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By: Kathy Atnip
04/09/14 11:58:52 AM

The 2013 Trails Group Volunteer of the Year goes to the OTA! The award was announced by the Mark Twain National Forest, in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, April, 6-12.  In part, the citation describes how OTA volunteers "inspire current and potential trail enthusiasts to connect with trails and their public they share their personal connection to the land with others." That sounds like us!

You can view the USFS press release here.

We're greatly honored by this recognition and we're grateful for the terrific partnership we enjoy with the Mark Twain National Forest. THANK YOU to all our volunteers for your contributions!

By: Abi Jackson
04/04/14 07:41:29 AM

Thank You!! Rural Missouri magazine for awarding the OT this honor. Thanks also goes out to the passionate volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain this 360 mile treasure! Check out the other winners in the April on-line version of Rural Missouri and plan to visit the other winners on your way to the OT!

Rural Missouri announces annual Reader's Choice awards

Missouri's Best Trail - The Ozark Trail

The ballots have been counted, and the readers of Rural Missouri magazine have once again selected their favorites in the publication's annual Best of Rural Missouri Readers' Choice Contest.

For the 13th consecutive year, the publication's readers were asked to name their favorite eateries, destinations and activities across the Show-Me State. A winner, runner-up and editor's choice were named in each of 20 categories. This year's edition of the contest featured new categories- such as Best Chicken Wings and Best Sandwich- and brought back a few old favorites from past contests, including Best Golf Course.

"Whoever said that number 13 had to be unlucky?" asked Rural Missouri Editor Jim McCarty. "If you ask our 60 winners what they think, you may be hard-pressed to find anyone concerned about a mention in this year's 13th annual contest. Our readers certainly weren't nervous about participating, either. Voting this year was as strong as ever, and we thank them for participating."

Those who completed ballots were entered for a chance to win a $500 Best of Missouri gift basket. This year's winner was Cara Bowman, a Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative member from Hannibal. The basket included Missouri-made foods, locally crafted pottery, a gift certificate to a Missouri bed-and-breakfast of Bowman's choice along with Rural Missouri merchandise.

Based in Jefferson City, Rural Missouri has been the voice of Missouri's electric cooperatives since 1948. It has a circulation of more than 545,000, making it the largest paid-circulation monthly publication in Missouri.

By: Kathie Brennan
04/01/14 11:55:43 AM

Hiking the hills and valleys of the Ozarks is just about the best adventure you can have for a day. Twenty-five OTA volunteers did just that during the “Whoopin’ It Up In Winona” event held March 22 & 23 at the Winona Forest Service facility. Volunteer crews were out on the trail from south of Peck Ranch on the Current River section, on the Between the Rivers section and on the Eleven Point section. Work included leaf blowing, lopping, signing, sawing and swamping. That is over 28.5 miles of trail covered. It will not go without notice by the individuals who will be using the Ozark Trail. Many of our volunteers felt a little sore and stiff at the end of the day but the weather was about as perfect as we could have asked for.

After a long day out on the trail, volunteers returning to base took advantage of the down time to relax in anticipation of a well-deserved meal. Chef Jeff Goetter was on hand to cook for us in Winona. For those staying over, the evening was topped off by sitting around the campfire under the pines with a star filled sky overhead.

Yes, for some of you it was a long drive but I truly believe this is one of the best times on the trail. New faces made for new friends who I hope to see again at other OTA events. For our “southern” volunteers, know that this is one event I always look forward to because you have a little bit of heaven that many don’t get to see. This is a great way to see different sections of the OT in a weekend.

A most deserving thank you goes to the US Forest Service’s Samuel Ainsley for his work with the trails. Samuel is new to the area and working with the Ozark Trail Association volunteers makes his “adventure” a bit easier. Again, the Ozark Trail Association appreciates all that our volunteers do every time they hit the trail to help continue to make the Ozark Trail one of the top destination trails in the state of Missouri. And it’s because you care about the OT that makes the difference. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Kathie Brennan – Event Leader

By: Kathie Brennan
04/01/14 11:52:43 AM

We know this spring’s weather has kept us from the trail. But on March 8th, two events, Adam’s Round Spring Connector build and Kathie’s International Women’s Day event were combined to get maximum trail time. Greeted by a bright, sunny morning, volunteers gathered near Himont located in the Pioneer Forest and from there split into two groups. Kathie’s crew of 12 tackled Brushy Creek doing lopping, signing and leaf blowing. They were assisted by OTA sawyers Russell Martin and Rick Schuh. Adam’s crew of 9 hiked in to continue construction on the Round Spring connector which will eventually link the Brushy Creek loop trail to Round Spring and continue into Current River State Park. The best thing about events like this is that new volunteers are paired up with seasoned veterans to make the day a success. When the rain began to fall mid-morning, volunteers continued to work to make sure the tasks at hand were completed. 

As volunteers returned from the forest, in appreciation for an awesome day of work, it is tradition to finish the day with a meal.  Adam’s group was treated to a wonderful supper prepared by OTA’s Executive Director, Matt Atnip. Kathie’s ladies headed back to Current River State Park for an evening of food, camaraderie and sharing stories. An extra shout out goes to Matt Atnip for providing assistance from maps, GPS coordinates, to gathering equipment, transporting and returning the equipment that was used that day to cooking for the Himont crew. But above all, without our dedicated volunteers the Ozark Trail would not be what it is and what it will continue to be….an outstanding destination trail worthy of being named a National Recreation Trail.