On November 7 and 8th, 2009, the Ozark Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run, a point-to-point 100 mile ultra-marathon, will occur on the Ozark Trail through the Mark Twain National Forest in south central Missouri. The Ozark Trail Karkagne, Middle Fork, Trace Creek and Courtois Creek Sections will be used. Trail maps used by runners and crew and an elevation chart can be found on the St. Louis Ultrarunners Group website. Just one of the many runners will be Amy Palmiero-Winters who was featured in this article for her achievements (ultra marathoner with a prosthetic leg).
Several of our areas have been the focus of activity, and we report on them individually by district.
Big Spring, 8th District. As you know the National Park Service is preparing a Draft General Management Plan for Ozark National Scenic Riverways. This summer a series of public meetings were held to present preliminary management alternatives. The comment period, originally July 31, was extended to September 11. Two of the three action alternatives proposed designation of the Park Service’ portion of the Big Spring Wilderness (3536 acres on Ozark National Scenic Riverways; 4512 acres on Mark Twain National Forest).
We know that there were many of you who contacted the National Park Service to support preservation of Big Spring Wilderness, and to correct the many problems facing management of the Riverways. Thanks to everyone. We hope to hear more about the results of that public comment soon and will report back.
Lower Rock Creek Wilderness, 8th District. ‘Lashley Cemetary’ is a 243-acre project within our Lower Rock Creek area. While it is billed as a salvage project it includes cutting blown down trees and developing associated roads. This would not be done when it becomes designated a Wilderness, and must not be done now. We oppose this ill-advised and unnecessary intrusion and urge that you write to the Mark Twain National Forest. Here is the web link for more specific information: http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/marktwain/projects/projects/50904/
Bell Mountain, 8th District. A splendid Wilderness, designated in 1980, with deep valleys, extensive forest, and scenic vistas of the St. Francois Mountains. Recently there have been reports that the growing scourge of feral hogs in Missouri has reached the hollows of Bell Mountain. The Forest Service has reached out to MWC for support in eradicating this menace to wildlife, vegetation, and water quality. We have encouraged them to deal with the threat aggressively. Please report any sightings of feral hogs at Bell Mountain or any other designated or proposed Wilderness to the Forest Service and also to MWC. Feral hogs are a problem Missouri does not need.
Smith Creek, 9th District. Earlier this year Wallis Warren, a member of MWC affiliate Ozarks Fly Fishers, helped set up a meeting with Ninth District Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer. Several mid-Missouri wilderness supporters met with the Congressman regarding the proposal. Photographs, a map with boundaries, written descriptions, and other background information were provided to the Congressman at that meeting. He expressed a positive interest in pursuing the designation of Smith Creek.
We are staying in touch with Congressman Luetkemeyer on this important issue and look forward to helping make this happen.
Swan Creek Wilderness, 7th District. This spring we prepared an area-specific packet for Swan Creek and had several folks from the district deliver this information and discuss it with Congressman Roy Blunt. Water quality is one of the district’s most important issues and protecting Swan Creek as Wilderness protects one of the highest quality streams in all of Missouri.
Horseback riders use Swan Creek and there has been interest expressed from the Show-Me Missouri Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of America regarding our wilderness proposal. Wilderness and backcountry issues are basic to their interests. In fact, horse use has always been an integral part of western wilderness and is an important use of several of our wilderness areas in Missouri as well.
This summer we participated in a discussion about horses and wilderness with members of the Sho-Me Missouri Chapter of BCHA and a couple of their national members/staff. There is no mention of specific wilderness use in the Wilderness Act of 1964 and this spring an omnibus wilderness bill passed Congress that included language regarding horse use of trails while maintaining wilderness standards. We, along with members of the BCHA, are considering how we might adopt this national language in an appropriate way for Swan Creek Wilderness, and how BCHA can help and support our campaign. Working together we can have a stronger voice for Swan Creek Wilderness and for all Missouri wilderness.
Preparing for 2010:
There are important issues on the national agenda and wilderness has not been one of them. With your help, when an opportunity arises for Missouri wilderness legislation, we will be ready.
Let’s all keep up the good work and strong voice for the wilderness of our state!
Missouri Wilderness Coalition
P.O. Box 377
Boss, MO 65440
(573) 626-1021 or (314) 602-6639