT), non-profit organization of trail users dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.


Friends of the Ouachita Trail president Bo Lea welcomes you to FoOTnotes! This page containes news of interest to FoOT volunteers and supporters.  The “semi-occasional” entries on the page are designed to bring you up-to-date on the events and projects in which FoOT is currently engaged. A lot is happening with FoOT and we are excited about its future!
FoOT President Bo Lea Backpacking the OT

Click here for 2014 FoOTnotes Archive

Click here for 2015 FoOTnotes Archive Click here for 2016 FoOTnotes Archive 2017 FoOTnotes: West End Maintenance Event a Great Success November 2, 2017 FoOT had a very successful maintenance event in late October. Almost 30 miles of the trail were worked in the most difficult portion of the Ouachita Trail.  Total hours worked was 891. Volunteers travelled a total of 7,050 miles to attend this event. I want to thank each volunteer for your hard work and support of FoOT and its mission to maintain and improve the OT. Special thanks to Brenda and the kitchen crew for their effort to keep us all fed, not a small task in a camping setting with very cold temperatures. We really appreciated having the Texas Conservation Corp crew with us. They worked a total of 8 days and proved to be hard workers and fun to be around. Their efforts went a long way in making our outstanding results. The FoOT Board will be looking at 2018 for possibly the second annual event. Thanks again for your time, effort, gas, and overall support for the Oklahoma maintenance event.  I know we cleared lots of trail but it was just as important to have FoOT volunteers come together, many for the first time, to work as a team. It was great for me to meet many of you and now have a face behind the name. Look forward to working with you in the future. Here are the statistics: Trail Work Hours Texas Conservation Corp 448 hours 8 days 10/24-31 FoOT Volunteers 31 hours 2 days 10/25-26 FoOT Volunteers 412 hours 3 days 10/27-29 Total 891 work hours for event Trail Sections Worked OT from Panorama Vista (MM 5.0) to Winding Stairs shelter (MM 25.0) 20.0 miles OT Kiamichi Trailhead (MM 39.2) to Kiamichi Mt. turn (MM 43.8) 4.6 miles OT Kiamichi Trail head (MM39.3) to most of Wilton Mt. (MM 36.3) 3.0 miles OT Stateline (MM 46.3) to Forest Road 514 (MM 47.8) 1.5 miles                                                                                               TOTAL 29.1 miles All the trail sections listed above are now status Green (Clear Trail)! Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 Bolea66@Gmail.com MM209-MM211 Trail Closure UPDATE Posted October 10, 2017 MM209-M211 is back open with a Yellow caution.  Raven Lawson from CAW says the thinning is completed but there may be some equipment on the road so please stay on the trail and off the access road.  FoOT Annual Meeting October 28, 2017 October 8, 2017 The Annual meeting of the membership of Friends of the Ouachita Trail will be held Saturday, October 28 at the Cedar Lake Recreation area in Oklahoma.  It will be part of the major maintenance event being held that weekend. Time will be 6:30 p.m. following the evening meal, which will be furnished by FoOT.  Activities will take place at the pavilion in the equestrian camping area on the west side of the recreation area.  Even if you are not are part of the maintenance event, come and celebrate FoOT’s hard work and successes during the past year.  Please notice the RSVP request at the end of this message.    Primary Business of Meeting:  Election of three directors FoOT is governed by nine directors, elected by the membership.  Directors serve three-years, staggered terms, with three directors elected every year.   Board nominations for 2018 are Ron Mayfield, Carolyn Shearman and Dennis Ward.  Whether or not you plan to attend the meeting, please vote.  Membership participation is important. Other Business:  There will be a report of highlights of FoOT accomplishments and progress during the past year and the plans/challenges for the coming year.  Also, this is an opportunity for you, the members, to give your feedback to the directors.  Other business may be introduced from the floor. Maintenance Event: Anyone who has not signed up for the maintenance event for Friday, Saturday, & Sunday (10/27-29) please let us know by October 15th for planning purposes. We have over 30 signed up but can always use more help - lots of trail and lots of work. Please refer back to previous email for details.     Please RSVP:  It is extremely important that we have an accurate headcount for the annual meeting & the maintenance event so we can order the appropriate amount of food. If you haven’t already done so, please let us know if you plan to attend and for what days. Please respond no later than October 15th  if you plan to attend the annual meeting and/or the maintenance event. You may respond… By mail: FoOT, PO Box 8630, Hot Springs, AR 71910 By email:  CLICK HERE I look forward to seeing many of you all there. Bo Lea, President Friends of the Ouachita Trail FoOT Announces West End Maintenance Event - October 27th, 28th & 29th Posted September 15, 2017 Friends   of   the   Ouachita   Trail’s   completion   of   the   Ouachita   Trail   shelter   system   last   year,   marked   the   end   of   an   amazing three and a half years of effort to add this enhancement to the trail.  FoOT   is   planning   the   largest   trail   maintenance   event   ever   on   the   Ouachita   Trail,   October   27 th ,   28 th ,   and   29 th .      FoOT volunteers   will   carry   out   a   major   effort   on   the   west   end   of   the   OT.      The   base   of   operations   will   be   the   Forest   Service facility   at   the   Cedar   Lake   Recreation   Area.      Cedar   Lake   is   located   12   miles   south   of   Heavener,   Oklahoma   and   40   miles west of Mena, Arkansas.  Access is off Holson Valley Road, which goes west off Highway 270. FoOT   will   be   using   the   equestrian   camping   area   and   its   pavilion.      All   provided   meals   will   be   at   this   pavilion.      There   are   a lot   of   spaces   for   dry   camping   and   tents.      Showers   and   restrooms   are   available.      Adjacent   to   this   area   is   the   Sandy   Beach Camping   loop,   which   will   have   spaces   available   for   those   needing   electric   and   water   hookups.      These   sites   will   be available at no cost to the volunteers.  Accommodations will be available Thursday through Sunday. Breakfast   will   be   provided   by   FoOT   on   Friday,   Saturday,   and   Sunday   mornings   at   7:30   a.m.      Dinner   on   Friday   and Saturday   night   will   also   be   provided   at   5:30   p.m.      Drinks   and   eating   utensils   will   be   provided.      Volunteers   will   need   to bring their own trail food for lunch.  Make   plans   to   be   involved   in   this   special   event.      Join   us   for   just   1   or   2   days   if   your   schedule   does   not   work   for   the   entire time.      For   planning   of   the   food,   accommodations,   and   work   teams,   please   let   us   know   by   no   later   than   October   15th   of your plans to attend and what accommodations you will need. There are motels in Heavener and cabins available at Big Cedar if you would rather go that route.  We   hope   to   work   on   several   miles   of   trail   but   we   want   the   time   to   be   full   of   fun   and   a   chance   to   build   the   FoOT   team.     On Saturday night, FoOT will have its brief annual meeting after the evening meal. It   will   be   a   great   time   to   be   out   on   the   OT   with   the   fall   weather   and   the   fall   colors   at   their   peak.      Join   with   other volunteers for a special time in the Ouachita Mountains. Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 Bolea66@Gmail.com Seeking Candidates for Board and Officer Positions September 4, 2017 FoOT is governed by nine directors, who the membership elects each fall. This fall we have three board positions to fill, and are seeking candidates for these positions. Board members serve a three year term. Those elected this fall will serve 2018 through 2020 (with two additional terms allowed). During that time, you would be expected to attend three to four meetings a year, to help provide overall guidance to the organization, to participate in the election of our operating officers, and to approve and monitor our financial position. Candidates for the Board positions must be identified by September 29th.   The Board elects the operating officers, which serve for the calendar year. Operating officers include the President, four Vice-Presidents (Maintenance, Resources Membership, and Community Relations), and a Secretary / Treasurer. Candidates for officer positions must be identified by the end of the year December 31. If you would like to nominate someone for the Board or wish to serve yourself, please let me know at Bolea66@Gmail.com  or our Secretary / Treasurer, Richard Lawrence at law28@aristotle.net.  There are numerous positions of service within FoOT. You will be receiving information in a couple of weeks regarding our FoOT annual meeting.  It will be held on Saturday, October 28th, 2017 at the Cedar Lake Recreation Area in Oklahoma during our big fall maintenance event.  Further information on the annual meeting will follow.  Your support of Friends of the Ouachita Trail is greatly appreciated.  A lot of good things are happening on the OT, we hope you can be involved. Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 cell Bud Lloyd Memorial Posted August 4, 2017 Friends of the Ouachita Trail would like to express our appreciation to Jeff Lloyd and his family for making the FoOT endowment the memorial for Jeff's Dad.  Bud Lloyd was very fond of the trail and Jeff said his Dad would feel proud to know that he helped perpetuate the use of the trail.  All memorial contributions will be placed in the FoOT endowment, which has been established for the purpose of providing a perpetual source of funding for the maintenance and improvement of the Ouachita Trail.  Only earned funds from the endowment will be used, leaving the principal in place.  Contributions can be made through pay pal on the FoOT web site or send to P.O. Box 8630, Hot Springs, Ar. 71910. It is an honor for FoOT to be named as Bud's memorial. Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 cell Trail Shelter Project Dedication April 21, 2017 Posted March 22, 2017 On Friday, April 21, 2017, FoOT and the U.S. Forest Service will dedicate the completed shelter system for the Ouachita Trail in the National Forest.  Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a reception and refreshments. This will be followed by the dedication program at 10:30 a.m.  CLICK HERE for directions to Suck Mountain, the location for the dedication and the 12th and last shelter that was built. Volunteers will direct traffic from the turn-off at FR 149 and a shuttle service will be provided as needed for the last 2/3 mile up the new road to the shelter. I hope many of you will be able to attend. The shelter project was the largest undertaking in the history of FoOT and also is one the largest-ever improvements to the Ouachita Trail.  We want to show our appreciation to our many volunteers and the assisting Forest Service personnel. Drop me a note if you think you will be attending to assist us in planning the logistics. Thanks! Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 cell Trail Shelter Grant Received - Dedication Scheduled Posted March 9, 2017 Friends of the Ouachita Trail has received 3/8/17 a trail grant check from the Arkansas Highway Department in the amount of $29,270.  This grant made possible the last 3 shelters (Turner Gap, Story Creek, and Suck Mtn.) constructed by FoOT.  With the completion of Suck Mtn. Shelter on November 11th, 2016 it marked the end of an effort to build 12 new shelters on the OT and was done in a little under four years.  An amazing accomplishment by a great group of volunteers. On April 21st at 10 a.m. on Suck Mountain a dedication will be held for the completed shelter system that includes the new ones on the west end as well as the 9 older shelters on the eastern part of the OT.  Additional details will be posted by the end of March but you can mark your calendar now. Bo Lea FoOT President 501-622-8809 cell Trail Closure Notice – Temporary - UPDATE Posted February 17, 2017  I wanted to let you know that we've actually reopened that section of the trail again, temporarily. I didn't have confirmation of this until this morning. Trail users are asked to "proceed with caution." My forester doesn't anticipate for it to close again before April, but we will keep you posted to the status. Originally Posted on December 20, 2016 As of tomorrow morning (12/20/2016), we will be once again be temporarily closing the section of trail through the timber thinning area. This closure is expected to last about 2 weeks. I’ve been told that the current cleanup activities will not affect the trail, however, I have chosen to close it as a precautionary measure. The reason for this short closure is to clean up the logs that were left behind by the previous contractor. This will NOT complete the activity. We will reopen the trail once this area is cleaned and cleared and expect to re-close it again in late Spring for approximately 4 weeks. (Editors Note: The impacted area is mile marker 209 to Highway 300 (MM209-211.5) or from near Lundsford corner and west of there for 2 miles.) Raven L. Lawson Watershed Protection Manager Central Arkansas Water O: (501) 223-1857 C: (501) 940-6129 Arkansas Gives Posted on February 17, 2017 On April 6, 2017, Friends of the Ouachita Trail is participating in Arkansas Gives. It runs between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.  Arkansas Gives is challenging all Arkansans to give to the charities of their choice.  During this one-day event, each donation you give will help your favorite nonprofit organizations qualify for additional bonus dollars from Arkansas Community Foundation. All participating nonprofits will receive a portion of a pool of bonus dollars provided by Arkansas Community Foundation; the more a nonprofit raises, the more of the bonus dollars it will receive.  https://www.arkansasgives.org/   Carolyn Shearman VP Community Relations Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT) tucshea@gmail.com Shelter Dedication Posted on February 17, 2017 FoOT has completed all 21 shelters and will have a shelter dedication this April 21st at the Suck Mt. Shelter starting at 10:00 a.m. Save the date and you will be hearing more from President Bo Lea on this soon!   Carolyn Shearman VP Community Relations Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT) tucshea@gmail.com West End Clean-up Posted on February 17, 2017 FoOT will be having a West End Clean-up and general meeting October 27-29, 2017 to clear MM0-Big Cedar.  Save the date and plan for some work, good food, and campfire stories!   Carolyn Shearman VP Community Relations Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT) tucshea@gmail.com