Ouachita National Forest receives 2 Honor Awards | Environment
HOT SPRINGS, Ark – In November 2011, the Ouachita National Forest and partners received two significant Regional awards for volunteer work and natural resource restoration. The Southern Region Honor Awards recognize the tremendous work of employees and partners and their commitment to public service and are selected from nominations from 13 States – from Virginia to Florida and Oklahoma – as well as Puerto Rico.
The Ouachita All-Terrain Vehicle Club (OAC) was honored for its dedicated volunteer trail maintenance work. The group began in 2007 with a common vision to see the Wolf Pen Gap Trail Complex near Mena, Arkansas, succeed as an example of a sustainable off-highway vehicle trail system. Since then, they have donated thousands of hours of labor, secured grant funds, and acquired erosion control materials for use on the trails. Club members have installed rolling dips, added trail surface material, seeded and mulched, and even installed and maintained animal-proof trash cans at strategic points throughout the trail complex. Mena-Oden District Ranger Tim Oosterhous said, “The OAC has accomplished so much in four years, and with its growing membership (over 250 members) and broad recognition as an outstanding volunteer organization, its future is bright. They are highly deserving of this recognition for their volunteer efforts.” Several key members have been instrumental in coordinating the volunteer work—Tim Kiser, Jeff Cunningham, Pam Ferguson, and Roger Morphew have led the way, contributing over 800 hours themselves so far this year.
The second award recognized Poteau Ranger District employee Warren Montague for his outstanding work associated with shortleaf-pine bluestem ecosystem restoration and red-cockaded woodpecker recovery efforts. “While I’m pleased that Warren was recognized with an award, what I am most proud of is what he accomplished on the land with respect to the restoration and recovery efforts,” noted Ouachita National Forest Supervisor Norman Wagoner. “Warren’s exceptional work in the recovery of the red-cockaded woodpecker started in 1978 and has resulted in the population increasing from 32 adult birds in 1990 to 137 adult birds in 2010. He championed the recovery of this small Ouachita Mountain population when others might have been content to allow it to fade from the area.”