SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN HERITAGE
Sugarloaf Mountain is a 690-foot erosional remnant beside the Little Red River near Heber Springs Arkansas. Established in 2007, working with Arkansas State University (ASU), the Sugarloaf Heritage Council (SHC) mission was to remove the extensive graffiti, restore and enhance the Summit Trail (.66 steep/slippery miles) and the Tonawanda Base Trail (1.3 moderate to difficult miles), create the Wildlife Trail (1.5 moderate miles) and the Hidden Pond Trail (.25 easy miles).
It wasn’t just the big donors like the County, City, Banks, and Businesses that helped fund the project. These donors budgeted for annual donations going forward. There were a lot of small donations from individuals too. Every year they had Heritage Day where they would show the supporters what they had accomplished that year and sign them up for the next year.
Environmentally safe Elephant Snot was used to pressure wash most of the Graffiti away. They painted it on, then removed the graffiti using a pressure washer. To provide water for the pressure washer they hauled barrels of water up the mountain. Then, they had the idea of running a water line up the mountain.
The group installed a 700’ pipe on the mountain, but the water pressure wasn’t strong enough for a pressure washer. After the funds were raised, a pump was purchased and installed. It provided the pressure needed and the graffiti started to come off.
To get off all of the graffiti, they hung by ropes over the side of the mountain almost 700 feet straight up. The force of the pressure washer pushed them away from the mountainside; they swung out and in spraying as they reached the rock surface.
In 2011 Summit Trail resurfacing and development of Hidden Pond Trail began. Benches, and a picnic table were installed, a picnic area was added, and more graffiti was removed.
SHC was awarded an Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department grant to restore the Summit Trail. SHC had to match 20 percent of the grant so they started a “Hit the Trail” campaign with a $50,000 goal in mind. Each thousand dollars would improve so many feet of trail until the trail was complete. They met their goal.
SHC contributed more than 600 hours of volunteer labor which, combined with others, allowed Heber Springs to be named the Volunteer City of the Year in 2013. The Tonawanda Base Trail was cleared - 5 bridges, 50 tons of gravel and 70 tons of gravel screenings were used. Volunteers built a bridge on the south and north fork of the Hidden Pond Trail, and one on the Summit Trail. Benches were built as part of several Eagle Scout projects.
The 45th Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River cleanup included 120 volunteers to work on the trails, 600 pounds of trash was removed. During the same year the Greers Ferry Trail Council started a trail along the old Missouri North Arkansas Railroad bed; the start of the Sulfur Creek Trail. Ultimately, the Sugarloaf Trails will tie into this trail system to complete the Greers Ferry Trail System.
In 2015 the parking lot, and Trailhead Road were paved. Hidden Pond Trail was also paved and became wheelchair accessible. Volunteers provided the machinery and labor; the materials were funded by an additional grant. The group was awarded another grant to fund half of the picnic tables for the green space at the entrance of the trails. SHC raised enough money to fund the other half of the project. Today, it is a picnic area.
Ten years from conception, with the help of the surrounding community, SHC has completed its original mission. Additionally, a new mountain biker, train runner trail has also been installed. Plans are to add a spur trail for a more experienced level of a rider in the near future.