Jan. 1 marks the beginning of the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial celebration and the seven National Park Service sites in Arkansas will kick off the celebration by launching the Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge – a year-long program to encourage visitors to “Find Your Park” and improve their health and fitness by completing 100 miles of physical activity over the course of the year. Participants may choose to hike, bike, paddle, walk, run, or roll 100 miles in any of the national parks in Arkansas. Visitors who complete 100 miles of activity will receive a certificate and a commemorative patch to recognize their accomplishment, but the real reward will be experiencing the parks and the many benefits of physical recreation.
A young man’s theft of a 400 million-year-old fossil rock from an Arkansas state park years ago prompted a heartfelt note of apology from the now much older and wiser collector from Texas.
He shipped the stone back to Buffalo National River officials last week, regret evident in his words.
“Please return to Lost Valley State Park,” his note reads. “I was young and hid it from my folks. I’m very old now & very sorry. Forgive me.”
The inch-thick stone contains fossilized tracks from prehistoric worms that left their trails in mud that later turned to stone, according to park spokesman Caven Clark.
It’s an eye-catching piece, but Clark reminded all park visitors that removing mementos or archaeological finds from a national park not only is ethically wrong, it’s also illegal.
Here is an example of a Bull elk fight in Boxley Valley, October 21, 2012. Boxley Valley is near Ponca, AR in the Buffalo National River Park
Buffalo National River, Arkansas
It’s a good three-hour drive from Springfield, but the Buffalo National River in north-central Arkansas is well worth exploring.
Running more than 140 miles, the river is fed by runoff and is thus sensitive to rainfall. In recent weeks the area has received a lot of rain, and the river swelled to dangerous levels a week ago, but has now dropped back down to navigable condition.
The most popular day trip on the upper Buffalo is from the low-water bridge at Ponca to Kyle’s Landing, a distance of about 10 miles. Last week, water was 7 feet over the bridge, but it quickly receded.
The views from canoe or kayak can be astounding, with 500-foot tall Roark Bluff looming above the river. And that’s not all.
“The scenery is second to none, and there’s so much to do along the river,” said Mitchell Wayman, manager of Buffalo River Canoes based at Kyle’s Landing. “You can pull off and hike a quarter mile to Hemmed in Hollow, which is a 205-foot waterfall. We’ve had people come from around the world to float down and do that hike.”
Wayman said Memorial Day weekend is typically the busiest time on the Buffalo, with thousands of paddlers exploring various segments of the river. With rain in the Memorial Day forecast, Wayman encouraged paddlers to come prepared with a poncho or other lightweight rain gear.
“Just plan for short stints of rain — it’s not like it will be raining all day,” he said. “And the water is warm enough to go swimming. A lot of people were swimming last weekend.”
The middle Buffalo is a bit tamer, with easy class 1 water. Haley Jackson, at Buffalo River Outfitters near St. Joe, Arkansas, said the a good one-day trip would be from Baker’s Ford to Gilbert Access, a distance of about 10 miles.
“The river’s looking great,” she said. “The water came up, but it didn’t last long and it’s starting to clear up. Over the next two or three days its color should be back to normal.”
The State of Arkansas has provided a wonderful video on Hiking the buffalo River Trail
View Video here https://vimeo.com/126208607
Medium and large scale feeding facilities in the Buffalo River watershed should expect a 180 day extension
Breathtaking waterfalls, majestic bluffs, an emerald green stream … is it any wonder that Buffalo National River is a popular destination for outdoor weddings?
Pick up the 2015 Wedding Planner published by Harrison Daily Times for information about planning your Buffalo River wedding. Weddings in the park do require a permit.
More information is available on the park website:http://www.nps.gov/buff/planyourvisit/special-park-uses.htm
Buffalo River selected as one of the ten best National Parks to visit during Fall
We of course already knew that BUT WELCOME NEW VISITORS
PEAK WEEK has been determined for the Arkansas Buffalo River Region as November 1 – November 7, 2014
Featured Araknsas Fall Foliage drives can be viewed here on Arkansas.com
The #1 Arkansas Foliage Drive is Here in the Buffalo River Region
Post Pictures of Fall foliage at #visitarkansas
Here an up to date Fall Foliage report around Eureka Springs Here
Buffalo RIver highlighted in release featuring Eureka Springs Vacations – Less than one hour from Downtown
FAMILIES VACATION “TOGETHER” IN EUREKA SPRINGS
(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — What, in 2014, brings mom and dad with kids under 14 to a wonderful village set in The Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas for a family vacation? This was the question to which local businesses here that are active in serving family vacationers wanted to know. So an informal survey was conducted and the one overriding comment that kept surfacing was, “In Eureka Springs our whole family can vacation together.”
“That’s it! Sure,” exclaimed Jack Moyer, general manager of the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa. “Thanks to our unusual collection of family attractions everyone does everything together. You don’t see half the group, usually the younger ones, standing in line to ride the skyscraper, loop-de-loop ride while the other half bakes on the asphalt waiting for ‘em.”
He continued, “I guess you can say added to that is the fact that our set is authentic. Downtown is an attraction in itself that boasts hundreds of unique buildings, shops and eateries that are still individually owned and operated by the same people as decades ago. We’ve got the best people watching anywhere in Arkansas. Our crazy streets, caves, springs and sidewalks offer exciting urban exploring. Eureka Springs is truly a family adventure enjoyed still today by those special groups known as ‘the family’.”
Although downtown is the crown jewel of Eureka Springs, family fun certainly doesn’t stop there. For surrounding this vacation community are hills, hollers, and water holes. The Ozark Mountains may afford families stimulating wilderness hiking trails but summer calls for water fun. Nearby venues for families to get wet include three rivers -Kings, White and Buffalo- and three lakes -Beaver, Table Rock and Leatherwood- with those first two being considered “big water”. Many families like to bring their own boats, kayaks and canoes with rentals at area marinas. Numerous picturesque places to swim, such as the beaches at Beaver Dam, can accommodate any sized family’s penchant for splashing.
Two of Eureka Springs’ newest family attractions are Ozark Mountain Zipline and Intrigue Theater. Both get hearts pumping a little bit faster. Ozark Mountain Zipline, which accepts five-year-old children and up, is the largest zipline adventure in the state. Families love the exhilarating thrill of being 200 feet in the air and flying along on an 1,800-foot journey through the canopy of Ozark hardwoods. Intrigue Theater takes families’ breath away as mystery and illusion appear then disappear in the blink of an eye. A surprise visit of a special guest from “the other side” will have the family asking each other “How’d he do that?” long after they have left this small, historic, limestone, some say eerie, retrofitted Victorian church.
Atop Eureka Springs’ two facing city mountains, families will experience ghost stories on one and “the greatest story ever told” on the other. Nightly, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, “Americas Most Haunted Hotel”, takes families on a ghost tour through century-old hallways that some say are inhabited by those “guests who check out but never leave”. Later that night, Flickering Tales will have families sitting around an open campfire while listening to Ozark ghost stories followed by a midnight sojourn to the hotel’s morgue. The Great Passion Play is performed in an open amphitheater by a huge cast with live animals on a set that expertly replicates biblical locations. The play sits in the shadow of the Christ of The Ozarks, the second tallest Christ statue in the western hemisphere.
Most vacationing families do not leave Eureka Springs until they have visited some well established and greatly loved local attractions. Feeding time at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge serves up “Oohs” and “Ahs “ as families watch hundreds of nature’s most powerful beasts -big cats and huge bears- enjoy “dinner at home” in their habitats. Great music and clean family comedy is enjoyed nightly at the Ozark Mountain Hoe-down and Pine Mountain Theater. And not many families get to ride on the open-air, back platform of a trolley but sprawling intra-city travel aboard several operated by Eureka Springs Trolleys will and all for just one daily fare per person.
“And when your family screams for ice cream, two places that will quiet them while exciting the sweet tooth of each are Colossal Cupcakes and Cones and The Big Dipper,” Moyer added.
Moyer concluded, “Eureka Springs is family budget friendly. Families will find more than 2,500 sleeping rooms with a comfortable range of affordability. Within our vast assortment of wonderful restaurants, ranging from the casual such as Pancake’s Family Restaurant to the more upscale like Local Flavor, families can find a menu that best fits their family’s tastes and pocketbook.
“Simply put, Eureka Springs is just a great complete family vacation destination enjoyed by the complete family. Lifetime memories are generational too. I guess that is why we see so many grandparents bringing back their grandkids. They want to share, to repeat that ‘family vacationing together’ experience.”