Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

TOP STORY >> Naturalists can obtain a four-color guide

By EILEEN FELDMAN
Leader Managing Editor

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and 12 partners have produced “Birding and Watchable Wildlife,” a guide to help wildlife enthusiasts catch glimpses of creatures in their natural surroundings. Also provided are viewing tips and viewing ethics.

The oversize folding brochure features full-color photography and sections devoted to wildlife found in Arkansas and highlighting the ivory-billed woodpecker and other endangered species. It is handy enough to keep in one’s glove box along with maps for forays into the country.

The map shows 95 viewing sites and provides detailed descriptions of each location.
Sites of interest are divided by geographical and geological location including the Mississippi Delta, Crowley’s Ridge, West Gulf Coastal Plain, Ouachita Moun-tains, Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark Mountains.

Among the notable sites to visit are the Henry Gray/Hurricane Lake WMA near Augusta and the Cache River Wildlife Refuge where the ivory-billed woodpecker was found; Holland Bottoms WMA at Lonoke, home to Great blue herons, green-backed herons, wading birds, woodpeckers and songbirds; Dagmar WMA and Rex Hancock Black Swamp, where the elusive Ivory-billed woodpecker has been spotted and filmed but which is also home to a number of water snakes, otters, raccoons, armadillos, cottontails, aquatic turtles, flycatchers, warblers, tri-colored herons, black ducks, indigo buntings, hawks and owls. The list of beautiful natural vistas is endless.

Also included is a list of highlighted species, including back bear, elk, the state’s 90 species of butterflies and endangered species including, of course, the ivory-billed woodpecker, the bald eagle and the Ozark big-eared bat just to name a few.
“The success of habitat preservation efforts in The Natural State is evident in the amazing rediscovery of the ivory-billed wood-pecker in the wetlands of eastern Arkansas, in the growing herd of elk reintroduced along the Buffalo National River in the northern Ozark Mountains and in the increasing numbers of black bears across the state,” said Richard Davies, Parks and Tourism executive director.

Partners who helped produce the guide are the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission; Arkansas Natural Resources Conservation Service; Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Inc.; Audu-bon Arkansas; Cornell Lab or Ornithology; Ducks Unlimited; The Nature Conservancy; The Trust for Public Land; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA Forest Service.

The guide is being distributed at Arkansas Welcome Centers and selected Visitor Centers and Arkansas State Parks.
It can also be downloaded at www.arkansas.com.