About Bear Creek Trail : Ozark National Forest:
The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.
The Ouachita National Forest is the oldest National Forest in the southern United States. The forest encompasses 1,784,457 acres (7,221 km2), including most of the scenic Ouachita Mountains. Six locations in the forest, comprising 65,000 acres (263 kmē), have been designated as wilderness areas. Ouachita is the French spelling of the Indian word Washita which means "good hunting grounds". The forest was known as Arkansas National Forest on its establishment on December 18, 1907; the name was changed to Ouachita National Forest on April 29, 1926.
Rich in history, the rugged and scenic Ouachita Mountains were first explored in 1541 by Hernando de Soto's party of Spaniards. French explorers followed, flavoring the region with names like Fourche La Fave River.
The area including the forest nearly became a 165,000-acre (670 km2) National Park during the 1