Friday, September 2, 2011

Joe Neal describes assests of Lake Atalanta area as September 11 field trip site

NWAAS will host a field trip on Sunday September 11, 2011, to Lake Atalanta in Rogers. Meet at 9 AM in the parking area near the bathrooms. A guide with much more information is at: From 540, take the Walnut Street exit EAST through the old downtown to the railroad tracks. This is the corner of S. Arkansas and E. Walnut. Take E. Walnut EAST for roughly 7-8 blocks downhill to Lake Atalanta Park. There are parking areas on both sides of the road. A bathroom and water fountain are adjacent the parking area on the north side of the road. Lake Atalanta was created in 1936 as part of a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project to employ people thrown out of work by the Great Depression. The earthen dam constructed across Prairie Creek impounded 40 acres and served as a water supply from 1957 to 1970. Habitats include the lake, Frisco Spring (a perennial Ozark spring with aquatic vegetation and bottomland forest), and mature upland forest. Typical resident birds are common here and the place hops during migration. Diversity is enhanced by the presence of former prairie habitats immediately west and mature Ozark forest east. There are striking examples of native plants like wild ginger, understory trees like pawpaws, huge mature walnuts, and native shrubs like hazelnut and spicebush. Paved roads provide good birding access for those with physical limitations. Trails are well-maintained. Overall, Lake Atalanta is attractive for birding because it includes much natural and artificial habitat in a compact space. -- JOSEPH C. NEAL in Fayetteville, Arkansas

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