From Cody Norris, Public Affairs Officer
AVA, Mo. (Dec. 23, 2019) –First of all, happy holidays –– wishing a fantastic New Year to all our forest friends and visitors!
Mark Twain National Forest’s wildland firefighters on the Ava / Cassville / Willow Springs Ranger District (ACW RD) are continuing to accomplish field work in anticipation of prescribe burning. They are prepping planned prescribed burn units and getting equipment ready. They have responded to four wildfires in December, the largest being the Ridge Fire on the Ava unit, totaling 340 acres. Three firefighters from our Forest are also assisting the Midewin Tall Grass Prairie (in Illinois) with prescribed burning.
Contract crews that were working on cedar falling are expected to return resume work on ACW RD sometime in January—they temporarily moved to other projects on the forest during the firearms deer season.
The trash dump project on FR 704 spearheaded by volunteer Rick Wyman has been completed, and the drainage is once again looking natural and free of trash.
District Ranger Cody Lunsford wants to remind trail users to please utilize the sign-in boxes that are provided at forest trailheads. These logbooks are very valuable to search and rescue efforts when we need to respond to a report of a missing hiker. This record of the number of visitors is also used to help appropriately distribute funding of trail management.
Using this date, we know that in 2019: Hercules Glades Wilderness had 2,760 users; Piney Creek Wilderness had 545 users; Devils Backbone had 944 users; and Ridge Runner trail had 373 users. We have seen increased use every year. We are glad to see so many visitors enjoying their public land.
In honor of New Year’s Day on January 1, 2020, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on January 20, 2020, the Ava and Cassville District Offices will be closed per federal holiday scheduling.
If you have any questions about the forest, please feel free to call the Ava District Office at 417-683-4428, M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.