Mount Magazine is on State Highway 309, 16 miles south of Paris and 10 miles north of Havana, AR. Signal Hill (2,753 ft in elevation) at the top of Magazine Mountain, is the highest point in Arkansas. The mountain is owned by the US Forest Service as part of Ozark National Forest, Mount Magazine Ranger District. The top portion is leased to Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Division of State Parks, as Mount Magazine State Park. The land surrounding Mount Magazine State Park is Mount Magazine Wildlife Management Area, established through a cooperative agreement with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. This IBA recognizes the portion within Mount Magazine State Park.
Since their discovery by Bill Shepherd in 1972, this site has consistently supported breeding Rufous-crowned Sparrows, possibly the eastern-most population in the world. Up to 9 birds have been seen in a single day and begging juveniles have been observed. Fifty to one-hundred percent of the state's population occurs here. The site may be a source for dispersers to other sites in the state. Mount Magazine also supports small numbers of breeding Cooper?s Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Black-throated Green Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, and Hooded Warbler. Red-headed Woodpeckers and American Redstarts migrate through the park. More than 3,000 raptors may pass by in migration including Broad-winged, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Swainson?s, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper?s Hawks, Bald and Golden Eagles, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon (4 records). Numbers have not been confirmed.
In Arkansas, Rufous-crowned Sparrows occupy south-facing bluffs dominated by sparse juniper-hardwood forest with a grassy understory. Periodic disturbance through fire or thinning is needed to maintain this habitat type. Most has been lost in the state through natural succession. The new lodge and cabins in Mount Magazine State Park have been constructed along the south-facing bluff. Tree thinning for construction may actually improve sparrow habitat. US Forest Service is conducting prescribed burns and thinning elsewhere along the bluff to maximize sparrow habitat.
The land is owned by the US Forest Service as part of Ozark National Forest, Mount Magazine Ranger District and is leased to Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Division of State Parks as Mount Magazine State Park.
The mountain is recognized as an area of unique ecological and botanical features. Eleven plant communities have been described. Mesic-oak hickory dominates followed by xeric oak-hickory. Other types are mesic bluffline, juniper-hardwood woodland, scrub oak woodland, sphagnum seep, xeric sandstone glade, pine, and shortleaf pine-hardwood. Much of the mountain was cleared for agriculture and recreation by the 1920s, thus current forest cover is of recent origin and has developed as a result of old field succession.
Arkansas? latest state park is still under development but has 40,000 visitors per year. Recreational activities include: birding, butterflying, sightseeing, hiking, camping, biking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, riding ATVs, and horseback riding. A 60-room lodge and 13 cabins are under construction and are slated to open May 1 2006.