Allow us to introduce you to FOURCHE (pronounced Foo-sh or Fush) Creek! Chances are, your action or inaction has been impacting it for years! According to Audubon, nearly ¾ of the surface area of Little Rock drains into Fourche Creek (see this map to check if your home or business is in the watershed). That means that every piece of trash you pick up at Second Baptist Church Downtown is one less piece of trash that will end up in the Fourche.
Over the years, Fourche Creek has become a refuge for us. It is easily accessible within three miles of Second Baptist Church Downtown. The environment is extremely unique and boasts 300 year old cypress trees. Many bird species can be spotted on any given day (owls, wood ducks, herons, hawks, etc) and the creek is home to over 70 species of fish just waiting to be caught (including catfish, bass, gar, and sunfish). Fourche Creek Bottoms is one of the largest wilderness areas in our city, yet it is underutilized and underappreciated. One thing we love about the Fourche is its absolute resilience against impacts from the weather (it drains 1 billion gallons of water during a typical storm) and from the people of Little Rock (storm water often carries trash and pollutants into the Fourche). It is humbling to see an ecosystem that has withstood the test of time.
Despite it being a gorgeous display of God’s creation and sanctuary to anyone who goes there, it is also full of trash. What do we mean by trash?? Literally, trash. Tires, basketballs, styrofoam cups, plastic bottles, shoes, buckets, coolers, you name it, you can find it in the Fourche! Much of this is littered in the city and/or swept into storm drains after a rain. How can we let this happen to one of God’s gifts? This special place, this special creation, this is how we care for it?
To be clear, there are people working to clean up the Fourche. Friends of Fourche Creek organizes cleanups with other city groups, and the Arkansas Canoe Club ACC BOATR (Black Ops Advanced Trash Retrieval) helps remove large items. If you are interested in joining these efforts and learning more about the Fourche, check out: https://ar.audubon.org/conservation/friends-fourche-creek. Or, simply do not litter and pick up the litter that you see downtown. If trash in the street is not picked up, it will likely be swept into the Fourche during the next rain. You may even start to notice the painted storm drains with the round logo that reads “Drains Directly to Fourche Creek.”
Often, we lead ourselves to believe that our actions don’t impact others. We believe that our actions downtown don’t impact the wilderness. The city feels ‘separate’ from creation, but if you visit the Fourche you’ll see it is intimately linked to the city, and that what is cast out in Little Rock ends up in the Fourche. As Winona Laduke says, we claim to throw away trash, but “there is no away”. God made creation and gifted us with the ability to enjoy it, and responsibility to care for it. We are forever linked to these sacred spaces, and if you visit Fourche Creek, you will hear creation sing the Father’s song. For maps of hiking trails and water access points in the Fourche, visit https://ar.audubon.org/conservation/floating-fourche-creek.