Big changes for Pinnacle Mountain hikers

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Pinnacle Mountain is getting a trim after years of hikers ignoring the path.

Over the years, hikers have created a shortcut up and down the mountain which has created a soil problem on the trail.

There are more than 500,000 people that will visit Pinnacle Mountain State Park this year, and many will climb to the top. Park rangers are now asking for the public's help to stay on the trail to keep the rest of the mountain soil alive.

"The good high quality darker soil has already been taken away…"

It's a hiker's haven and biologist's dream. For more than 40 years, Pinnacle Mountain's trails have been a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike.

"Over a matter of just a few generations this whole mountain could be completely bald."

For years, a number of man-made detours and shortcuts away from the original west summit trail have slowly caused an erosion of the mountain's ecosystem.

"People are trying to cut those corners and it's digging into to the soil and when it rains it washes all that soil away and the vegetation it used to have like right here is just going to disappear and look barren like that," said Matthew Friant, a park interpreter.

The problem has become so severe, park superintendent Ron Salley recently brought in volunteers to cut down trees blocking the rogue pathways.

"Cutting down a small tree is a small sacrifice we're willing to take in order to keep the entire mountain."

And though it may be an unusual means for guiding hikers to the right path, they say they appreciate any help they can get.

"It's called the natural state so we need to keep it as natural as possible so I think that's part of the attraction to it."


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