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Interpretive Panels at Big Creek

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, December 17, 2009

ANHC staff recently loaded up shovels, post-hole diggers and other sign installation equipment, and met Kirsten Bartlow with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) at the parking area at Big Creek Natural Area to begin installing new signs. Kirsten is the Watchable Wildlife Coordinator for AGFC and has been working with ANHC staff to design a series of large interpretive panels and smaller plant tags for the trails at this 1,507-acre natural area located within the large 14,000-acre Jim Kress Wildlife Management Area.

Big Creek Natural Area includes five miles along the course of Big Creek, a major tributary of the Little Red River, and bluffs towering as high as 200 feet above the stream. Two primitive trails on the site—the ¾ mile Big Creek Loop that follows a steep path down to the river and the longer 1 ¾ mile Overlook Trail that winds along the edge of the creek bluffs—provide excellent opportunities for “wildlife watching.” Wildlife viewing is an increasingly popular pastime that can be enjoyed in any season, by any age group. Unlike some activities, special equipment is not required. Wildlife watchers need to come equipped only with a sense of appreciation for the state's living resources and the knowledge of where to look for them. Kirsten explains the goal of the AGFC’s Watchable Wildlife program is “…to enhance, elevate and promote wildlife viewing and nature appreciation for the benefit of society, while building community awareness, understanding and support for the conservation of the wildlife and habitats upon which these activities depend.”

The new interpretive panels that were installed last month include maps of both trails, information about the plants, animals and ecology of the area, and tips to make the most out of your wildlife-watching and hiking experience. Fifteen additional, smaller signs will be installed along the trails to specifically identify native trees and shrubs. For photos of the panel installation, visit our Flickr album. For more information about Big Creek Natural Area, including driving directions and downloadable maps, visit the Natural Areas section of our website. - See more at:

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