One of my favorite hikes in the Mena area is the hike back to an old stone dam that is not far from town. I first found the dam in August 2006 through Geocaching. There was a cache listed that was called The CCC DAM BOMBER TRAIL cache. I had a hard time figuring out how to get to this cache, and even though I made it I did everything wrong. I found an old cowpath through the brush that took me to the bottom of the dam on Ward Lake. I climbed the dam and bushwacked through the bottom of Ward Lake as it was dry. I found my way up the creek bed and eventually came to the bottom of the CCC Dam. I had to climb the dam to get to the cache. Once I made it to the dam, I realized that there was a trail, and I took it out to the road.
GINA ON THE DAM
I like to take people on this hike back to the dam. Last Sunday, Gina and I hiked back to the dam with our friend Deanna. It was a beautiful day. We took Deanna's dog Cowboy with us. He was great to hike with.
GINA AND COWBOY ON THE TRAIL
I haven't been able to finds out anything definite, but I am sure that the dam was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC was a work relief program for young men from unemployed families, established on March 21, 1933, by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As part of Roosevelt's New Deal legislation, it was designed to combat unemployment during the Great Depression. The CCC became one of the most popular New Deal programs among the general public and operated in every U.S. state.
During its nine-year existence the CCC enlisted nearly 3 million single men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five to work at erosion control, fire prevention, land reclamation, and pest eradication. For their service, enrollees received $30 monthly, $25 of which they were required to send home to their families.
In Arkansas, the CCC erected 446 buildings, constructed 6,500 miles of road, built eight dams, laid 250 miles of fence, erected 86 lookout towers in forests, planted 19.4 million trees and strung 8,600 miles of telephone line. They also built cabins, pavilions, bridges and trails in Arkansas’ state parks.
VIEW FROM BELOW THE DAM
Every time that I reach the dam I am amazed by it . It looks like an archeological site. The trail is almost never used, so there is absolutely no indication of people having been there. Every time I see it I feel like I have discovered it again.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.