Gulf Mountain WMA Nature Trail Opens April 28

By Arkansas Game and Fish

First posted on 04-17-2009

It’s time to get out and enjoy springtime in Arkansas and hiking is one of the best ways to appreciate the state’s wonders. Beginning April 28, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will officially open the Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area Post Oak Savanna Nature Trail and Auto Tour. Gulf Mountain WMA is in Van Buren County about 12 miles southwest of Clinton.

The new trail will feature both a driving tour and a short hiking trail that will allow visitors a close-up look at the post-oak savanna and the wildlife that thrives in this habitat. Interpretive signs will describe the history of the area, the importance of prescribed fire and other management techniques.

Savannas once covered much of Arkansas and look different than the forests we’re accustomed to today, explains AGFC Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Kirsten Bartlow. “Trees are less dense in savannas and native bunch grasses and forbs grow in these areas. Savannas represent an important part of the state’s natural heritage. Sadly much of it has been lost,” she said. “But, the AGFC is committed to restoring these landscapes to benefit wildlife and provide enjoyment for the people of Arkansas and all future generations,” she added.

Gulf Mountain WMA contains about 14,000 acres of which approximately 1,000 are in fields in various stages of succession. Timber resources in the WMA contain approximately 65 percent hardwood and 35 percent pine. Hardwood type on the southern exposures is predominantly post oak-blackjack oak type. The northern slope hardwoods are predominantly red oaks and white oaks. The major plant communities on the area include red oak, white oak, hickory, pine, pine oak, post oak and black oak. Topography is gently rolling to mountainous with elevation ranging from 700 feet on the south fork of the Little Red River to 1,500 feet on the higher ridges.

The dedication of the trail will begin at 10 a.m. For more information on the trail go to Gulf Mountain WMA Post Oak Savanna Nature Trail and Auto Tour or contact Bartlow at (501) 993-3910.