$10 million resort: Pine Mountain owners announce redevelopment plan

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A new $10 million-plus resort planned in the heart of Eureka Springs is aiming to create a new playground in the backyard of burgeoning Northwest Arkansas and a regional draw for mountain bikers, motorcyclists, foodies and sightseers.

Pine Mountain –– a dramatic redevelopment of the Pine Mountain Village, Pine Mountain Jamboree and about 40 acres of adjoining forested hills –– will incorporate two farm-to-table restaurants, a fast-casual cafe, 15-plus cabins, boutique shopping, a 200-person event center, outdoor event space and a mountain adventure center to rewrite the script for Ozark mountain destinations.

The destination promises to create more than 100 hospitality jobs in the community. It is the brainchild of chef-entrepreneur Marshall Johnson and his father, Paul Johnson, who owns the property. For more than a decade, Marshall Johnson has owned and run the Rockin’ Pig Saloon, one of Eureka Springs’ most popular restaurants. Paul Johnson and his wife own the Pig Trail Harley-Davidson dealerships in Rogers and Eureka Springs.

“This is a great time to develop an exciting, multi-faceted tourism destination like Pine Mountain in Eureka Springs,” Marshall Johnson said in a news release. “We’re the backyard playground for the booming Northwest Arkansas population; mountain biking and motorcycling in the Ozarks are getting national and international notoriety, and Eureka Springs is this jewel of a destination that has drawn a crowd for more than a century.”

“The area has been known as ‘Little Switzerland’ in the past. With Pine Mountain, you might say we’re creating a ‘Little Aspen’ in the Ozarks,” Marshall Johnson said, drawing parallels to the food, entertainment and outdoors scenes of that famous mountain town.

The 15 cabins initially planned will have bike-in-bike-out access to three miles of hiking/biking trails on the property, with connectors to area trails, surface roads and downtown Eureka Springs. In addition, Marshall Johnson said there will be access by bike or vehicle to other trail systems built or planned in the community such as the Lake Leatherwood Gravity Trails and The Great Passion Play trail system.

Eureka Springs and the surrounding area is a popular destination for motorcycling as well, which the family has actively promoted for years as Harley-Davidson dealers.

“The Pig Trail and other Ozark riding routes are already well known,” said Kyle Johnson, Marshall’s brother and general manager of the dealership. “With Pine Mountain Resort, we’re building hospitality venues we know will appeal to our Hog-riding community; they’ve already told us so.”

Informed by Marshall Johnson’s passion for farm-to-table cuisine and exceptional steaks, the restaurants on the property will feature 100 percent full-blood Japanese Black Wagyu and American Wagyu beef farmed by the chef himself as well as 100 percent Heritage Angus cuts grown by family farmers in the Midwest.

The Social House event center will accommodate weddings, corporate events and other social occasions up to 200 persons.

Outside, the grounds will feature a naturally landscaped event area capable of hosting all manner of musical and entertainment events, a striking observation tower overlooking the city’s downtown, Ozark hills and Crescent Hotel, and an expansive parking lot where Pine Mountain will continue its tradition of hosting Corvette, Mustang and VW club car shows.

Stacy Hurst, cabinet secretary for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said the Pine Mountain project is a significant development in the state’s tourism infrastructure.

“Pine  Mountain in Eureka Springs has the potential to drive tourism in the area to a new level,” she said. “This project will utilize the incredible natural and cultural resources of the area and present them to today’s traveler in a way that’s very attractive. The redevelopment and enhancement of Pine Mountain will have a very positive impact on Arkansas’s tourism economy.”

Architectural and design services are being provided by Shea Design of Minneapolis, A James Beard Award nominee for excellence in design.

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  • What were you thinking??? Mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat! Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail!

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: https://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see https://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Mountain bikers also love to build new trails - legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat - not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals' full use of their habitat. See https://mjvande.info/scb9.htm for details.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: https://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: https://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users -- hikers and equestrians -- who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren't gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won't understand what I am talking about -- an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

    -- Posted by mjvande on Tue, Jan 21, 2020, at 6:54 PM
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