Recently the Sugarloaf Heritage Council made their first attempt to remove the large amounts of graffiti from the bluffs of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Frank Barton and Jeff Baggett, chief of maintenance at ASU Heber Springs, led a crew up Sugarloaf Mountain to try out an environmentally friendly cleaning solvent, called Elephant Snot, on the graffiti.
Recently the Sugarloaf Heritage Council made their first attempt to remove the large amounts of graffiti from the bluffs of Sugarloaf Mountain. Frank Barton and Jeff Baggett, chief of maintenance at ASU Heber Springs, led a crew up Sugarloaf Mountain to try out an environmentally friendly cleaning solvent, called Elephant Snot, on the graffiti. Barton stated, “The Elephant Snot worked as advertised. We found that the ease and effectiveness varied somewhat, probably based on the type of paint and the age of the graffiti, but it did work as advertised.” The council’s first workday was intended to access the situation. The crew soon found that the use of a pressure washer will be essential to continuing the cleaning process. “The process we used was to brush on a thin coat of the Elephant Snot, allow it to stand for at least 20 minutes, the longer the better, brush it with a wire brush and then rinse with water. We learned that water pressure is critical,” said Barton. “We were using hand pumped garden sprayers. When they were pumped up to the point of bursting and the nozzle focused close to the rock, the snot and paint would just peel away. We concluded that the ability to use high-pressure water from a pressure washer would increase our efficiency ten-fold.” On their next workday the council plans to take a trailer mounted pressure washer up the mountain. “We have also worked out a scheme by which we can deliver water to the pressure washer through a garden hose by elevating a 55-gallon drum above the washer and using it as a reservoir. Jeff Baggett feels like he has enough hose to reach virtually all of the mountain cap from the base,” said Barton. “Throughout the workday, there was a steady stream of hikers, all of whom were very curious and extremely supportive of the effort,” said Barton. “Recently my son and I were hiking Sugarloaf and encountered a group of high school students. All five of them were carrying full trash bags. I asked why they decided to clean up the area. They stated that they frequently hike Sugarloaf and were tired of seeing so much litter,” Barton said with a smile. “This is a perfect example of how much the community cares about cleaning up Sugarloaf.” “We plan to do the majority of the graffiti removal this winter, when heat and poison ivy are not much of a problem,” said Barton. “Many people are concerned that after we remove all the graffiti, vandals will come back and do it again. Organizations similar to our own have found that once the graffiti is removed the vandalism becomes much less prevalent. Also, the mountain will be more heavily monitored. If anyone is caught even carrying a can of spray paint while hiking Sugarloaf, law enforcement will make an example of them.” “Our primary goal is to not ever let Sugarloaf Mountain get back into the shape that it is currently in. Every rock and most trees at the top of the mountain have graffiti on them. Our funds come primarily from fund raisers and the response from the community of Cleburne County has been phenomenal,” said Joe Rath, President of the Board of Directors for the Sugarloaf Heritage Council. The Sugarloaf Heritage Council was organized in October of 2007 to enhance and restore Sugarloaf Mountain in Heber Springs. The council is a sub group that was formed under the Arkansas State University Foundation. The council’s immediate goals include removing the massive amounts of graffiti, repairing the trails, installing picnic tables and benches and installing restroom facilities. In addition the group plans to install warning signs, rules and regulations signs and trail maps. The council hopes to have these goals completed in approximately five years. For more information about the Sugarloaf Heritage Council contact Frank Barton at (501) 940-1900. Interested parties can find a Membership/ Sponsorship/ Volunteer form by visiting http://sugarloafheritagecouncil.org.