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July 6, 2023 Comments Off on Siloam Springs’ Logan Springs Preserve offers chance to commune with nature Featured, Hiking, Latest, Nature

Siloam Springs’ Logan Springs Preserve offers chance to commune with nature

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

Some visit Logan Springs Preserve for the flowers. Others migrate to the 210-acre nature oasis for things with wings.

Of the six visitors exploring the preserve together on an early June morning, half were most interested in wildlife that flies. Joe Neal and Pat Bodishbaugh, both of Fayetteville, focused binoculars toward bird song and feathers. Neal writes books and articles about birds and birding. Bodishbaugh frequently travels far to find one particular bird or another.

David Oakley of Springdale is more grounded. He’s a walking dragonfly and damselfly field guide with camera and field glasses focused on dew-kissed grasses searching for the winged insects. Dragonflies thrive in wetlands at Logan Springs Preserve, situated east of Siloam Springs or south of Highfill in west Benton County.

Neither birders nor insect seekers left disappointed after a three-hour mostly level walk through the tract’s fields and forests.

Visitors are welcome at the public tract that has been open less than a year. It’s out in the country, with a street address of 15300 Osage Hill Road, Siloam Springs. The Nature Conservancy manages Logan Springs.

Much of Logan Springs Preserve was a commercial fish hatchery where minnows were raised in a patchwork of ponds. Levees that created the ponds are now flat trails that crisscross the property.

Kim Dutton and Brigette Coleman-Williams, both with The Nature Conservancy, joined the morning explorers. A centerpiece of the preserve is a clear and cold spring that flows at 5 million gallons per day, Dutton noted.

An oxbow lake that is next to Osage Creek is one of the few natural lakes in Northwest Arkansas, she said. Lakes such as Beaver, Lake Fayetteville and others are reservoirs created by building a dam. A short trail leads to a dock that floats on the oxbow.

A highlight of the morning was Neal’s unbridled excitement when he spotted a yellow-crowned night heron hunting crawdads in a lowland of moist soil. You’d think Neal had spotted an ivory-billed woodpecker, or maybe Elvis, with his tachometer of glee at red-line level.

The yellow-crowned night heron is scarce in Northwest Arkansas, Neal said, but is seen in areas with a healthy population of crawdads — because that’s all they eat. Prothonotary warblers with bright yellow feathers thrilled the gaggle of explorers. Eyeballs followed the flight of these small songbirds that flitted from tree to tree.

By the end of the three-hour walk, Oakley’s camera was filled with pictures of his favorite insects, including a banded pennant dragonfly that had just emerged as an adult from its larval stage. This dragonfly was a cooperative photo subject. It never moved while resting on a blade of grass at the edge of a pond. After emerging, the big insect was drying its spotted wings before taking flight, Oakley explained.

Visitors to Logan Springs Preserve see natural wonders from the ground to the treetops.