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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Loafer's Glory WMA a hidden assset

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Loafer's Glory Wildlife Management Area runs neck-to-neck with Seven Devils WMA in the race for Arkansas's management area with the most interesting name.

Tucked away in the scenic Buffalo River country, Loafer's Glory has the community of Morning Star on one side and Evening Star on the other.

All this is in northern Searcy County, but Loafer's Glory is something of a hidden asset in the state's outdoor picture.

Access is limited, but a new road into the area helps reach it.

The WMA is in five tracts, and the largest one adjoins Buffalo National River, operated by the National Park Service.

There is a total of 2,720 acres in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission WMA.

How did that name, Loafer's Glory, come about?

Rick Horton, habitat biologist with AGFC, manages the area.

He said the origins of the name are shrouded in mists of the past.

No one really knows where the name came from.

Canoes are numerous on the river, especially on weekends in warm weather.

The clatter and chatter of paddlers quickly fades away in the steep Ozark Mountains, and Loafer's Glory is quiet. Area residents who use it for squirrel, turkey and deer hunting like it that way.

They have learned to get around on the steep, wooded slopes, and they have learned where the boundaries are.

The two largest segments of Loafer's Glory are along Spring Creek and along Rock Creek.

Both creeks are small and sometimes dry in periods of little rainfall.

The Spring Creek area is reached by a gravel road to Pine Grove Church from Arkansas Highway 27 between Marshall and Harriett.

The Rock Creek area is just east of Arkansas Highway 14's crossing of the Buffalo River, but most users go in from the gravel road to Cozahome.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has owned Loafer's Glory since 1967, but little habitat management work was possible until a few years ago.

The work includes cutting fire lanes and planting them with cool season grasses -- clover and other wildlife food producing vegetation.

Timber work is focused on improving the hardwoods with selective cutting, thinning and controlled burning.

With Buffalo National River for a neighbor, AGFC and National Park Service personnel cooperated in the controlled burning which is a highly effective management tool for increasing the availability of natural food for deer, turkeys and other wildlife.

There is not an abundance of the major game animals on Loafer's Glory, but enough are present to make it a favorite hunting spot for outdoors people living in the area.

Squirrel hunting can be good in the periods of plentiful food from the hardwood trees.

A few bears use Loafer's Glory, too.

No designated campsites are on the management area, but the Buffalo National River's Buffalo Point Recreational Area is just a short distance away -- downstream by river.

Buffalo Point has full campgrounds with both hookups sections with electricity and water and also tent areas with no hookups but with water and restrooms nearby.

A swimming area is near the campgrounds and several picnic sites are maintained.

Buffalo Point has cabins up the hill from the campgrounds close to the river, and some of the cabins date back to Civilian Conservation Corps construction days of the 1930s.

A restaurant with a popular scenic overlook is near the cabins.

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