PINE BLUFF (AGFC) —The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission’s recently completed its latest nature trail at Byrd Lake Natural Area in Pine Bluff thanks to a grant by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Wildlife Observation Trail Program.
The trail is part of an effort to revitalize green spaces in cities to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the natural world, no matter where they reside. The $69,000 grant made it possible to complete many site upgrades, including interpretive signs, a resurfaced trail and a renovated parking area.
The site’s location, less than a quarter of a mile from Olive Street, a main thoroughfare off Interstate 530, provides a convenient place to observe wildlife while using the new trail.
“The combination of different terrestrial and aquatic habitats provides trail users with a unique opportunity to view a wide array of wildlife species interacting in a natural setting,” said Chris Colclasure, director of the ANHC. “We encourage people in and around Pine Bluff to stop by and see for themselves.”
Kirsten Bartlow, watchable wildlife coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says Byrd Lake Natural Area provides excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities close to an urban setting.
“Barred owls, red-shouldered hawks an assortment of woodpeckers and wood ducks can be seen from the trail year round,” Bartlow said. “I recently watched three river otters carousing in Bayou Bartholomew from the natural area.”
The new trail is part of an entire complex of outdoors recreation and education opportunities funded by the AGFC in Pine Bluff. The Brumps Bayou fishing and wildlife-viewing bridge on Lake Saracen also was constructed using a $100,000 grant from the AGFC using revenues from gas lease easements on AGFC property. The AGFC also completed the Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail recently, which has an access right across from Byrd Lake. Combined with Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, completed in 2001, these new improvements offer all sorts of outdoors opportunities for people in the Pine Bluff area.