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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Strange Discoveries on the Eagle Rock Loop on 04/22/2013 09:42:28 MDT Print View

I just got back from the Eagle Rock Loop and had a couple strange discoveries to report.

1. "Ghost Road" - We found a abandoned road that followed Brier Creek. We followed it all the way from the top of the valley by the Big Athens Fork Trail down to the Little Missouri. There was almost no evidence it was being used. The top was overgrown, you could not have driven it. There were concrete low water crossings and nice culverts. I found no evidence of this on the FS maps on Hillmap.com, MyTopo or the trail map. Any idea what this road was for? I did not see any evidence of logging.

2. Abandon Traps - We passed four or five abandoned hog traps. At least that is what I think they are. They were not set and showed no evidence of recent use.

3. Cleared meadows - There were a number of clearings in the forest. A couple are visible from the trail but there were even more on the "ghost road." I'm guessing they are man made but wonder what they were from. Are they old homesteads? Is the FS keeping them open to feed wildlife?

I'll post a proper TR later but I was interested in seeing if anyone had answers for our discoveries.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Strange Discoveries on the Eagle Rock Loop on 04/22/2013 17:51:25 MDT Print View

The cleared meadows should be from clear cutting? There is at least one of those along the little missouri trail close to the double water crossing.

Edited by jshann on 04/22/2013 18:11:42 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Clear Cutting? on 04/22/2013 18:08:51 MDT Print View

Its possible they were logging plots but there were no stumps visible. If the stumps and debris have completely rotted away I wonder they the forest hasn't returned. The spots were all relatively flat and had lush green grass growing so the soil must be pretty good. I wonder if the FS is keeping them open with burns or occasionally mowing them?

I was more surprised by the very nice road that was made and apparently abandoned.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Clear Cutting? on 04/22/2013 18:11:11 MDT Print View

If you google eagle rock loop you will see older maps that show fs 914 following Brier Creek.

http://www.olderascal.com/hiking/arkansas/eaglerock/map.gif

Edited by jshann on 04/22/2013 18:12:50 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Clear Cutting? on 04/22/2013 18:43:28 MDT Print View

John I emailed Leigh Baker about that road (I happened to meet her on the trail) and she said she found it on an old map as well. The map you linked only shows it going half way up the valley. That may be as it was graded and maintained but it definitely went all the way up to the trail. Its very overgrown at the west end but its there. There were a couple other very, very old look road beds I noticed. I think a fun exercise would be to bushwack some of these old roads in winter when the brush and poison ivy are down.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re:Strange Discoveries on the Eagle Rock Loop" on 04/22/2013 20:05:32 MDT Print View

It may be new wildlife food plots for hunters, since you mentioned no stumps that would definitely signify a clear cut. The fact that the road goes all the way to ABF is also cause for inquiry. I'll call the FS tomorrow and see what I can find out.

Edited by leighb on 04/22/2013 20:20:54 MDT.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Food Plots? on 04/22/2013 20:57:16 MDT Print View

I'll be interested to see what you discover Leigh. I was going to trying to stop at a FS station but didn't have time. I'd say the drivable section of the road ended at the last field.
I believe I heard in some places the FS closes old roads to use but leaves them keeps them open so they can be used in emergencies (SAR, firefighting etc).

I'll try and get a trip report together tomorrow.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
FS roads on ERL on 04/23/2013 17:12:53 MDT Print View

After a couple of calls I was told that the road was reworked due to damage after the flood, and it's used to access food plots by Fish and Game,and also serves as access to walk in turkey hunters for Leader Mt. He did say that it doesn't actually go all the way to ABF, but added that there are a lot of old road traces throughout the area, especially along the creeks.
My question about the newly graded road going up Brush Heap may take a few more calls....seems like all the FS really knows has to do with timber sales. F&G may have more info.

I forgot to ask about the abandoned hog traps, which I'm guessing those are, but that's likely a question for F&G anyway. I will report back on what they say.

Edited by leighb on 04/23/2013 17:19:58 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: FS roads on ERL on 04/23/2013 17:18:18 MDT Print View

I was last there in December and was disappointed to see that road going up Brush Heap Mountain.

casey hardin
(WetFeet) - M
Brush Heap Mtn access lane on 04/24/2013 09:51:18 MDT Print View

Leigh, the Raspberry Mtn Fire, started by two off trail backpackers the wkend of Thanksgiving, is the reason for that 'access lane' USFS 'pushed in' on Dec6th.

The fire burned for over two wks and they had to be prepared to fight it and especially to ensure Roaring Branch Natural Area did not get out of hand.

The Womble office handled the effort.

For all intents and purposes it became a controlled burn which did a lot of good. Now, all the trash left on the trail by the Thanksgiving hikers is a different story...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Brush Heap Mtn access lane on 04/24/2013 10:41:00 MDT Print View

Over the years I have seen some substantial emergency roads that were built using bull doziers, so fire-fighting equipment can get access. Unfortunately, sometimes they leave these as-is when they are done.

When I was young I worked on a forest service D10 Catepillar. Do a Google search to see how big these are ;)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
More info on 04/24/2013 11:46:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for the additional info ya'll. I posted an actual trip report with some pictures of the "Ghost Road" I only took a few because we were hiking fast. Its nice to know its an option for a bail out. We could have hiked FR 106 but that would have been less attractive.

casey hardin
(WetFeet) - M
Access Lanes on 04/24/2013 18:15:16 MDT Print View

Nick,
on that day, they were spreading seeded hay throughout the impact area;; as you undoubtedly know, their responsibility covers many-many acres that hikers do not see.

I have not seen what it looks like these days.

But, they were trying to achieve their objectives, while being as care-ful as possible.

USFS, at that loc (& allOver), was nearly broke prior to the 'Sequester', so -well...

They do the best they can. Those guys LOVE Wilderness!

the Brush Heap Mtn approach will be OK.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
@ casey, fire line on 04/25/2013 06:25:03 MDT Print View

A friend just mentioned that, and I should have thought of it. I remember the fire clearly, as I've been wanting to explore Roaring Branch for the past two springs, and I knew 106 was the southern edge and ABF as the eastern edge. Thanks for the input, mystery solved.:-)