Ouachita National Forest employee, volunteer receive Arkansas Trails Council awards

Ron Mayfield and Tom Ledbetter. Forest Service photo by Brenda Lea.

ATLANTA — The Arkansas Trails Council recognized Forest Service employee Tom Ledbetter and Ron Mayfield, a volunteer from the Friends of the Ouachita Trail, for their work on Arkansas trails. The awards presentation at the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios in Fayetteville, Arkansas on July 22.

Ledbetter, a recreation technician, was awarded with the 2017 Arkansas Trail Professional of the Year. Mayfield, who serves as vice president of FoOT for maintenance, received the 2017 Arkansas Trail Volunteer of the Year. Ledbetter and Mayfield’s list of accomplishments includes helping complete the FoOt Trail Shelter Project last November. Since 2013, FoOT placed three shelters along the 192-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail. Nine additional shelters on the ONRT were built by the Forest Service during the 1990s.

 “I was pleased to receive this award although I first thought that I don’t do trail work for recognition or awards,” Mayfield said. “I do trail work because I enjoy being in the woods and trail work.  I spent a lifetime working in offices doing technical stuff and I now can truly appreciate the simplicity of trail work.  I’ve been very lucky in life and hope to give back some of this richness through trail work.”

Ledbetter was also recognized for his work with partners that include the Trail Dogs, Texas Conservation Corps, Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association, area Boy Scout troops and the International Mountain Bike Association. In 2016, there were 4,250 volunteer hours of labor logged on the trail systems on the Ouachita National Forest.

“I am very honored to be recognized by the Arkansas Trails Council as the trails professional of the year for 2017,” said Ledbetter. “I hope our efforts enhance the experience that our visitors have while enjoying their National Forest.”