Sept. 27, 2019
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
LITTLE ROCK – Eagle Scout projects in central Arkansas have helped not only the prospective scout attain his chief goal in the Boy Scouts of America, they’ve enhanced some Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s wildlife management areas.
Last year, Clark McCarley Jr. planned and built an information kiosk that will serve the users of Cypress Bayou WMA, near U.S. Highway 67-167 between Ward and Beebe. The AGFC covered the cost of construction materials, according to Matthew Warriner, AGFC Wildlife Management assistant chief.
“This is a great addition for people, such as duck hunters, who will come to Cypress Bayou, which recently saw a large expansion to benefit waterfowl hunters,” Warriner said.
McCarley, a senior this year at Little Rock Catholic High School, said, “I had always wanted to do something that had to do with conservation. At first I wanted to do something like wood duck boxes, but the person I talked to said they really needed a map kiosk, so that’s how I got it. I had about 13 people helping me. We got it done in about two days.”
McCarley completed the project last October, in time for the first waterfowl season in Cypress Bayou for public hunting as a WMA. McCarley is a member of Scout Troop 395, based at St. James United Methodist Church in west Little Rock. His Scout Leader is Joe McKee.
Johnny Waldrup, AGFC biologist supervisor over the region that includes Cypress Bayou, said he met with McCarley and the other helpers, “I thought it was great. It’s a great addition to the WMA,” Waldrup said. ‘It’s providing a public service project for that scout that in turn we can use as an information board for the users of the WMA.”
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA, near U.S. 67 close to Bald Knob, also has benefited in recent years from Eagle Scout efforts, according to Josh Green, an AGFC conservation program technician based out of Brinkley. Green provided a list of recent Eagle Scout accomplishments on the WMA:
- In fiscal year 2016, 14 wood duck boxes were strategically placed on the area by Logan Dawson of Eagle Scout Troop 392.
- In the following year, 12 more wood duck boxes were constructed and strategically placed around the area by Kale Whitlow of Eagle Scout Troop 23.
- In fiscal year 2019, Trey Nichols of Eagle Scout Troop 23 constructed a kiosk for the WMA to provide users with area maps, WMA info and other area notes.
- Also in fiscal 2018, Koby Whitlow for his Eagle project led campsite maintenance work, where boundaries were painted – this included a blue ring around the perimeter and four corners marked with reflectors.
- In fiscal year 2019, three bat boxes were constructed and placed on the area by Nathaniel Fredricks of Eagle Scout Troup 23.
Each of the five Eagle Scout projects on Henry Gray/Hurricane Lake WMA “has been very beneficial for the wildlife, and the public user groups on this management area,” Green said. “The wood duck and bat boxes have provided critical habitat for these species, which is important when promoting population growth. The kiosk has been an excellent way to display the aerial wildlife management area map, special regulations, and key notes. The campground maintenance project really improved the aesthetics and functionality of our campsites.”
Waldrup said the first kiosk project at Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA “kinda started this all at the WMAs. The work is a benefit to all the users of the WMA.”
Green noted that during the end of the last project from Troop 23, Reagan Whitlow, an Eagle Scout Master and point of contact, was tragically killed in a plane crash. “He had served as a pilot for the U.S. Air Force, and was still assisting with various training opportunities for our country.
“I became a good friend to Reagan during these Eagle Scout projects, and will always cherish the memories we shared together. Kale and Koby Whitlow were his two sons and part of group 23. Most of these projects on Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA would not have been possible without his ambition and dedication.”
Waldrup said any prospective Eagle Scout or their mentors who want to pursue projects on any of the AGFC’s WMAs should contact the WMA supervisors in their region for more information. All information about the AGFC’s WMAs can be found on the agency’s website, www.agfc.com, or by calling the Wildlife Management Division at 501-223-6359.