Hot Springs, ARK. – The Arkansas Trails Council recognized an Ouachita National Forest employee and a volunteer from the Friends of the Ouachita Trail for their work on Arkansas trails during an awards presentation at the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios in Fayetteville, Ark., July 22.

Tom Ledbetter, a recreation technician was awarded with the 2017 Arkansas Trail Professional of the Year and Ron Mayfield, vice present of FOOT for maintenance, received the 2017 Arkansas Trail Volunteer of the Year.

Michael Sprague, Arkansas Trails Council chair and Toby Von Rembow, vice-chair presented the awards.

“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.”

Ledbetter and Mayfield’s list of accomplishments includes helping complete the FoOt Trail Shelter Project on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail last November. The twelfth and final shelter was placed on Suck Mountain, which ended the project along the 192 miles of the ORNT started by FoOT in 2013.

“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.”