Earlier this month, students from the University of Central Arkansas’s (UCA) restoration ecology program toured Cove Creek Natural Area (NA) in Faulkner County to learn about the ANHC’s restoration efforts there. Brent Baker, ANHC botanist; Brian Mitchell, ANHC chief of land management; and Nate Weston, ANHC GIS technician led a field trip for Dr. Katherine Larson and Dr. Sally Entrekin’s restoration biology classes.
ANHC staff and students hiked the trail and discussed the restoration efforts at Cove Creek NA, including prescribed burns, and mechanical and chemical treatments of invasive plant species. Restoration at Cove Creek NA has involved removal of Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), a native invasive plant and Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), a non-native invasive plant.
Located in the Arkansas Valley, Cove Creek NA contains almost a mile of the course of Cove Creek near its confluence with Cadron Creek. At this point, the meandering stream cuts deeply through a ridge of sandstone, creating a spectacular bluff-lined gorge. A small area of creek bottom forest borders the watercourse at the lower end of the tract.
Restoration efforts are underway to restore an extensive complex of sandstone glades and woodlands that cover more than 100 acres on the west side of the creek above the bluffs. A primitive foot-trail takes hikers to two scenic overlooks of Cove Creek. The trail is easy-to-moderate in difficulty and is 1.5 miles roundtrip.