LOViT – Once again the sound of power tools and grunting volunteers can be heard as The Traildogs work to replace lumber on the Watchable Wildlife Trail on the LOViT.
The Watchable Wildlife Trail is an ADA accessible part of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) created to provide everyone, regardless of their limitations, access to the trail. The Watchable Wildlife Trail is approximately 1,25 miles ADA accessible trail that includes an elevated walkway along the banks of the Ouachita River. The walkway, which was completed in 2011, includes a raised walkway that is approximately one quarter of a mile long and connects with a bridge over Gap Creek. The trail was paid for in large part through a grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The construction was coordinated between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Traildogs.
About a year ago visitors to the trail and volunteers began to notice some of the wood on the ADA accessible walkway had begun to rot. After a more thorough inspection of the walkway it was determined that the areas affected had been built from YellaWood, a pressure treated pine product designed for outdoor use.
YellaWood was one of two types of treated lumber used to create the ADA accessible part of the LOViT. Stacy Sigman, USACE Resource Manager, stated that once they discovered the problem they contacted the manufacturers of YellaWood about the problem. He added that representatives of USACE and the Traildogs met with company representatives who also examined the damaged lumber.
It was determined that the lumber was defective and Yellawood promptly replaced the lumber. With a new pile of lumber the Traildogs have once again set to rebuilding the walkway that provides everyone with some of the best breathtaking views along Lake Ouachita.
The Corps of Engineers and the Traildogs are very appreciative of the prompt response from the makers of YellaWood and are already hard at work on repairing the walkway.
Sigman stated that about one third of the walkway was constructed with the affected Yellawood. Traildogs Al Gathright and Robert Cavannaugh added that about 1,000 feet of the walkway would need to be replaced with most of the work being on the decking.
The Traildogs got a work day in a couple weeks ago before cold weather shut down work on the walkway.
With warmer temperatures they began in earnest last week on the trail. The Corps of Engineers provided generators and tools to help with the work. Volunteers are taking a board by board approach, removing a few damaged boards at a time to be immediately replaced with new pieces of YellaWood.
The work is progressing nicely with around 200 feet of the walkway already repaired. The plan is that by replacing the walkway a few boards at a time they won’t have to close it down for repairs.
Sigman stated that the Corps of Engineers are fortunate to have a group like the Traildogs willing to work the LOViT. In return, the Traildogs offered their gratitude for the use of the generators and power tools.
The Watchable Wildlife Trail is located just off Highway 270 East. Turn onto Shangri La Road and then take the first left.
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) is a 45 mile trail that winds its way through the Ouachita National Forest. The Trail runs from Denby Point in Montgomery County to Blakely Dam in Garland County. Construction of the trail began over 15 years ago with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Corps of Engineers, The Traildogs, The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and a large amount of public support.
The LOViT is one of three IMBA Epic Mountain Biking Trails in Montgomery County.
For more information on the LOViT, or the Traildogs check them out online at lakeouachitavistatrail.org.