News (35)


ARCO Launches “One More Day” Branding Initiative



[MENA] The Arkansas Coalition of the Ouachitas has just announced a new branding initiative called “One More Day”.  “The purpose of the branding initiative is to develop a brand – a common theme and graphic that can be used to market the many things to see and do in the ARCO region (Montgomery, Polk, and Scott Counties),” states Gar Eisele, ARCO Chair.  “We want to encourage visitors to stay one more day in the region.”

This initiative is sponsored by the Partners for a Vibrant Sustainable Future, a collaboration between the Arkansas Coalition of the Ouachitas, Rich Mountain Community College, and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

“Thousands of people visit the ARCO region each year, and they often are not aware of the many things to see and do in each of the three ARCO counties,” states Carla Vaught, ARCO Board Member and Polk County Extension Agent.  “Based on the 2013 Arkansas Tourism Annual Report, if we can entice them to stay one more day in the region, this would increase travel and tourism by 31%- an increase in travel and tourism, expenditures in the region by $16.5 million.  This would support our travel and tourism businesses, increase jobs, and increase local government tax revenues.”

The ARCO brand logo would be used in many ways, such as on websites, signage, advertising,  printed materials, e-mail, social media, press release and banners. In addition, organizations and businesses would be invited to add this brand logo with a hotlink to their websites and use it in their marketing efforts.

Because a great brand expresses who a community is and what it offers, the public is encouraged to go on-line to complete the branding survey here:

ARCO Survey

If you would like an ARCO board member to discuss this with your organization, contact Tammy Young, ARCO Board Member and Community Relations Director for Rich Mountain Community College at 479-394-7622.

Creating a brand for the region – a logo and slogan that expresses who we are and what have to offer, is the first step in this process.  If we are successful in encouraging our visitors to stay ”one more day”, we will all benefit, Eisele concluded.


Good Old Days show on May 24 mixes cars and clovers

Fast facts

  • Good Old Days Festival car show May 24 mixes cars and clovers
  • More than a dozen divisions from pre-1949 vehicles to 2014 models
  • For more information, contact Brad McGinley, 870-867-2311

MOUNT IDA, Ark. -- The Good Old Days Festival vehicle show on May 24 will be a mix of cars and clovers -- all to help Montgomery County’s 4-Hers raise money for their educational programs.

The festivities take place in the Montgomery County Courthouse Square in Mount Ida.

“Our 4-Hers are in charge of the show, which is a significant fund-raiser for our youth development activities,” said Brad McGinley, Montgomery County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

McGinley said about about 40 club members lend their hands to the effort.  

“The club members take registrations, obtain sponsors for the show and are in charge of the annual raffle that goes with the show,” he said, adding “they also help set up and take down everything involved with the show.” 

The show usually attracts about 100 entries from around the region. The show has nearly two dozen divisions covering cars dating from before 1949 to those in the 2014 model year. There are also divisions for muscle cars, street rods, antique motorcycles, trucks, Jeeps, Corvettes, and even one for best fixer-upper.

“The antique motorcycles are always a big attraction,” McGinley said.

4-H members will also be on hand to help hand out the trophies.

Registration is $20 per vehicle and entries may check in between 8 a.m.-10 a.m. on the day of the show. Winners will be announced at 2 p.m. The first 100 entries get free T-shirts.

For more information about the show, contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at870-867-2311.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

By Cooperative Extension Service
U of A Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Building Futures Workshop Series

Can potential customers find you on the Internet?
If so, do they see what you reallywantthem to see? It’s time to find out!

Google is the #1 Internet search engine in the U.S. with over 12 billion monthly searches.
1 in 3 Google searches is a local search.
Learn how to maximize the visibility of your local business on Google
by attending a free Google Presence workshop in Mount Ida, Arkansas on May 15th.

Sponsored by: ARCO (Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas),
the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce,
and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

Seating is limited, sign up today!

Google Presence Workshop
117 Ray Dr. (county annex)
Mount Ida, Arkansas 71957

May 15
12noon-1:30pm (brown bag)

May 15
6:00 – 7:30pm

Register by telephone at 870-867-2311


Heritage Day Saturday May 3rd

Arcostrong would like to invite everyone to the 6th Annual Heritage Day on Saturday May 3rd. The event will take place in the Heritage House Museum of Montgomery County located at 819 Luzerne St. Mt. Ida. Demos and Activities inculude Post Turning, Throwning Pottery, making hominy, crosscut sawing, butter churning and MUCH MORE! The festivities start at 10:00AM and go until 2:00PM. For questions please call 870-867-4422.

Cya'll there!


The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is Complete!

byZoie Clift

The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail ( LOViT) is now complete! Twelve years of planning and construction went into the building the trail, which was built in segments over the course of those years with the help of a group of volunteers known as the Traildogs. A ribbon cutting last week marked the special occasion.

The trail includes around 45 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita. The trail, which is near Mount Ida, was built in sections and was a joint effort of many groups and agencies in the area to link the resorts and campgrounds around Lake Ouachita together via a trail system. The trail meanders through the Ouachita National Forest with spurs providing lake vista and the route is sanctioned by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).

The route was created with a specific goal in mind: as a means for people to enjoy the beauty of Lake Ouachita without being in or on the water. The route was designed for all levels and attracts a wide range of users. Parts of the trail are handicapped accessible and groups ranging from ultra runners to mountain bikers make use of the varied terrain.

The trail consists of a number of trail segments, along with some short out-and-back or loop spurs leading off a trail segment. Many trailhead signs can be seen along Hwy 270 for the different routes.

Many congratulations to the Traildogs, the never tiring group of volunteers ( led by Jerry Shields) who provided support in the design, planning, and construction of the route. I got a chance to meet some of the crew last year including Shields, Al Gathright, and Robert Cavanaugh. The group has a very resourceful website if you might want to learn more about the history of the trail or the different routes.

According to copy written by Dan Watson on the site, twelve years ago, Shields and Gathright began an effort to create the trail with the intent to provide both a hiking and biking trail and an attraction to the area that would help bring "shoulder season" traffic to the resorts, restaurants, crystal shops, and other businesses in the area.

"This tremendous accomplishment was carried out by many people and through strong coalitions with and support from the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Arkansas Game and Fish. Additionally, the project received significant grants from the Arkansas Highway Department, the National Recreational Trails program, Montgomery County and the Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Ouachita Resort Owners, the Montgomery County Health Advisory Committee, and from many private donations. On top of all the support were the just under 10,000 hours of volunteer labor put into the project. This has indeed been a monumental effort."

td25"While we celebrate this day with great joy, we also realize that the job to maintain and perhaps extend the trail is far from over," Watson said. "The Traildogs and those who benefit from the Trail look forward to the continued support of these special agencies and to ongoing support from the Trail's users and donors. And, of course, we always appreciate maintenance help from new Traildogs and other individuals and organizations. We sincerely thank you all."

For more information on the trail, visit


Forest Service Issues Draft Decision Notice on Management of Wolf Pen Gap


In press release issued by the U.S. National Forest Service, officials announced that a draft decision notice and final environmental assessment concerning the future of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails and mixed use roads at Wolf Pen Gap near Mena was released. today.  Mena-Oden District Ranger, Tim Oosterhous identified Alternative “I” as outlined in the Wolf Pen Gap Environmental Assessment, as the alternative he intends to select.

“This alternative leaves some existing motorized use designations for roads and trails in place, and results in some changed designations due to route relocations and decommissioning,” he said.

Currently 41.7 miles of roads and trails are available for OHV use at Wolf Pen Gap, either year-round or seasonally.  Key components of Alternative I define a trail system with 39.6 miles of routes, including mixed use routes and seasonal designations.  Designated routes will be open seasonally from the 2nd Friday of March each year, through Oct. 31.  Two holiday periods would open the trail system to OHV use:  from three days prior to Thanksgiving through two days after Thanksgiving, and from Dec. 25 through Jan. 2.

After learning of the release of the new plant, Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison, who has strongly advocated to keep Wolf Pen accessible, told The Pulse,

“It is important for Polk County that the Wolf Pen Gap trail system remains sustainable. The trail system provides recreational opportunities that benefit us economically and allows our citizens to access public lands that we have historically enjoyed. While the proposed EA alternative may not be perfect for us, we want to do everything possible to maintain water quality in our streams and rivers. We look forward to working with all of our partners on the implementation of the plan.”

Oosterhous spoke of the importance of the partnerships in developing the final plan, “We have looked at many options, discussed ideas with partners, trail riders, and community leaders, and held many community meetings on management of Wolf Pen Gap over the last four years,” said Oosterhous.  “We’ve developed great partnerships and accomplished work that we’re all really proud of.  We plan to continue in that same vein, working with partners, including volunteers, to provide an enjoyable and sustainable outdoor opportunity for OHV enthusiasts while protecting the valued resources in the area.”

Also instrumental in the efforts to keep Wolf Pen open has been Gar Eisele, ARCO Chair.

“We and our partners want to maintain a sustainable trail system at Wolf Pen Gap.  A trail system that provides a significant economic benefit to Mena and maintains the natural beauty and water quality of the of the rivers in the Wolf Pen Gap area.”

Those valued resources include water quality in Gap Creek and Board Camp Creek, two tributaries to the Ouachita River and a number of threatened, endangered and sensitive aquatic and plant species.  Monitoring the routes will be an important factor in protecting natural resources, particularly during rainy periods according to the Wet Weather Management Plan, an appendix to the Environmental Assessment.  The monitoring will be conducted by Forest Service employees, with assistance from volunteers, to determine if the amount of rainfall is enough to result in damage to the maintained trails, or in increased sedimentation in nearby tributaries.  If so, a temporary closure of the trail, generally short-term, will occur.

In addition to changes made to road and trail designations, a number of other actions would occur over the next 5 years in this popular area, including improvement of more than 269 stream crossings, construction of a foot trail to Hawk’s Gap overlook, installation of picnic tables at two vistas, construction of a pavilion at the North Trailhead, and obliteration and relocation of the “warm-up” trail at the West Trailhead parking lot.

Oosterhous believes his pending decision strikes the best balance between the community and trail users with the sustainability of natural resources.

The Wolf Pen Gap Project is subject to the objection process which allows individuals or entities who previously submitted timely and specific comments about the project during official public comment periods the right to object.  Objections will be accepted for 45 days beginning on the first day after publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

For more information on the Wolf Pen Gap Project, or to learn more on how to file an objection, visit,  call 479-394-2382, or stop by the Mena Ranger District Office, 1603 Highway 71 North, Mena, AR.



Conquer the Ouachita Challenge 2014

This will be the 14th year that the bicycling tour and race will be put on by the Ouachita Cycling Club. On April 5th, the 60-mile Tour will start from the Oden School campus. The riders will head towards the Ouachita Trail and do a mixture of single-track trail and road leading to the Womble Trail, which loops back towards the school where the riders will finish.

The Race on April 6th, is 60 miles as well, but instead of going around Blowout Mountain  on the Ouachita Trail, it goes over it.  Here the steep, rugged terrain and long rocky sections has most riders getting off to push their bikes, at least some of the time. The fastest winning time last year was 4 hours and 40 minutes. Most riders take 6 to 8 hours and some much longer than that! Winners in 4 categories get a cash prize and a trophy made locally from crystals mined at Wegner’s.

The weekend draws more than 500 cyclists and their families for the event and most of them are from out of state. This year’s registration shows riders from 13 states. They come back for pre-rides and vacations. Many seek lodging and restaurant services in Mena.

In order to put on a mountain bicycle event of this magnitude many volunteers are needed. On Saturday the bicyclists and their families and the volunteers are treated to a pancake breakfast and spaghetti dinner. On Sunday they have breakfast as well as post-race pizza. Polk County Development Center is in charge of coordinating all the food.

When the cyclists arrive at the school they head for the Registration area to get their race numbers, t-shirts, cycling socks and goody bags. CASA is in charge of organizing all of this.

To ensure the safety of the riders we have radio operators from the Ouachita Amateur Radio Club. First Responders and Volunteer Fire Departments in the area facilitate communication and emergency medical help, should it be needed.

The Tour is a more relaxed version of the race. The objective for most of the entrants is to see how much distance they can complete before a given cut-off time. As the cyclists pass through checkpoints on the course they receive colored wristbands. The Mt. Ida Trap Shoot team is in charge of checking each rider and counting the wristbands. On race day they separate the finishers from the riders who had to bail out.

We couldn’t have a race without a course. The Ouachita Mountains offer some of the best mountain bike single-track trails in the country. In fact, the Womble Trail near Pencil Bluff has earned Epic status by the International Mountain Bike Association.

Trails have to be maintained, especially after ice storms! The Ouachitas were badly hit in December and miles of trail were littered with fallen timber. FoOT (Friends of the Ouachita Trail) volunteers who were certified by the Forest Service as sawyers spent several days cutting and removing fallen branches and trees.

FoOT volunteers also serve as Course Marshals, directing riders and making sure that they stop for vehicular traffic on the highways. Five Aid Stations offering water, energy drinks, and snacks are manned by FoOT Volunteers.

We are very fortunate to have Oden Schools allow us to use their facilities. Riders eat in the cafeteria, being served meals prepared by the staff who put in many hours of overtime. Indoor camping is permitted in the gym. Students greet visitors and answer their questions.

The Ouachita Challenge is special for many reasons. For the cyclists, it is an early race in their season that allows them to hone their skills. Since all profits from the Tour and Race go to the community organizations and the school, it is a welcome source of revenue. Please make all of our visitors feel at home and say, “Y’all come back!”

Original Source:


RMCC Foundation - 3rd Annual Trap Shoot

The RMCC Foundation will be hosting the 3rd Annual Trap Shoot on Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. at the Mount Ida Shooting Range in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. The proceeds from this event will benefit RMCC students and the Mount Ida Trap Shooting Team.

Each year, this event has grown in participation and in sponsorship! First and second place awards are presented in three divisions; junior high, senior high, and adult division with a grand prize for the overall winner. The event promises to be great fun for the novice too.

See the attachment to sign up today and encourage others to sign up too! Sponsorship signs are also available for 12-Gauge Level Sponsors!

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