Better done as a team
In the interest of safety it is much better to plan your outing as a team effort. Teaming
up can also increase the detail and accuracy of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker observation report.
Remember that you will be going to remote areas. Even experienced Big Woods visitors can
find the forests looking “much the same”. It can be very easy to become disoriented, especially on a cloudy day.
Adequate preparation must include sharing your itinerary including specific location and
expected return time with someone who could send for you in the event of unforeseen trouble.
Be sure to print or obtain a copy of the map for the birding trail
or canoe access you plan to visit. Copies of these maps can be obtained at National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.
Standard equipment should always include a reliable compass: the use of GPS equipment is encouraged.
During periods of high water many if not all of the birding opportunities can become
inundated and accessible only by canoe or boat. Understanding how water levels influence access to
the Big Woods is essential to the success of your visit. Boating can be hazardous during high water
periods. For these reasons, birding trails and some canoe access points will be removed from the
web site during periods of high water. Alternate birding trails may be added during high water
periods so check the web site frequently.
Left: Notice the signs on the tree next
to a 6 foot man. The sign at the top was placed from a boat during HIGH WATER!.
Hypothermia can be a real threat if you become stranded and are not dressed to
conserve body heat in cold wet conditions. You should go prepared for inclement weather with
the knowledge that in some locations help will be hours away.
During warm weather you will experience a persistent assault by mosquitoes.
Leave the insect repellent behind and your visit will be brief.
You may also see venomous snakes during warm weather, so look both up and down if you have
your shirt sleeves rolled up! This is their home, give them a little
space and they will return the favor. Remember that in some locations help, particularly
medical attention, can be hours away.
There are other traditional recreational activities taking place in the areas you
will be visiting.
Various hunting seasons will be in progress during the fall and winter months.
A review of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hunting regulations brochure along with specific
brochures for the White River and Cache River National Refuges will help familiarize you with specific
hunting seasons that may be open at the time of your visit. Please be courteous and avoid areas where
hunters are present.
Many of the birding trails are also approved for all terrain vehicle use so
do not be surprised to encounter trail riders. Please park vehicles at trailheads so that all terrain
vehicles will still be able to access and use these trails.