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At approximately 12:00 pm, November 1, 2022, search and rescue personnel found lost hiker Clinton Preston Smith near the river in the vicinity of Horseshoe Bend. Mr. Smith was found in good spirits and rescue personnel assisted him out to Kyles Landing.
Mr. Smith, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, set out for a hike on the Hemmed-in-Hollow Trail in Buffalo National River on October 27, 2022. He was reported missing by his family the evening of October 28 after he failed to return home as scheduled. The National Park Service and Newton County Sheriff’s Office led a search and rescue operation that began the morning of October 29 and canvased the Ponca Wilderness for four days. Grid style ground searches, aerial searches, and tracking dogs were used by search and rescue crews throughout the search.
The National Park Service would like expresses its thanks to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Mennonite Disaster Service, BUFFSAR volunteers, Arkansas Alliance of Bloodhound Search Specialists, Arkansas State Police, Compton Volunteer Fire Department, County Line Baptist Church, Marion County Search and Rescue, and North Arkansas Regional Medical Center for their assistance in this search effort. A special thanks also goes out to Fred Wohl and his horse team for their assistance in the rescue.
The terrain in Buffalo National River can be rugged and steep. Off-trail travel is often dangerous, and we ask visitors to please stay on established trails to avoid injury and disorientation. Hiking information can be obtained by contacting a park ranger at (870) 439-2502, or on the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/buff/planyourvisit/index.htm.