As summer fades and we look to the fall, there are still plenty of water-related activities in The Natural State.
In the Arkansas River Valley
Head to Lake Fort Smith State Park in Mountainburg on Sept. 1 to learn about Building Lake Fort Smith. The creation of the lake transformed the region: it created jobs, tourism, and an abundant supply of water. At the visitor center you can view a documentary film and a slide show about this depression era marvel.
In addition to learning about the lake, you can also test your skills and play a game of chance playing Pool Bingo at Lake Fort Smith State Park. On Sept. 2, Lake Fort Smith State Park also offers a Summer Breeze Boat Tour of the Frog Bayou, a guided Kayak Adventure, and a Park Pool Party. Call 479-369-2469 or visit the park website for reservations and details on these park events.
At Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville you can Focus on Fish. During this free program you’ll find out why the lake has such a healthy bass population. Join a park interpreter in the weigh in pavilion to learn about fish and how we can better care for them by learning about and understanding their habits.
The park offers a Snakes at the Pool program on Sept. 3. Also on this day is an In-seine Adventure at Kayak Beach, where you’ll want to wear your water shoes to see what lives in the lake besides fish and turtles.
Call 479-967-5516 or visit the park website for reservations and details.
In the Arkansas Ozarks
You can also get an up close and loud understanding of how water is used to make electric power during a Bull Shoals Powerhouse and Dam Tour. Admission is $4. You’ll see massive equipment, learn about the history of the construction, the environmental and commercial impact of the dam and its role providing flood control, hydropower and recreational opportunities.
At Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Rogers you can join a park interpreter to discover the unique critters found in Little Clifty Creek. Wear shoes and clothes that can get dirty and wet for this stream investigation. The program is free. Call 479-789-5000 or visit the park website for dates and details.
You’ll also need water shoes for the Stream Inspector program at Withrow Springs State Park in Huntsville. What you discover living in our streams are clues to the health and quality of our water system. Meet Park Interpreter Natalie to help gather clues and give our stream a passing or failing grade. Bring a field notebook, magnifying glass and aquatic net too, if you have them. See the park website for the dates of this free program. You can reach the park at 479-559-2593 for more information.
If you’d like to put environmental meaning into your outdoor fun, you have three opportunities on Sept. 8. Take part in the 5th annual Lee Creek Cleanup in West Fork. It’s free to reconnect with your planet. Gloves and trash bags will be provided, and lunch and prize drawings for volunteers have been donated by sponsors. Call 479-761-3325 to sign up. The Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River Cleanup is in its 43rd year in Greers Ferry. Following the lake and river cleanup, participants will be treated to a picnic lunch and entertainment at the Narrows Park in Higden. Call 501-745-6101 for more information. The 13th annual Spring River Cleanup in Mammoth Spring is not for beginners because you need a canoe for this one. Canoes are provided by local outfitters. Call 870-625-7364 by Sept. 7 to reserve your canoe.
Back to the recreational aspect of water, you can take Gaston’s Fly Fishing School Sept. 15-16 in Lakeview to learn an art of fishing that will let you enjoy the waters for years to come. The school is designed for the beginner fly fisherman. You’ll learn step by step basics of fly casting, knot tying and fishing techniques that can be used for river and lake fly fishing. The cost is $225. Call 870-431-5202 to sign up.
Another great way to enjoy lakes, river and streams is kayaking. Mammoth Spring State Park in Mammoth Spring offers a Kayaking 101 course on Sept. 22 for $25. You’ll learn the basic paddling and kayaking maneuvers. Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets provided. Space is limited, so call 870-625-7364 to reserve yours.