I'm in the same boat at the moment working with whomever replies to the r8_ouachita_info address about getting a permit as well. I basically told them that I am going to be driving through 27&28 and I'm not exactly sure what district I will be in when I find the spot I want to put a cache. I basically just copied the Ozark page and sent it with info to the Ouachita address, but they replied with just this link about geocaching in the Ouachita's.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/ouachita/maps/d ... itting.doc
Is Elaine Sharp the MAIN person approving caches for the Ouachita district? I know there are going to be several "small middle men" that approve it as well, but I think There was going to be one person in the district that kept the "master list" of all the caches on record. This way if a ranger(approver) switches jobs or something else, they still have someone to review and check on caches in the mean time.
I think the Ouachita district is trying to be too political with this. They are trying to be the typical government agency with red tape, etc that they hope will discourage us from placing caches on their property. I'll keep you guys posted with any info I find out.
The way I would like to see it....Is I go to the Ouachita website, I fill out a webform that ask all the questions they need. When I hit submit, the coords are checked to see which ranger district it needs to go to and is sent. A copy is also sent to the main Ouachita contact or other "storage" file. Then I get a auto response back in my e-mail that says "Thanks for requesting a NFS Geocaching permit, please allow 7-10 days to process your request. Ranger John Bob will contact you with further instructions. If you have any questions in the mean time, please call 870-xxx-xxxx."
After a few days, My cache either gets approved and I get a e-mail with the permit number or I get a e-mail telling me why my cache was not approved(too close to historical artifact, etc).
I can wish right :)