Environmental Park First Known for Healing People
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September 10, 2002Environmental Park First Known for Healing People
By Amy Garrett, guest writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and TourismArkansas's 35th state park, Logoly, is the state's first environmental education park. At Logoly, interpreters present workshops on ecological and environmental topics, and the park's natural resources provide a living laboratory for students and nature lovers alike. The park also offers a visitors center and limited camping. For more information, call (870) 695-3561 or visit www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
For generations, mineral-rich spring water welling up in the midst of Arkansas's southern woodlands has drawn people in search of cures and those offering spiritual healing. Today, Logoly State Park draws those hoping to learn to better care for such precious natural resources.
The story of the Logoly dates back more than a century ago, when people traveled to bathe in and drink from the park's Magnesia Springs. It is believed that Caddo Indians native to the area first introduced settlers to the 11 springs and their purported healing powers.
Near the turn of the century, as word of the springs spread, a small community developed. According to Linda Goza, park interpreter at Logoly since 1990, "the Magnesia Springs community had two hotels: the Duke and the Mendenhall. The Cotton Belt Railroad stopped here, and a wagon was sent to bring the tourists to the hotels."
As the popularity of Magnesia Springs grew, so, too, did its affiliation with the Methodist Church. As early as 1888, local Methodists had begun using Logoly as a gathering place. After building cabins, pious locals gathered each summer for a week of revival that revolved around of preaching, singing, socializing and shared food. According to Goza, Logoly was used by the Methodists as late as the 1930s.
"Many visitors have talked of their memories of being baptized in the pond, their memories of the large T-dock where they learned to swim and of riding in a wagon to the springs to fill barrels full of water," Goza said.
By 1940, the land had come under the ownership of three families: the Loginos, Goodes and Lyles. These families leased the land to the Boy Scouts, who named their summer retreat "Camp Logoly" (LOW-guh-LI) by combining the first two letters of the three families' names. For the next three decades, thousands of Southern Arkansas Boy Scouts swam in the spring-fed pond, hiked the trails and strengthened friendships at Camp Logoly.
During the late '60s, the Boy Scouts removed all structures they'd built and quit using Logoly. "Over the next few years," Goza said, "this area fell to a trash dump which was a great concern of many community leaders. So these individuals solicited the state park system."
But because the state parks system was short of funds, the Nature Conservancy purchased in 1974 the 368 acres that now make up Logoly and designated it a Natural Area to preserve its unique environmental qualities. That same year, the state parks systems acquired the land, but under a special agreement, the Nature Conservancy retained control of the land. According to Goza, the Nature Conservancy and the Arkansas Heritage Department "both stipulate that...we can't cut trees, make new trails or change the area without their approval."
When Logoly State Park opened on May 20th, 1978, it had the distinction of being the first environmental education park in the state and only the third of its kind in the nation.
Buildings were erected in the same places the Boy Scouts had built 30 years earlier, and Logoly soon became a popular destination for area schools. In 2000, more than 30,000 visited the park.
Though Linda Goza guides groups of various ages, she mainly sees elementary-aged children. It is the opportunity to teach the importance of every creature and respect for nature that motivates Goza. "To see the looks on kids' faces is what gets me to work every day," she said. "When that light bulb comes on. Wow!"(Amy Garrett is a student at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.)####
Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"