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water woods 2016 ARKANSAS

OUTDOORS

GUIDE

The Natural State

of Epic Five Mountain Biking Rides

Climb On, Camp On A camping and climbing trip to Sam’s Throne

Honey Holes and Hot Spots Fishing guides’ favorite spots on Arkansas rivers and lakes

On The Water

In The Woods

Out Here

Around Town

Over Yonder

Basecamp


S E I R O M E M E K MA d AT THE

RIVER

CLASSIC LOG CABINS s Luxury, Group and Family Cabins Available s Charming Interiors s Loft Bedrooms s Modern Amenities

1-800-582-2244

CLASSIC BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER ADVENTURES s Multiple Different Day Trips s Primitive Multi-Day Trips s Canoe Rentals s Hiking Excursions

(870) 439-2244

9664 Highway 65 N. | St. Joe, Arkansas BuffaloRiverCabins.com

BuffaloRiverOutfitters.com

Authorized Concessioner

Buffalo River Outfitters is authorized to provide canoe rentals and transportation services within the Buffalo National River.


Share with us! #BuffaloRiver #BOCcabinlife

PONCA

ARKANSAS

The legendary Buffalo National River… come float it with Buffalo Outdoor Center, Arkansas’ adventure resort.

Float he Legend.

We can provide everything you’ll need to enjoy a float trip on America’s first national river. And our fully furnished cabins – many with hot tubs – will welcome you home after a great day on the river.

870-861-5514 BuffaloRiver.com RV CAMPGROUND opening summer 2016

RIVER TRIPS (Mar-June) • ZIP LINE TOURS (Mar-Nov) • ARKANSAS’ FINEST HIKING • ELK WATCHING

AUTHORIZED CONCESSIONER Buffalo Outdoor Center is authorized to provide canoe, kayak and raft rentals and transportation services within the Buffalo National River.


feature

Upper Buffalo Trail

32 The Natural State of Epic

We have the terrain, and we have the trails – five of them Epic Rides, as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

Mount Kessler

2

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


MY PARK, YOUR PARK,

OUR PARKS.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Lake Ouachita

Lake Catherine

Mississippi River

Devil’s Den

Crater of Diamonds

The State Parks of Arkansas are here for you. Enjoy shared experiences with family and friends, or take some solitary moments to reconnect with the beauty of nature. Campsites, cabins, and lodges are in settings that will inspire you. Endless opportunities for outdoor adventures will engage you. The programs and workshops hosted by our interpretive naturalists, geologists, historians, and archeologists will connect you to these 52 state treasures and create more memories to last a lifetime. Make your plans online now. Then take the time for your getaway to one these unforgettable places.

ArkansasStateParks.com

#ARStateParks


DEPARTMENTS 06

Index of Advertisers

On The Water

08 12 20 28

Ouachita Wonder Woman Honey Holes and Hot Spots

Around Town

54 56 60

Buffalo Float Trip

Scenic Drives

"Ducks in Flight"

Basecamp

Climb On, Camp On Hiking Trails to You

Setting the Pace

Over Yonder

Water Trails

62 In The Woods 38 42

Centered on Nature

64

Hunting in Arkansas

Out Here

46 50 52

Waterfall Watch Stream Rehab

On the front cover: Craighead Forest, Jonesboro

Where Eagles Dare

On the back cover: Mount Nebo State Park

Get Out! “The Natural State” works for Arkansas. It just does. Our mountains, woods, rivers, creeks, lakes, rocks, trails, skies, animals, fish, birds, people … they all offer opportunities for residents and visitors to relax, rejuvenate, challenge themselves in the natural environment we’re justifiably known for. Arkansas Water & Woods celebrates everything outdoors (plus a little bit of indoors). So read this, then put it down, and get out there.

To req uest a guide, visit

Arkansas.com or call

1-800-NATURAL

Beaver Lake 4

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Arkansas Water and Woods is published by CJ R W © 2016 cjrw.com


ADVERTISER INDEX 36 44 49 3 30 31 59 33 37 18-19 IBC 1 IFC 41 17 17 16 10 48 44 7 48 26 23 5 11 45 6

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53 59 45 11 36 48 37 2527 57 25 29 36 49

Lindsey’s Resort Little Rock Mena Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa Northwest Arkansas Ozark Ozark Gateway Ozark Mountain Region Parkside Cycle Rainbow Drive Resort Rockwater Marina Rogers Russellville

23 40 27 59 15 16 27 51 10 61 44 26

Siloam Springs Stamp Out Smoking Stetson’s on the White Stone’s Throw Brewing Striped Bass Adventures Swaha Lodge & Marina Teal Point Resort The Nature Conservancy Trader Bill’s Outdoor Sports Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Western Arkansas’ Mountain Frontier Wild Bill’s Outfitter

Crain RV DeGray Lake Resort State Park Diamond Lakes Echo Canyon Resort & Marina El Dorado Fairfield Bay Fort Smith

1/3 pg. Square Fort Smith

Gaston’s White River Resort Greers Ferry Lake & Little Red River Harrison Helena Hot Springs Village Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina Keep Arkansas Beautiful

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Siloam Springs Kayak Park


A F IRST -C LASS T IME ... E VERY T IME. Gaston’s is the place to achieve complete relaxation. We’ve got everything you need for a family vacation, romantic getaway or group gathering year-round. From world-class trout fishing to just watching the river roll by as you enjoy Chef Rick Gollinger’s nightly dinner specials, Gaston’s gets it right, every time.

Follow us on 1777 River Road, Lakeview, AR 72642 870-431-5202 • Email gastons@gastons.com Lat 36 20’ 55” N Long 92 33’ 25” W

www.gastons.com


ON The WATER

Ouachita Wonder Woman

Lisa Logan, Kayak Queen

Covering 700 miles on dry land under your own power is impressive enough. Covering it on a 40,100-acre lake – Arkansas’s largest – is something else altogether. But that’s just what Lisa Logan, an avid kayaker, did. Her endeavor, which began in the spring of 2014 and finished at the end of that same year, included kayaking the entire shoreline of Lake Ouachita, making her the first woman and only the second person to complete this feat. 8

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Lake Ouachita

ranks as one of the

top 10 spots in the nation for largemouth bass fishing and water activities.

Lake Ouachita


Lake Ouachita ranks as one of the top 10 spots in the nation for largemouth bass fishing, and water activities like boating, water-skiing, scuba diving and kayaking are popular there. The lake is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and has one of the state’s most pristine shorelines. During her venture, Lisa made most of the solo journey accompanied by her

After her journey ended, Logan soon embarked on another lake adventure by starting Ouachita Kayak Tours. Her guiding operation opened in early 2015, and she currently leads full- and half-day tours on the lake. The tours, which are open to both groups and individuals, are customizable and open to all skill levels, even if you’ve never kayaked before.

Ouachita Kayak Tours Guided tours depart from various launch sites around Lake Ouachita. ouachitakayaktours.com 501-725-2925

Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa LISA LOGAN Lake Ouachita

two dogs, who rode on top of her kayak. Her aim was not just to get in the mileage needed to paddle the shoreline from end to end, but to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the lake. She stopped to take pictures and watch for wildlife and experienced a range of sights during her

Lake Ouachita

adventure. As she paddled her way along the shoreline, she saw colorful spring flowers, animals such as deer and other wild game, and birds like coots, herons and eagles. The lake is home to more than 200 islands, some of which offer prime primitive camping spots. A famous island there, Bird Island, attracts thousands of roosting purple martins during the summer months.

“Lake Ouachita has always been an important part of my life,” said Logan. “It has provided me with peaceful, relaxing times and also some of the most fun and excitement I’ve ever experienced. Through Ouachita Kayak Tours, I get to share those experiences with lots of people. My favorite thing about guiding tours is taking out first-time kayakers and watching them get comfortable. That first big smile is priceless.” WW

Set on a wooded point on Lake Ouachita, this waterfront resort is around 30 miles from Hot Springs. 994 Mountain Harbor Road, Mount Ida mountainharborresort.com 870-867-2191

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) This popular trail includes around 45 miles of hiking, running and mountain biking trails along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita. It links the resorts and campgrounds around Lake Ouachita together via a trail system. The LOViT meanders through the Ouachita National Forest with spurs providing lake vistas. The route was named an Epic Ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

ARKANSAS.COM

9


Kayaking on Lake Ouachita

THE REGION’S LARGEST TACKLE &

MARINE SUPPLY “We know the Outdoors Inside Out” TRADER BILL’S OUTDOOR SPORTS 1530 Albert Pike Hot Springs, AR 71913 traderbills.com 501 • 623 • 8403

10

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


A Lifetime of Memories.

Between our resorts, we have spent over a lifetime doing just one thing: providing the very best cottages, marina facilities and customer service, and being rewarded with amazing lifelong friendships along the way. MountainHarborResort.com 870-867-2191

Come ... make some memories with us.

Iron-Mountain.com 870-246-4310


ON The WATER

Honey Holes

& H ot Spo t s The Arkansas River forms Lake Dardanelle, a fisherman’s fave.

anglers and guides share some of their favorite

spots on Arkansas rivers

and lakes. 12

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

The Natural State has tons of great fishing spots. Here, anglers and guides share some of their favorite spots on Arkansas rivers and lakes. B.J. Heilman, manager at Ozark Mountain Trading Co., a paddling outfitter located in the Ozark Mountain region, has paddled his share of Arkansas waters and suggests these rivers for those who like to float and fish.

In North Central Arkansas, Crooked Creek is a top-notch smallmouth bass stream to put your boat on. “There’s both quantity and quality,” says Heilman. “You can catch one after the other all day long.” This stream offers peace and solitude, although it is rain dependent and can rise to a torrent quickly, especially during heavy spring rains. There are no outfitters on the river, and most of the land along the bank is privately owned. Popular access points are found at Snow and Lower Pyatt.


1. Crooked Creek 4 2. Kings River 2 31 5 3. Buffalo River 9 6 10 7 4. Bull Shoals 8 5. Norfork Lake 6. Lake Greeson 7. Arkansas River Pool #6 8. Arkansas River Pool #7 9. Lake Dardanelle 10. Lake Maumelle

Paddling and ďŹ shing on the Kings River ARKANSAS.COM

13


Crooked Creek

To catch the feisty smallmouth, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recommends crank and spinner baits retrieved across riffles or live bait and soft plastic lures worked in deep holes with large rock and other structures. The creek is also home to largemouth bass, Ozark bass, green sunfish, bluegill and catfish. Heilman adds that both the Kings and Buffalo are good fishing streams as well. James Arnold, an organizer of the Arkansas Bass Team Trail, says Lake Greeson, without a doubt, is his favorite place to fish. “I always fish Lake Greeson out of Swaha Lodge and Marina,” he explains. He says it’s not only a great place to stay, but 14

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

The creek is also home to

largemouth bass, Ozark bass, green sunfish,

bluegill and catfish.

the owners can always tell you what the fish are doing and where. Arnold loves the bass fishing all over the lake. “It seems as if you can always catch them on Greeson,” he says. “The crappie fishing is also great over there. I’m not a very good crappie fisherman, but I can still manage to catch dinner.” Striped bass are also popular on this lake. Arnold says a big striper stripping off your line in a furious run is a big adrenaline rush. “The lake is one of the cleanest and definitely the prettiest that I’ve ever been on,” he adds. “When I want to have fun and a good time, I drive to Lake Greeson.”


ill ennis of Central Arkansas Guide ervices, nc. says his favorite place to fish is the Arkansas iver because of the population of fish, scenery, ildlife and variety of species that live in the ain river and back aters.

iver, offers a large a ount of fishable ater. t is located near ussellville in the est central part of the state, and it parallels nterstate 0.” He adds that there is a variety of fish for eekend anglers or professionals to pursue large outh bass, spotted bass, striped bass, hite bass, catfish, crappie and brea . “ here is another body of ater have to ention,” says ennis. “ ake auelle is located 2 iles est of the ittle ock etropolitan area. t is the Central Arkansas ater supply and is a onderful fishery. ake au elle has a good largeouth bass, spotted bass, hite bass, crappie, brea and catfish population. ake au elle has three boat ra ps, restroo facilities, a arina office and store.”

held on the Arkansas River, is the state’s largest amateur big bass tournament.

Lake Maumelle

“ o be ore specific, ool i , ool even and ake ardanelle are at the top of y list,” he e plains. “ he Arkansas iver has a good variety of vegetation hich is e cellent habitat for s all bait fish and cra fish, t o of the i portant parts of a fish s diet. All three of the fishing spots offer very good Corps of ngineers boat ra ps ith large parking areas. ake ardanelle, hich is part of the Arkansas

PROFESSIONAL GUIDED

STRIPER FISHING On Beautiful Lake Ouachita

i

The Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza,

Lake Greeson

Largemouth bass

has 15 recreation areas, 416 campsites, 10 boat ramps, 6 swimming beaches and 3 pavilions.

Contact: Dave Lindhag • 501-617-4657 • stripedbassar@gmail.com www.StripedBassAdventures.com

ARKANSAS.COM

15


Norfork Lake

At Echo Canyon Resort and Marina, you’re that close to the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. You’re even closer to our full-service marina, restaurant and all-around family fun. And Hot Springs is just a 15-minute drive. Come discover the best-kept secret on Lake Ouachita.

Bull Shoals L ake and Norfork L ake are also incredible fisheries ust ask a pro, especially those ho have fished the aters as part of the ass aster lite ourna ents that have taken place here for the past fe years. ull hoals ake is synonyous ith fishing in Arkansas. Bassmaster aga ine selected the i pound ent as one of the country s op 00 ass akes ay 20 2 . his . . Ar y Corps of ngineers pro ect, located in orth Central Arkansas on the issouri-Arkansas state line, en oys a ide reputation for lunker bass fishing along ith its t in, orfork ake, ust to the east. crappy large outh bass, spotted bass and hite bass abound in these lakes, along ith crappie, channel cat, brea and alleye.

2645 Blakely Dam Road Royal, AR 71968 501-767-2997 echocanyonar.com info@echocanyonar.com Bull Shoals

P.O. Box 226 • Murfreesboro, AR 71958 • 870-285-2272 Toll Free (877) 300-9515 • www.swahacabins.com 16

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Also popular in the area as orld-class trout strea s are the White iver belo ull hoals a and the orth Fork iver belo orfork a . Fishing is e ceptional for four species of trout brook, rainbo , cutthroat and bro n. everal record-breaking bro ns and rainbo s have been hooked on the upper White. elo atesville, the White runs ar er, and bass beco e popular targets. At e port, the river turns south ard across the elta before oining the ississippi iver in southeast Arkansas. WW


Make Epic Here.

Mountain peaks for hiking, five clear lakes for playing, three sparkling rivers for enjoying, IMBA Epic mountain bike trails for shredding, a National Park for exploring, historic hotels and cool lake resorts for staying … and all close to the dining, shopping, art and culture HOT of Hot Springs. Visit hotsprings.org SPRINGS to order your vacation guide today! VALUABLE COUPONS INSIDE

ARKANSAS’ DIAMOND LAKES REGION

Vacation Guide

Covering:

5 Lakes • 3 Rivers • 5 Arkansas State Parks Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs/Diamond Lakes Travel Association

1-888-SPA-CITY

Epic LOViT overlooking Lake Ouachita

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming Magic Springs Water & Theme Park

A R K A N S A S’

Garvan Woodland Gardens

DIAMOND L AKES

Mid-America Science Museum Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro

R E G I O N

Lake Catherine & Ouachita River, Malvern Glenwood Country Club & Golf Course, Glenwood Crystal Mines & Lake Ouachita, Mount Ida

A R K A N S A S’

DIAMOND L AKES R E G I O N

Caddo River & DeGray Lake, Arkadelphia/Caddo Valley

Ad paid for in part with state and regional association funds.

DEGRAY LAKE

RES O RT

Remote … within reach

.

S TAT E

PARK

Get your fun on at DeGray Lake Resort State Park with kayaks, paddleboards, party barges, fishing, swimming, golf and disc golf, eagle-spotting tours, guided horseback rides, nearby mountain biking and pretty much everything you need to unplug and recharge.

1-800-737-8355 • DEGRAY.com • I-30 Exit 78 at Arkadelphia ARKANSAS.COM

17


Fort Smith

Russellville/ Dardanelle

JUNE 24-26, 2016 Big Bass Bonanza is always the last weekend in June THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE ARKANSAS RIVER

PRIZE FORMAT

$100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY GUARANTEED*

Produced by the Arkansas Hospitality Association Five Weigh-in Sites

Call (501) 376-2323 • Fax (501) 376-6517 • www.arkansasbigbass.com • aha@arhospitality.org *Go to www.arkansasbigbass.com to see our payout format for the guaranteed $100,000 in prize money requested by fishermen. Check the website to confirm dates of the tournament.


FISH YOUR CHOICE OF FIVE POOLS: • POOL 1: Downriver from the Garrison Ave. bridge at Fort Smith to the upriver side of Ozark Lock and Dam (mile marker 257) • POOL 2: Downriver from Ozark Lock and Dam #12 to the upriver side of Ormond Lock and Dam #9 • POOL 3: Downriver from Ormond Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Terry Lock and Dam #6 • POOL 4: Downriver from Terry Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Hardin Lock and Dam #3 • POOL 5: Downriver from Hardin Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Lock #2 and Dam #2

FIVE WEIGH-IN SITES: • POOL 1: Fort Smith area, Clear Creek Park • POOL 2: Dardanelle State Park, Russellville side • POOL 3: North Little Rock Marina and Boat Dock, east side of the I-30 bridge in North Little Rock • POOL 4: Pine Bluff Regional Park • POOL 5: Pendleton Bridge, 9.5 miles east of Dumas on Hwy. 165

ROBINETTE FOX 7.15 lbs.

2015 Tournament Champion

Little Rock

North Little Rock

PRIZE FORMAT FOR 2016 $100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY GUARANTEED OVERALL WINNER – $50,000 to the largest overall fish GUARANTEED. POOL MONEY – $10,000 to the largest fish overall in each of the remaining four pools GUARANTEED. PLACE MONEY PER POOL – $900 to 2nd place, $700 to 3rd place and $400 to 4th place winner overall in each of the five pools GUARANTEED. A total of $169,900 was awarded for the 2015 tournament. Hourly prize money for first, second and third place will be the top priority to pay after the guaranteed prize. The amounts will be determined by the total number of registrants. Follow us! @ArkansasBigBass

Pine Bluff

Dumas


ON The WATER

Buffalo Float Trip

The Buffalo National River is a must-do.

Allowed to remain as Mother Nature intended, the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas provides a beautiful space for hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, caving, fishing, wildlife watching and much, much more. Primarily to keep it from being dammed, the Buffalo River was designated by Congress as America’s first national river in 1972. 20

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas provides

a beautiful space for

hiking, horseback

riding, canoeing,

caving, fishing, wildlife watching

and much, much more.

Along the Buffalo, the National Park Service oversees 95,730 acres. There are three designated wilderness areas within that acreage. Tall limestone bluffs in earthy hues of gray, tan and brown are defining features of the Buffalo. Rushing white water is interspersed among sections of calmer water as the river winds its way 135 miles through the lush green valley that is home to elk, deer, black bear and other woodland creatures.


Fishermen will find a wild fish population of over 60 species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, Ozark bass and goggle-eye. It is a prime example of one of the last free-flowing streams of the Ozark region.

Buffalo National River

Towering bluffs on the Buffalo ARKANSAS.COM

21


Sand and gravel bars make great lunch stops.

While spring is usually the most popular floating season, sections of the river can be floated year-round. The upper Buffalo is best floated in the spring when its rapids are the most enjoyable. The middle section is great for canoeing in late spring. The lower Buffalo is a lazier float for the summer when water is too low in the upper portions. With the right gear, winter is also a nice time to be on the river. Among serious paddlers, the head22

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Among serious

paddlers, the headwaters area, known as the

“Hailstone” trip, from Dixon Road to Ark. 21 is legendary.

waters area, known as the “Hailstone” trip, from Dixon Road to Ark. 21 is legendary. One of the most popular sections with floaters is between Ponca and the Ark. 7 crossing. This 25-mile stretch contains class I and II rapids (the easiest on the I-IV scale), the highest waterfall in midAmerica at Hemmed-in-Hollow, towering cliffs including the 500-foot-tall Big Bluff, and an assortment of swimming holes.


Siloam Springs

Kayak Park FREE Admission

Food & lodging are available just four miles north of the park in the vibrant small town of Siloam Springs. Bentonville

Siloam Rogers Springs

Engineered rapids for beginners and advanced alike.

Springdale OK AR

Fayetteville

SiloamSpringsKayakPark.com

ARKANSAS.COM

23


From Ark. 7 to Ark. 123, about 10 river miles, the Buffalo is a great float for families and features class I rapids, gravel bars and numerous bluffs. Another major section of the river begins at Carver and concludes about 32 miles downstream at the U.S. 65 bridge. While other sections feature higher bluffs and more challenging rapids, this portion of the river is one of its quietest and most peaceful trips. The 27-mile trip from U.S. 65 to Buffalo Point is a long, lazy float suited for casual canoeing. Other access points on this part of the river include Gilbert, Maumee North, Maumee South and the Ark. 14 crossing.

Buffalo River A. Upper B. Middle C. Lower The 7.5-mile float from Buffalo Point to Rush is short, safe and scenic. For those who want to get away from it all, the remaining 23-mile trip passes through better than 39,000 acres of wilderness, ending at Buffalo City, where the Buffalo joins the White River. For information about water levels, call an outfitter in the section you want to float. All concessioners are listed on the NPS website, www.nps.gov/buff/, where you can also click on “River Levels.” This takes you to a map that shows current floating conditions along the length of the river, as well as additional information on access points, campsites and trails. WW

national park Service sites

6 3

Bring sunscreen!

24

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

2 4 5 1 7

The Buffalo is family-friendly.

National Park Service’s 100th anniversary January 2016 kicked off a year-long celebration of the National Park Service and its centennial anniversary as natural areas, historic monuments and other sites across the U.S. began celebrating the occasion, which officially takes place Aug. 25, 2016. In Arkansas, events and activities will occur all year to commemorate the centennial. The state is home to eight NPS sites or trails, each with its own unique story: 1 – Arkansas Post, 2 – Buffalo National River, 3 – Fort Smith National Historic Site, 4 – Hot Springs National Park, 5 – Little Rock Central High School, 6 – Pea Ridge National Military Park, 7 – the President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home and 8 – the Trail of Tears (throughout the state).


e xplore t he OZARK MOUNTAIN

REGION

www.OzarkMountainRegion.com

Ad paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Mountain Region funds.


e xplore t he OZARK MOUNTAIN

Modern Amenities and Outdoor Adventure in Harrison, Arkansas.

Stay Here and Play There.

REGION

1-888-283-2163 HarrisonArkansas.org

The Buffalo National River

Your Ozark Adventure Headquarters Featuring

Buffalo National River Great Escapes

• Cabins With Fireplaces & Jacuzzis • General Store • Lodge • Motel • Camping • Hiking • Scenic Ozark Mountains • Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts & Johnboats • Guided Trips For Smallmouth Bass & Trout • Packages & Gift Certificates Available • Fun • Adventure • Romance

23 Highway 268 E. #1 Yellville, AR 72687-7855 1-800-554-8657

www.wildbillsoutfitter.com

Wild Bill’s Outfitter is an Authorized Canoe Concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior


www.OzarkMountainRegion.com

www.TealPointResort.com Ads paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Mountain Region funds.


ON The WATER

ater WTrails Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail is on the longest bayou in the world.

Bayou Bartholomew is considered the longest bayou in the world. Lined with cypress and tupelo swamps, it ranks among the top bio-diverse streams in North America. It begins near Pine Bluff and twists and turns 359 river miles before emptying into the Ouachita River near Sterlington, Louisiana. The route is the newest addition to the Arkansas Water Trails system, where paddlers can take on three small sections of this famous body of water. “The Arkansas 28

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

The Arkansas Water Trails project is at the head of developing a system of mapped

water trails throughout the state.

River created the bayou about 2,000 years ago when it moved east, and the leisurely bayou developed in the old river bed,” said Kirsten Bartlow, watchable wildlife coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and director of the Arkansas Water Trails program. “Paddlers can watch for alligators and basking turtles, wintering waterfowl and a variety of migratory songbirds among the cypress and tupelo trees. If visiting the Cane Creek Access on Bayou Bartholomew, be sure to visit nearby Cane Creek State Park, which has miles of hiking trails and the Cane Creek Kayak Trail.”


The Arkansas Water Trails project is at the head of developing a system of mapped water trails throughout the state. An aim of the project created by AGFC is to showcase the variety of paddling terrain that can be found in Arkansas. Trails are added to the system as site assessments and maps are completed. According to Bartlow, unlike hiking or biking trails that have to be built, water routes are already there and “our job is to get the infrastructure in place.” This includes providing route signs and maps for a trail. Once a route is part of the program, “we need people to be the eyes and ears of the trail,” she said. “We want the communities to be involved – it’s their trail.”

Little Maumelle Water Trail

Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail

Twelve routes are currently part of the program including the Bayou DeV iew Water Trail near Brinkley. It is one of the largest tracts of bottomland hardwood forests in the nation and a Wetland of International Importance. Some cypress trees found there are over 85 0 years old. Other trails that are part of the program include the L ittle Maumelle Water Trail in Central Arkansas, which has access at P innacle Mountain State P ark; Grassy L ake Water Trail in the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area; Felsenthal National Wildlife R efuge Water Trails near Crossett; Crooked Creek Water Trail in the Ozarks; Arkansas P ost Water Trail near Gillett; and Islets Cove P addle Trail at DeGray L ake R esort State P ark. A full lineup of all of the Arkansas Water Trails can be found at AGFC.com. WW

DOWNTOWN’S ONLY MARINA! ON THE WATER. ON THE TOWN. A FULL-SERVICE MARINA: Fuel, Pump Out, Electricity, Water 1600 Rockwater Blvd. | North Little Rock, AR 72114

(501) 347-8275

|

RockwaterMarina.com

|

Paddling sports are among the fastestgrowing recreational activities in the country. Through well-mapped, accessible day trips of between one and 12 paddling miles, the Arkansas Water Trails program promotes sustainable economic development and builds support for waterway and wildlife conservation.

RockwaterVillage.com ARKANSAS.COM

29


WHERE LEGENDS

ARE MADE!

Biking at Cane Creek State Park

Kayaking on Cane Creek Lake

Watch for bald eagles

Fishing on the Arkansas River

Pine Bluff has a great fishing history, being nicknamed the “Bass Capital of the World.” We offer top-notch fishing and outdoor sports with watchable wildlife opportunities on Bayou Bartholomew. The mild, four-season climate is ideal for year-round bass fishing on the Arkansas River and Lake Langhofer, both of which are easily accessible from Regional Park’s six launching ramps and boat dock. Regional Park is also the site of the Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, home to the state’s largest aquarium. Cane Creek State Park, located on a timbered lake, is best explored from canoe or kayak on the kayak trail, which takes paddlers through lily pads and around cypress trees for an adventure-filled day. Another place for wet and wild fun is Crenshaw Springs Water Park in White Hall.

Legendary fishing spots include (bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish): • Arkansas River • Cane Creek Lake • Cox Creek Lake • Lake Langhofer • Lake Saracen • Saline River

Pine Bluff Convention & Visitors Bureau One Convention Center Plaza Pine Bluff, AR 71601 1-800-536-7660 E-mail: pbinfo@pinebluff.com www.PineBluffCVB.org

2016 Weigh-In Site

P.O. Box 8768, Dept. F.O.G. Pine Bluff, AR 71611 870-536-8742 E-mail: pbdowntown@sbcglobal.net www.ARLandofLegends.com

This ad paid for with a combination of state funds and Arkansas’ Land of Legends Regional Association funds.


Only in

South

ARKANSAS’

Lake Columbia

A world-class hunting and fishing paradise, South Arkansas offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure.

In this region, discover the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, home to the world’s largest green-tree reservoir, and Overflow National Wildlife Refuge, preserving one of the remaining bottomland hardwood forests, both offering excellent duck hunting.

South Arkansas Arboretum, El Dorado

Lake Columbia, Tri-County Lake and the Ouachita River offer some of the best fishing in these parts. White Oak Lake State Park is located on the timber-lined White Oak Lake and is ideal for fishing, birding, hiking and biking. Down South, take your time and enjoy these sites at a leisurely pace. Order the ARKANSAS’ SOUTH VISITOR’S GUIDE online for free at

ArkansasSouth.com

Camden Daffodil Festival

This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds.


In The Woods

The Natural State

of Epic Beautiful and peaceful, rough and rugged, Arkansas has it all. Rolling hills and hardwood forests, dirt and gravel, it’s all here – and waiting to be ripped up. The weather is great year-round, and even when we do get a little rain or snow, we get out in it anyway, because we’re never not riding. We have the terrain, and we have the trails – five of them Epic Rides, as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). According to IMBA, the Epics distinction denotes a “true backcountry riding experience – one that is technically 32

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

IMBA recognizes

Bentonville, Fayetteville

&as Ride HotCentersSprings for their world-class amenities.

Sick singletrack at Mount Kessler in Fayetteville

and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length.” These rides are located in places all over the country and world – Australia, British Columbia, Oregon, Utah, Wales and Wyoming. With five total Epics here in Arkansas, we’re tied with Colorado for second in the nation, behind only California. In addition to the trails, IMBA recognizes and as Ride Centers for their world-class amenities and high standards of hospitality, and Northwest Arkansas as the first-ever IMBA Regional Ride Center. The upcoming IMBA World Summit will be held in Bentonville, November 10-12, 2016.

1. Bentonville, 2. Fayetteville 3. Hot Springs


Contact Visit Bentonville for a complimentary travel guide 800-410-2535 VisitBentonville.com

IMBA Ride Centers

12 3 The multi-use Lake Ouachita Vista Trail

ARKANSAS.COM

33


Shredding on Slaughter Pen Trail in Bentonville

five Epic Rides 34

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

1. Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT)

in Hot Springs is fast, technical and offers a good amount of climbing, which makes for rewarding views and some of the best downhills in the state. The ďŹ rst 10 miles are rolling and moderately challenging. The ďŹ nal 35 miles come with big ascents and thrilling descents. The trail includes 13 trailheads. Beginners may wish to stick to the section on the western end near Shangri-La Resort. In addition to lakeside resorts in the area, campgrounds are available for overnight stays or touring trips.

2. Ouachita National Recreation Trail Located near Mena, the Ouachita

spans 223 miles and is the longest hiking trail in Arkansas. The 108-mile stretch between Ark. 88/Talimena National Scenic Byway and Ark. 7 north of Hot Springs recently opened to mountain bikers, making it the longest mountain biking trail in the state. This rugged trail explores remote parts of the Ouachita Mountains and features steep climbs and wild downhill sections. It connects to the Womble Trail, another IMBA Epic, for a one-of-a-kind mountain biking trip.


3. The Womble

Epic Rides

Located in Montgomery County near Mount Ida, this classic Epic Ride features 37 miles of singletrack cutting through the Ouachita National Forest and following the course of the Ouachita River. At 1,600 feet of elevation, the high mountain views are worth the effort.

5 4 1 2 3

Excellent and exciting single-

tracks can be found

all across

Arkansas. With 52 state parks, three national

forests and numerous city parks, it’s an extensive

list of trails to choose from.

visit

arkansas.com. Upper Buffalo Trail

4. Syllamo

Consisting of more than 50 miles in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, the Syllamo near Mountain View features four intertwined loops varying in difďŹ culty. The 15-mile Bad Branch is smooth and fast, while the four-mile White River Bluff Loop will challenge even the most advanced rider.

5. Upper Buffalo Syllamo Trail

Scan For The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail

Womble Trail

This Ozark Mountain gem covers 40 miles of singletrack of mostly intermediate to advanced action with steep climbs and exciting descents. Prepare to get wet at several creek crossings, some of which can make for nice swimming holes on a hot day. WW ARKANSAS.COM

35


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ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

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In The Woods

b m On, i l C Camp On

Back before Arkansas was even a state, Sam Davis claimed his sister was kidnapped by Indians. He followed their trail to the Big Creek Valley in Northwest Arkansas. Atop a huge sandstone outcropping, he’s said to have preached fire and brimstone to settlers below. He’s also alleged to have built a log blockade at the top of the walk-up to his perch to protect a gold stash. Sam’s long gone, but that sandstone outcropping, now known as Sam’s Throne, is still there, 38

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

beckoning campers, climbers and hikers from near and far. In the Ozark National Forest just south of Mount Judea and between the Hurricane Creek and Richland Creek wilderness areas, Sam’s Throne is considered the crucible of rock climbing in Arkansas. The throne proper hosts just a fraction of the 300+ routes in the area, with nearby sectors like Valley of the Blind, Cave Creek, Candy Mountain and Stack Rock offering plenty of distinctively featured Atoka sandstone lines up to around 75’.

The four-star Poison Ivy, 5.7, Sam’s Throne

Sam’s Throne is still there, beckoning

campers, climbers

and hikers from

near and far.


Camping and climbing are accessed from Ark. 123 just off Ark. 7 (one of the most scenic drives in the country). Turn in at the national forest campground sign, and the dirt and gravel road takes you a quarter mile or so to a turnaround loop.

Stellar camping and RV spots across Arkansas Buffalo National River This area maintains numerous campgrounds throughout the park. The park visitor center is at Tyler Bend, 11 miles north of Marshall on U.S. 65. Cove Lake Recreation Area You’ll find this mountain lake along Scenic Ark. 309 in the shadow of Mount Magazine, the state’s highest peak and home to a state park of the same name.

Sleeping on the bluff (photo by Craig Wynn)

Predominantly a traditional climbing area, Sam’s has enough bolted routes to keep sport climbers happy, and most routes have top rope-suitable anchors, making the area a popular spot for newer climbers and climbing-class graduation trips. There are plenty of moderates from 5.6 to 5.10 and hard climbs up to 5.13c within a mile or two of the main parking and camping area. Speaking of camping, it’s free. There are 30+ roadside and walk-in primitive tent sites nestled among the towering trees off the main road. The Arkansas Climbers Coalition installed two vault toilets and has also aided in ice storm cleanup at Sam’s (and a lot of other worthwhile endeavors around The Natural State).

Your basecamp at Sam’s is within an easy hour of elk watching in Lost Valley, trailheads and canoe put-ins on the Buffalo River, and the bright lights of Jasper (try the burgers at Ozark Café). Add another 30-60 minutes of drive time, and you can get to Eureka Springs, Beaver Lake or trout fishing on the White River. There are fishing and climbing guides in the area and plenty of beta online and in local outdoor shops. So pack up, gear up and climb up that jugfest. It’s sure to be one of your best road trips ever. WW

Sam's Throne

Lake Sylvia Recreation Area This picturesque area in the Ouachita National Forest is around 40 miles west of Little Rock in Perryville. Beech Point Campground Located within the Mississippi River State Park and St. Francis National Forest, this campground forms a peninsula in Bear Creek Lake, a popular fishing spot. Lake Ouachita State Park Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ouachita and surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, this park is a short drive from Hot Springs.

ARKANSAS.COM

39


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Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW


In The Woods

Hiking Trails To

You

The photogenic Cob Cave in Lost Valley

There’s enough

elevation gain to get your heart racing but not cripple

you and enough

scenery to last a lifetime.

42

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Hiking. It’s really just … walking, right? But in Arkansas, putting one foot in front of another takes on an added dimension. It does something to you, and for you. It refreshes the mind and rewards the soul. There’s no better way to appreciate The Natural State than lacing up your boots and getting out in the woods. Wherever you are on the Hikers’ Spectrum, there’s a trail with your name

on it. There’s enough elevation gain to get your heart racing but not cripple you and enough scenery to last a lifetime. Arkansas.com lists more than 200 day hikes from .2 to 15 miles. Or you can take multiday backpacking trips on the Ouachita or Ozark Highlands trails. Each offers 200+ miles, with plenty of sections for daytrips and overnighters. Following are a few of our favorites. Elsewhere in this issue, you can read about trails that lead to great waterfall watching.


Pinnacle Mountain Trails

1. Lost Valley Trail, Upper Buffalo National River

At just over two miles and mostly easy terrain, this trail is a great intro to Natural State hiking. Start by crossing Clark Creek, then continue on mostly level ground through native Ozark highlands. Eden Falls appears soon and will take your breath away. Climb up the rock stairs and enter into one of the caves (bring a flashlight or headlamp). This is a great hike for all ages and abilities.

2. Whitaker Point Trail

Probably the most iconic photo-op in Arkansas, Whitaker Point (also known as Hawksbill Crag) is in the Upper Buffalo area. From Ark. 21, go about six miles on gravel road #9560. About .25 mile past the Cave Mountain Church and Cemetery, you’ll find the trailhead. Bring water and a lunch and enjoy wildflowers, a waterfall and crossing a wet-weather creek. When you get near the bluff line, use extra caution. The fall is unforgiving. But the view is breathtaking.

3. Pinnacle Mountain Trails

A favorite for Little Rock locals and visitors alike, the trails of Pinnacle Mountain are worth the effort. You can hike to the

top from the East Summit or West Summit Trail, while the Base Trail takes you through upland forest and floodplain hardwoods on gently rolling to flat terrain. The summit trails are short but steep and strenuous, but also reward you with amazing views of the Arkansas River and Lake Maumelle.

21 3 4 4. Delta Heritage Trail

This rail-to-trail conversion (read: nice and flat) will eventually span some 80 miles from near Lexa to Rowher, making it one of the longest bike and pedestrian trails in the state. The broad, flat crushed limestone path leads through a shaded canopy of Delta hardwoods and past burbling streams and wide-open farmlands. Birding and wildlife watching opportunities abound on the DHT. WW ARKANSAS.COM

43


FOR ENDLESS ADVENTURES,

look west

visitwestarkansas.com • Challenging canoeing and kayaking on the Cossatot River • Excellent fishing on the Arkansas, Mulberry, Cossatot and La Fave rivers and on area lakes, including Blue Mountain, Cove, Shores, Jack Nolen, Ozark and Hinkle • Hiking, biking, camping and more at parks and recreation areas • Watchable wildlife throughout the region • Great shopping and dining in charming towns • Arkansas Wine Trail, wineries and vineyards in Altus and Wiederkehr Village • Lake Fort Smith, Mount Magazine, Queen Wilhelmina and Cossatot State Parks • Tours of the Fort Smith National Historic Site

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out here

erfall WatWatch Triple Falls (and sometimes Twin Falls)

A walk in the woods in search of waterfalls is a timeless pursuit in Arkansas. Following a well-worn and wellmarked trail, it still feels like a remarkable discovery to first hear the sound of rushing water, then to feel the air turn cooler and finally to happen upon this natural wonder in all its glory. Many of the most impressive waterfalls are tucked away in the Ozark and Ouachita mountains. 46

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

The best time to chase them is after a good, hard rain. Use caution as you explore remote areas or venture into any hard-toreach places. Happy adventuring.

1. Bridal Veil Falls LENGTH: 0.25 MILE DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY

Located off of Ark. 25, Bridal Veil Falls is a popular scenic spot in Heber Springs. It’s a steep but easy hike that leads to an impressive cascade.

2. Cedar Falls LENGTH: 2 MILES DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE TO STRENUOUS

The centerpiece of Petit Jean State Park, the breathtaking 95-foot Cedar Falls is one of the tallest continuously flowing waterfalls in Arkansas. It is also one of the most photographed sites in the state. Follow the Cedar Falls National Recreation Trail from Mather Lodge into Cedar Creek Canyon.


3. Hemmed-In-Hollow LENGTH: 5 MILES DIFFICULTY LEVEL: STRENUOUS

At 220 feet, Hemmed-In-Hollow near Ponca is touted as the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rockies. Situated in a small valley closed in by limestone bluffs, the easiest way to access the falls is from the Buffalo National River on a float from Ponca to Kyle’s Landing. The trailhead is located a little more than halfway downriver. Hike upstream for .75 mile to the falls. An alternate route is the trailhead at Compton, nine miles from Ponca, where you can park your car and hike from there. Follow the trail downhill for 2.5 miles through the woods. It’s a steep climb out, so allow plenty of time to complete.

4. Glory Hole LENGTH: 2 MILES DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE

One of the most famous waterfalls in Arkansas is the Glory Hole located in the Ozark National Forest off Ark. 16, six miles east of Fallsville. An easy hike leads to the 30-foot waterfall fed by Dismal Creek, which has, over the years, literally cut a hole through an overhanging bluff to create this magnificent sight.

453 1 2

impressive

5. Triple Falls

waterfalls

LENGTH: 0.5 MILE DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY

are tucked away in the

Ozark & Ouachita mountains.

Hemmed-In-Hollow

A short hike leads to Triple Falls, one of the most beautiful and photographed waterfalls in the Ozarks. From Jasper, travel west on Ark. 74 and turn right at the Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp sign. A steep dirt road takes you to the bottom of the valley, where you’ll see the sign for Twin Falls; the waterfall is officially called Twin Falls, but you will often see three distinct falls after a heavy rainfall. WW ARKANSAS.COM

47


Our Outdoors Are All Yours

• Fishing on the Arkansas River/Ozark Lake, Mulberry River, Shores Lake, Horsehead Lake, Ozark City Lake, plus shoreline fishing at East Side and Aux Arc Park – Multiple species of fish. Boat ramps at most areas. • Over 150 primitive campsites with close access to fishing and hunting • Boating along Ozark Lake’s 173-mile picturesque shoreline • Canoeing on the Mulberry – A designated National Wild and Scenic River • RV camping at Aux Arc Park – 84 tree-shaded hookups, plus tent sites • Hiking on the Ozark Highlands Trail – Forest Service approved ATV trails • Lodging, dining, and antiquing in historic downtown Ozark

Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce Ozark Visitor Information Center 300 West Commercial • Ozark, AR 72949 479-667-2949 • 1-800-951-2525 ozarktourism@centurytel.net ozarkchamberofcommerce.com

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ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

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Look up in wonder.

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49


out here

Stream R eh a b

Archey Fork, formerly an eyesore (photo by Joy DeClerk)

Once upon a time, all the streams in Arkansas ran clear. Gradually, as land was developed, the forest corridor next to those streams receded or disappeared and sediment in the streams increased. That’s bad for wildlife, for people like us who love to play in those streams and for the lakes downstream, as sedimentation makes public water treatment more difficult and costly. Fortunately for The Natural State, The Nature Conservancy is involved in projects across the state aimed at restoring eroding banks, decreasing sedimentation and 50

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

increasing the value of streams for people, plants, fish and animals. From the Kings River in Northwest Arkansas to the Cache in the Delta, the conservancy teams up with landowners, citizen groups, governmental agencies and private companies to restore streams to their natural state (see what we did there?) through reforestation, stream crossing and unpaved roads best management practices, and a technique known as natural channel design. Natural channel design works with the natural flow of the stream and includes shaping channels and building rock or wood structures in the existing floodway to reduce stream bank erosion, restore chan-

The Nature Conservancy is involved in projects

across the state aimed at

restoring eroding banks, decreasing sedimentation and increasing the value of streams

for people, plants,

fish and animals.


nel stability and i prove fish habitat and water q uality. That’s what happened on the Archey Fork of the L ittle R ed R iver in North Central Arkansas. After a devastating ood in the 0s, the strea as channelized. Huge earth-moving machines simply dredged and straightened a section of the stream. Within a few years, the stream banks eroded, expanding the width of the channel fro 200 to 00 feet. ncreased sedi ent o ed to Greers Ferry L ake, affecting that ecosystem and drinking ater supply. Healthy fish habitat as damaged, and the channel became too shallo for s i ing, boating and fishing.

The Nature Conservancy completed the second of three phases of a stream rehab project at archey fork last year, and already the improvement is noticeable. On a monitoring trip, a group of University of Central Arkansas students discovered a yellowcheek darter fish, one of the species the project was designed to help. The fish – found nowhere else in the world – had not been seen in this stretch of the river since channelization in the 1980s.

“The conservancy has been able to bring people together to make a positive difference not just in this river, but in our Arkansas way of life,” said Scott Simon, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas. “When we protect a natural resource, we really are protecting our health, livelihoods, q uality of life and all the things that make up this place that we call home. It’s a win-win.” We like those odds. WW

Biological monitoring (photo by Roger Mangham)

Put Some Happy in Your Life! Thank you to all of our partners in conservation for making Arkansas a great place to explore!

nature.org/Arkansas • 601 N. University Avenue • Little Rock, AR 72205 • 501.663.6699 ARKANSAS.COM

51


out here

Where

Eagles Dare Bald eagles nesting at DeGray Lake near Bismarck

A Majestic Sight

Soaring through the skies of The Natural State, the bald eagle is a study in grace, beauty and sheer perseverance. By the early 1960s, fewer than 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles were known to exist in the United States, and the species faced extinction. With the passing of the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the official symbol of the United States of America became a protected species and began to flourish in nature again. 52

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Heading South

Arkansas lies along several principal and merging paths of the Mississippi Flyway, a migration route followed by more than 300 bird species each year to wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico, Central and South America. During winter months, Arkansas welcomes a large population of bald eagles seeking food and warmer temperatures. Farther north, waters begin to freeze as temperatures plummet, cutting off the main food source – fish. The Natural State’s abundance of lakes, streams and rivers offers the eagles the perfect winter getaway.

Through winter’s end,

Arkansas offers great

opportunities to spy the graceful

eagles.


The bald eagle

builds the largest nest

of any North American bird and

the largest tree nests ever recorded for

Near Jonesboro

Eagle-Watching Opportunities

hrough inter s end, Arkansas offers great opportunities to spy the graceful eagles. any of the 5 2 Arkansas State P arks offer visitors special eagle-themed events, ranging from tours to cruises to awareness programs. These events are great for eagle spotting, whether you re a ne co er or an advanced bird atcher. Eagles are drawn to water ranging from larger lakes and rivers to smaller streams offering a ple food sources. ecause of he atural tate s ealth of ater, bald eagles can and have been spotted in all 75 counties. Spending time near the water in winter can be one of the easiest ways to spot the birds of prey.

Eagle Facts

On J une 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the design for the Great Seal of the United States depicting a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows and an olive branch with its talons.The bald eagle is one of the largest birds of prey in North America, with an average wingspan of seven feet. WW

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ARKANSAS.COM

53


Around Town

Centered on

Nature Unstructured time in nature is good for the soul. But it’s also true that the experience of nature can be enhanced with a little knowledge about the nature being experienced – and that’s where the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s nature and education centers come in. Whether you want to learn more about the area you’re visiting or you’re in an urban area and hearing the call of the wild, the AGFC centers have 54

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center in Pine Bluff

you covered with exhibits, activities and programs in every part of the state. Arkansans are passionate about The Natural State and her natural resources; this was demonstrated when, in 1996, voters approved a 1/8-cent Conservation Sales Tax, the revenue of which would be used to protect and improve Arkansas’s many wild areas. In addition to repair, renovation and expansion of campgrounds, trails, lodging and museums, the AGFC’s eight nature and education centers were created. These centers truly belong to Arkansans.

Whether you want

to learn more about the area you’re visiting or you’re in an urban area

and hearing the call

of the wild, the AGFC centers have you covered.


4 5 3 2

8 76 1

1. Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, Pine Bluff

Outside, boardwalks and trails take visitors past the Black Dog Bayou and Lake Langhofer; inside, exhibits describe the importance of swamps and how waterways have shaped the land.

3. Janet Huckabee River Valley Nature Center, Fort Smith

Situated on 170 acres that were previously part of Fort Chaffee, this breath of fresh air near urban Fort Smith is surrounded by trails and complemented by a popular fishing and boating lake.

4. Ponca Elk Education Center, Ponca

The place to go for all things elk, this center can answer all your elk-viewing questions and teach you about elk biology and history. The center’s wraparound deck is a great place to take a break for some local wildlife watching.

6. Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, jonesboro

Delve into the formation of the geographically unique 200-mile Crowley’s Ridge through exhibits inside the center, which sits on 160 acres of woodland, prairie and pond habitat at the southern boundary of Craighead Forest Park.

7. Potlatch Conservation Education Center at Cook’s Lake, Casscoe

Located on the White River National Wildlife Refuge surrounded by 1,850 acres of hardwood habitats with an oxbow lake and a green-timber reservoir, Potlatch is the perfect place to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial life through educational programs, youth hunts, birding and photography.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro

2. Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center, Columbus

Explore rare and unusual blackland prairie habitat through interactive exhibits and special events throughout the year. The adjacent 4,885 acres of wildlife management area offer public opportunities to engage with native flora and fauna.

5. Fred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville

Nestled into a bend of Crooked Creek, this former dairy farm now offers interpretive programs, six miles of trails and a 3-D archery range. A designated watchable wildlife site, the center has recorded more than 100 species of birds and most mammals common to the Ozarks.

8. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock

An oasis amid the bustle of Little Rock’s River Market District, this fully urban center is a welcome chance to stop and smell the native plants in the butterfly garden and check out the aquarium featuring five of Arkansas’s aquatic habitats. Alligator feedings are a thrill. WW ARKANSAS.COM

55


Around Town

The Razorback Greenway near Lake Fayetteville

In The Natural State, when you’re not on your bike, you are thinking about being on your bike. For miles and miles, it’s just you and the road. Under a tunnel of trees, along a river, over a gentle roller, on a gravel grinder or up a steep peak, the varied terrain calls to you – as does the mild climate, as most days are good for riding. What makes riding here unique is the balance of tranquility

56

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

and intensity; it can be as easy or as much of a suffer fest as you want it to be, and there are bicycle-friendly communities across the state to support you along the way whatever your style or pace or pain threshold may be. Arkansas is the proud home of four Bicycle Friendly Communities, as designated by the League of American Bicyclists: Bentonville, Conway, Fayetteville and North Little Rock. What makes these places leaders in the pack are their ongoing efforts to uphold the league’s five “Es:”

engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation and enforcement. In these communities, you’ll not only find the infrastructure like shared-use paved trails and bike lanes, but also an organized, engaged, passionate group of people who like bikes and love their city and who actively work to make it safe and enjoyable for bike transportation and recreation. You’ll find welcoming and growing scenes where local businesses are catching on and catering to the cycling crowd.


1. Bentonville

V ery much a mountain biking mecca and upcoming host of the International Mountain Biking Association’s World Summit, November 10-12, Bentonville has nurtured an active cycling community for all riders on two wheels. L ocal organizations like Bike Bentonville, as well as local bike shops, organize group rides, races and events. The downtown Bentonville Sq uare is a popular starting point for group rides with q uick access to the Bentonville Trail System, part of the 3 6 mile Northwest Arkansas R azorback Greenway. Also on the Sq uare is 21c Museum Hotel, a luxury boutiq ue hotel that “gets it,” offering free bike rentals, lockers and bike valet to guests.

12

34

2. Fayetteville

With more than 6 0 miles of paved and soft surface trails, Fayetteville is also home to the most Bicycle Friendly Businesses in the state ( nine) where people can ( with facilities to support) bike to work, to shop and to eat. To access the Northwest Arkansas R azorback Greenway, begin at the Frisco Trail at Walker P ark in south Fayetteville. P ost-ride, sample craft beer ( in moderation) along the Fayetteville Ale Trail.

3. Conway

Being designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community makes a city more attractive; it’s a place where people want to live and work. Conway works to offer educational progra s like raffic 0 , i ple ent pro-cycling policies and organize community rides like the one that starts at Simon P ark and ends at Blue Sail Coffee on Front Street.

SALES SERVICE ALL BRANDS

4. North Little Rock

To live in Central Arkansas is to know and love the Arkansas R iver Trail. This massive community effort consists of an 88-mile loop that connects North L ittle R ock, L ittle R ock, Maumelle and Conway. The 15 .6 -mile section from the Clinton P residential Center to the Big Dam Bridge, the longest bridge built for pedestrians and cyclists and host of the annual BDB 100, is a local favorite. ri arily at and incredibly scenic, it is elco ing to riders of all fitness levels. he cycling scene in Central Arkansas is strong and organized with group rides, races and events throughout the year. Advocacy groups continue to work toward making the shift from cycling being seen as purely recreational to a safe, viable mode of transportation in the metro.

In these communities, you’ll not only find the

infrastructure like shared-use paved

trails and bike lanes but also an organized,

TRAIL MAPS AVAILABLE

PARKSIDE CYCLE

engaged, passionate group

719 WHITTINGTON AVE. HOT SPRINGS, AR

TUESDAY-FRIDAY 11 AM-6 PM SATURDAY 10 AM-4 PM

of people who like bikes

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Junction Bridge in Little Rock

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Out of the Saddle, a list of the capital city’s best postride spots

Cycling and coffee just go together. That morning cup fuels the morning ride, and it’s common to see bikes parked outside of Community Bakery on Main Street before and after the group ride. Other great coffee shops include Boulevard Bread Company, Mugs Café and Mylo Coffee Company. Bikes and craft beer are another popular pairing. Here are our picks for bicycle-friendly local breweries and taprooms as designated by us: Blue Canoe Brewing Company in the River Market District; Core Brewery, Diamond Bear Brewery and Flyway Brewing Company in North Little Rock; Little Rock’s Lost Forty, Rebel Kettle Brewing Company and Stone’s Throw Brewery where the good folks there will give you $1 off your pint when you arrive on velo. Cheers.

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ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville

THE BEAUTY OF RACING

A mild climate and central location make Arkansas a premier place for pro races, century rides, local crits and special events year-round. One of the most anticipated events is the Joe Martin Stage Race held annually in April in Fayetteville. 2016 marks the 39th anniversary of the amateur races, the 14th year on the USA Cycling Pro Racing Tour (PRT) and the second time it appears on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar. More than 700 athletes and teams from 23 countries and all 50 states will attend. The town turns out in a big way with spectators lining the roads and cheering on riders as they cross the finish line on the downtown square. This year’s event takes place April 21-24.

Rides to put on your calendar this year include Pedal the Ridge with 100, 62 and 25 miles of riding through Paragould this June; Tour de Cure benefiting the American Diabetes Association in Springdale

in August; and the Big Dam Bridge 100, Arkansas’s largest cycling tour, with 100-, 68-, 50-, 32- and 10-mile routes through Little Rock and North Little Rock in September. While riding brings you to the state, there are great places to see and people to meet. Stay awhile, and be part of this growing community of cyclists. For a full calendar of events, visit cycling arkansas.com. WW

Big Dam Bridge, Little Rock/North Little Rock


OUTDOOR ADVENTURES WITH A

SOUTHERN ACCENT.

SM

Like our ride along the Arkansas River Trail, our trip to Little Rock was a delight. Touring its downtown by Segway, and its neighborhoods, barbecue joints and breweries by bike. Riding the METRO Streetcar from our hotel to explore the shops, restaurants and clubs in the River Market. Being mesmerized by the city’s beautiful illuminated bridges at night. We had a wonderful time, and can’t wait to return to Little Rock.

Riverfront Park > To see more visit LittleRock.com

402 E. 9TH

Downtown Taproom Open Tuesday-Sunday

#LittleRocksLivingRoom

stonesthrowbeer.com ARKANSAS.COM

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Around Town

Scenic Drives Scenic 7 Byway is almost 300 miles of awesome.

A unique feature of Arkansas is the incredible variety of landscapes on display all in one not-too-big state: driving from one end to the other can take you “from the mountains to the prairies,” as the classic American patriotic song goes. One of the best ways to take in Arkansas’s multifaceted scenery is by road, and no matter where you start or how much time you have, there’s a route that will soothe your senses and thrill you with stunning and surprising views. 60

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

One of Arkansas’s best-known drives is Scenic 7 Byway, the first state-designated scenic byway and widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful drives in America. If you’ve got a few days, take all 296 miles from El Dorado to Harrison and savor several distinct geographical regions: the pine woodlands of South Arkansas, the Ouachita Mountains, the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozarks. Between the sweeping mountain views, rolling farmland and enveloping forestlands, you’ll have a hard time choosing your favorite part of this extraordinary drive. But if you must choose

Arkansas’s multifaceted

scenery rolls by your window mile after mile.


The Delta begins near Scott.

by ay passes through five state parks, and there are numerous cultural attractions just a short jog off the main road. If your engine revs for foliage, the short P ig Trail is where you want to be – at least in spring, summer and fall, when the route’s tunnel of ora is putting on its ost colorful sho ith vibrant ild o ers and blazing autumn leaves. The 19-mile trail, so named because it is part of the roadway that once carried Central Arkansas football fans to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville for R azorback games, crosses the

3

only a portion of it, access points from several of the state’s major roadways make

Mulberry R iver and connects with the Ozark Highlands National R ecreation Trail. Central Arkansas city-dwellers know that the shortest distance to a little time out of mind is heading east out of North L ittle R ock on U.S. 16 5 toward Scott and then on toward England on Ark. 16 1. R olling merrily under a crosscut of century-old pecan trees and sidling up to an oxbow lake are a swift and certain cure for the urban blues – and if that fails, a piece of pie from Charlotte’s, heading back west on 16 5 in K eo, never does. WW

2 1

4

1. Scenic 7 Byway 2. Crowley’s Ridge Byway 3. Pig Trail 4. U.S. 165-Ark. 161

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway

it easy to hop on for just a leg. Hot Springs and J asper are two places you won’t want to cruise straight through, so if you have time to stop, this is where to focus it. To sample the scenery on the other side of the state, head for Crowley’s R idge P arkway National Scenic Byway, which runs alongside, over and sometimes down the middle of the geographical phenomenon

America’s Premier Big Cat Refuge Camping Lodging Groups Education Trolley Tours

known as Crowley’s R idge, a 200-5 00-foothigh accumulation of wind-blown soil rising above the swampy Delta. The 198-mile

479.253.5841 • TurpentineCreek.org

239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

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OVER Yonder

Ducks in Flight Arkansas has long been known as

the Duck Hunting Capital

of the World. And with flights like this

arising daily, it’s not hard to see why.

From flooded timber to rice and bean fields, The Natural State is a waterfowler’s paradise.

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Anas platyrhynchos, aka mallards or greenheads ARKANSAS.COM

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Nature Basecamp

Huninting Arkansas A conversation with Steve “Wildman” Wilson

Steve Wilson, better known to Arkansans as “Wild Man,” began his career with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 1978. He served as AGFC public affairs coordinator for the past 20 years and just retired on April 29. He has spent his share of time on the water and in the woods of Arkansas. While he is an avid deer and turkey hunter and collects turkey calls, his favorite hunting experience in Arkansas is not about something he shot. “My best hunting experience has to be when I called in a big ole gobbler for my brother to kill a few years ago. The gobbler strutted across an open field for over 200 yards. I got it all on video,” Wilson says. Arkansas has many memory-making opportunities for hunting small and large game in diverse habitats that include the Delta in Eastern Arkansas and the Ozark and Ouachita mountains in Northern and

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ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Western Arkansas. “I think that what differentiates us from other states is that we pretty much have it all,” Wilson says. He explains that some areas of the United States are known for a certain type of hunting. “But here in Arkansas, you have it all,” Wilson says. “We have an elk season. We have an alligator hunting season. We’re Duck Capital of the World. We used to be called the Bear State. We have bear season.” While a handful of animals are open season all year long, most game is only

“The beauty about

Arkansas is that

we pretty much

have it all.”

available to hunt in very specific and regulated seasons. Some seasons even vary by zone, so hunters should always review regulations before planning their hunts. Hunters should pick up a regulation guidebook for details on general hunting rules, season dates and tag limits, licenses and where to hunt. The booklets can be picked up where licenses are sold, at regional AGFC offices and nature centers, or get them online at www.agfc.com. “We’re very blessed to have a lot of public hunting land here in Arkansas, lots of national forest, wildlife management areas and federal wildlife refuges,” Wilson says. “Those provide some very good hunting opportunities for people.” A lot of hunting takes place on private land as well. Many people are members of deer camps. “Some people hunt for their food,” Wilson says. “Hunting and fishing are big business here. When it comes to hunting and fishing, Arkansas is a natural.” WW


Arkansas.com


Arkansas Water & Woods