101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

The 2018 Back 40 Story guided hikes planned

Free informational hikes set monthly on the Back 40 Trails

There is more to the Back 40 Trails than just biking, hiking or running. There are native plants, wildflowers, interesting rock formations, insects, wild mushrooms and more. Join us monthly in 2018 to discover the trails in the City of Bella Vista’s guided hike series we call The Back 40 Story.

These guided hikes are free and open to the public.

See 2018 guided informational hike series schedule here.

To kick off the year, join Cris and Eleanor Jones, Arkansas Master Naturalists, for a dormant winter tree identification hike at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10.

Cris Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Louisiana State University in 1961, a Master of Science in Forest Business Management at Duke University in 1965 and a Master of Business Administration at Oral Roberts University in 1991. Although his career in forestry was not long, followed by going into his family’s business and then becoming a CPA before retiring in 2016, he has maintained his love of forestry and the outdoors as a landowner/tree farmer through the years. In the spring of 2016, he and his wife Eleanor completed the Arkansas Master Naturalist training program and are using their skills and knowledge to help others learn about and appreciate our beautiful Northwest Arkansas natural environment.

In addition, as Arkansas Master Naturalists, they participate in work projects to help or improve our ecology.  Eleanor, who learned everything she knows about trees from Botany 101, her father’s inspiration and Cris’ lifelong instruction, will assist in the hike. They lived in Benton County for 21 years in a mountain-top home surrounded by 100 beautiful acres, where they built their own trails and Cris did not rest until he knew every tree in the forest. They moved to Pea Ridge in 2016.

This hike will take place on the SBAT trail, from the crossing at Bedford Lane south to the Lake Ann Trailhead. Shuttle service will be provided beginning at 1:30 p.m. from the Lake Ann Trailhead to the start of the hike at Bedford Lane. This hike is approximately 2.25 miles on intermediate terrain.

An alternate weather date for this event is set for Saturday, Feb. 17.

Future event meeting locations and topics will be announced prior to each hike’s date. Most hikes are moderately strenuous and require appropriate shoes and clothing. Participants should also bring insect repellent, sunscreen and water. The Back 40 Trails are singletrack, which means they are dirt, narrow and sometimes rocky or have exposed tree roots. The trails are not appropriate for strollers. Friendly dogs are welcome on a leash.

Other topics this year will include archaeology in March, entomology in April, spring wildflowers in May, native plants in June, summer wildflowers in August and wild mushrooms in November.

Follow The Back 40 Trails Facebook page for information on these and other events coming up this year.