By: Kristina Beckham
Yo yo yo,
Here we go again, month two, same time, different place--Pea Ridge, to be exact, located in the outdoorsman’s state of Arkansas. Having lived in Saint Louis, Missouri for the majority of my life, Arkansas was always perceived as the state for the outdoorsman, where there was more wild than civilization. But anywho, for the next two months we will venture into the two national parks that we have visited the most thus far in Arkansas.
Pea Ridge National Park is located in Garfield in Northwestern Arkansas “The politically correct part of Arkansas,” says Nolan (one of the park workers we have had the pleasure of working with). Over the last three months we have helped clear out Eastern Red Cedars (Juniperus virginians) to restore the historic values of the park and to improve quail habitats. Also, we had the chance to work on one 353 acre prairie burn to clear cedar chips left from a previous year. Unfortunately, the smoke coming off these chips did not want to clear and kept igniting themselves, causing the Buffalo National Park Fire Crew (more to come on them next month) to stay overnight and into the next week watching for the reigniting cedar chips. Lastly, over the course of two days we received our S-212 certification which allows my crew to use chainsaws to help out with cutting down smaller trees in a wildland fire along and around the fireline.
Working in Pea Ridge has been an amazing experience so far while learning more about the Civil War (and worrying about ticks). We all look forward to going back sometime in the next two weeks to help with a local bird habitat project, where we will be judging the vegetation for the probability of bird habitats in the area.
When it comes to centennial events, sadly enough, I couldn’t find very many going on, but there are a few events happening. So for a complete listing of what is going on at Pea Ridge feel free to follow the link below: https://www.npshgh.gov/peri/planyourvisit/calendar.htm
Also, again, since it is the centennial year for the National Park Service, they have specific days with free entry into the national parks. The link below will show you the exact dates: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm
Stay tuned next month (and the following four months) where I’ll introduce my crew mates individually, while also finding out about their specific experience in parks or general experience with the Corps this year.