Annual Glade Top Trail Festival This Sunday

AVA, Mo. – Before the trees in the Mark Twain National Forest drop their leaves for the winter, they display vibrant fall colors for visitors.  The Flaming Fall Revue, an annual event hosted by the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Mark Twain National Forest, provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to enjoy fall colors in the Forest within a festive atmosphere. The Flaming Fall Revue will be held Sunday, Oct. 16, at Caney Picnic Area. Aside from witnessing the amazing fall colors, for which the event is named, visitors will also have new opportunities to interact with and learn more about the forest around them using their mobile devices.

On Oct. 16, multiple activities are planned for the event. Forest Service staff will be available at Caney Picnic Area to provide forest information to visitors starting at 10 a.m.

• Smokey Bear will make an appearance at Caney Picnic Area to remind everyone to do their part in preventing forest fires. Getting a hug from Smokey, or taking a picture with him, is always encouraged!

• Two guided glade hikes, starting from Caney Picnic Area, are scheduled to take place 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  The guided hikes will educate visitors about the unique natural communities that form the glade ecosystem.

• Two new interpretive programs, Discovery Agents and the Glade Top Trail Interpretive Tour, will be introduced to the public!

• From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Forest Service staff will be guiding small groups every hour to showcase the Discovery Agents mobile game.  (www.discovertheforest.org/discoveryagents/).

• The Glade Top Trail Interpretive Tour will also be available to visitors. The interpretive tour is a driving tour that will showcase the beauty of the Glade Top Trail National Forest Scenic Byway and offer visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history of the area and how the Forest Service manages it. You can look at the site before you arrive too, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/GladeTopTrail.

Discovery Agents:

Discovery Agents is an augmented reality mobile game that visitors of all ages can play! A Discovery Agent site has been established at the Caney Picnic Area on the Ava unit of the Ava/Cassville/Willow Springs Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest.  The Flaming Fall Revue will be a great time to try out the new game while enjoying fall colors and other festivities. The game is designed for visitors to get outside, move around, and engage with the Forest. Believe it or not, Discovery Agents was around before the other, incredibly popular, augmented reality game which recently swept the globe. It is comparable to the other popular game, but it has an educational twist.

The “Glade Top Trail – Caney Picnic Area mission site” has 10 stops where Agent District Ranger Roadrunner escorts you to challenges where you will receive in-game tokens for correct answers. On top of engaging in fun challenges, players can read through educational information to learn about Forest Service management and the history of the area.  Discovery Agents is a mobile device downloadable application and it is recommended that people download it before coming to the site. Once at the site, your mobile devices GPS is all that is needed.  A tutorial to learn about Discovery Agents is available and recommended to use before playing, after the application is downloaded. Even though it is a mobile game, players will still be outside; so don’t forget to bring water, a hat and bug spray.

GTT Interpretive Tour:

Glade Top Trail (GTT) Interpretive Tour is a driving tour that encourages visitors to make stops along Glade Top Trail National Forest Scenic Byway to learn more about the history and management of the unique glade ecosystems of the Ava-Cassville-Willow Springs Ranger District.  Interpretive tour information is accessed using a mobile device.  Visitors will enjoy the beauty the Ozarks has to offer while learning about the Mark Twain National Forest and its history. A map of the tour is available at the Ava Ranger District office in Ava, on the Mark Twain National Forest webpage at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/GladeTopTrail and at the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce.

Information about each stop along the tour is accessed by scanning a QR code using a mobile device. QR codes for each site are found on a blue, three-inch wide fiberglass post located at each tour stop. Visitors will need to download a QR scanner application to a mobile device before starting the tour.

The tour will include 10 stops along and near Glade Top Trail National Forest Scenic Byway, located on the Ava Unit of the Mark Twain National Forest.  Currently, five stops are ready for visitors to enjoy. An additional five stops will be added to the interpretive tour in the spring of 2017.

Flaming Fall Revue, a long-running local tradition:

Food and music will keep spirits high at this glade-top gathering.  Ozark arts and crafts will be on display as well.  The Flaming Fall Revue has a rich, fifty-year-long history. In the 1960s, local residents in the Ava, Missouri area wanted to share the unparalleled beauty of the wonderful hill-country along Glade Top Trail National Forest Scenic Byway—so began the Glade Top Trail Festival.  Over the years, the event’s name changed to the Flaming Fall Revue.

The Ava Area Chamber of Commerce has annually hosted the Flaming Fall Revue, since its inception, at the Caney Picnic Area in cooperation with the Forest Service. The festival was originally three days and consisted of arts and crafts shows, music on the square, VFW hosted breakfasts in Ava on Friday and Saturday mornings, and finished on Sunday at the Caney Picnic Area where barbeque and music were offered. Today, the Flaming Fall Revue is one day long, held on the 3rd Sunday of October each year, at Caney Picnic Area.

(This news release explaining the new features added in the Mark Twain National Forest was written and submitted by Cody Norris of the U.S. Forest Service.)