CAMN Decade Pavilion Project
by Bert Turner
Back in 2015, Richard Lawrence came up with the idea to build a pavilion or something like that as a permanent memorial to CAMN and all it has accomplished over its first 10 years of serving nature in Arkansas. Richard along with Bill Toland and Bert Turner, all members of the second class of 2017, decided the best place for a pavilion would be on the Arkansas River Trail on the North Little Rock side where multiple trails we worked on came together—Pfeifer Loop, Isabella Jo, Northshore, Yellow Trail from Burns Park, and connector trails. (See attached photo.)
The view across the Arkansas River was beautiful, Campbell Lake would be right behind the pavilion, and the area was surrounded with lots of flora and fauna. There was even a nice beach just across the River Trail. That would make it a great location for hikers, dog walkers, runners, road bikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, fishermen, and others that may pass by the pavilion or stop in to take a break—and maybe even learn about or get interested in CAMN.
We decided on a metal pavilion with a disabled accessible picnic table, benches, bike racks, horse hitching rail, and signage touting Arkansas Master Naturalists. A plan was launched and we raised enough money to construct the CAMN Decade Pavilion.
Bert volunteered to work with the City of North Little Rock to get approval and make it happen. Our first big mistake was letting Bert head up the project! Bert did quickly get approval from the city, and he has been working on getting past numerous other obstacles to get the pavilion constructed. However, here we are five years later he is still trying to get it completed. Bill is calling it the Decade-and-a- Half Pavilion.
The obstacles were quite monumental. Several floods slowed us down directly and indirectly. The beach across the River Trail almost washed away, the Arkansas River Trail was under 3’ of sand, and huge logs were deposited by the floods right where the pavilion was to be built! Then City Engineers, Pulaski County maintenance, Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA all got involved in the flood recovery. The pavilion itself had to be redesigned and rebuilt with materials that would withstand a 500-year flood, and the foundation would have to be about 3’ deep with concrete and compacted gravel. The price skyrocketed for cleanup, 16 cubic yards of concrete, many dump truck loads of gravel, new heavy duty construction materials, etc. The good thing is Bert was able to get the City of North Little Rock to help cover much of the price increase.