Back to Nature: Meet Mother Nature at Hobbs

My Tuesday blogs are dedicated to experiencing the great outdoors. I’ll feature anything from park events to Natural State destinations worth seeing. Join me each week to get back to nature.

Jill M. Rohrbach
It’s free. It’s new. It’s a chance to meet Mother Nature. Mark your calendars for the second Saturday and third Wednesday of every month for the “Mother Nature Reads” series at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Rogers. The program features a wonderful story read by one of the park’s talented docents or staff members. Mother Nature sits in a rocker and the children gather around her to hear a story about the nature that surrounds them. Story time is followed by a hands-on activity or craft.

Children of all ages are welcome, but most stories target children ages 3 to 6. The length of the program is about one hour and takes place in the nature corner of the new park visitor center. Find out more by calling 479-789-5000.

The park is located a mere 10 miles east of Rogers, and is Arkansas’s largest state park. The new visitor center opened last May. The 17,500-square-foot center features an exhibit gallery, wildlife viewing area, two rooms for group field studies, orientation room with a 65-inch LCD screen, murals, and gift shop. Interactive displays include computerized notebooks that convert to Spanish. A replica of a karst cave is inset into a wall and an example of an Ozark bluff with water flowing over it is featured in the main entry area. Exhibits include a full mount deer and black bear, metal three-dimensional sculptures of birds of prey, and examples of endemic flora and fauna.

Structurally, the design is representative of the old Ozark clerestory barn with wide rafters and high ceilings. It is also a green building and is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited state parks building and one of the few in Arkansas. A large water feature representing a pond and flowing creek wraps from the front to the back of the visitor center.

Even with this new visitor center, the park is primarily natural. Visitors can enjoy the park’s 12,045 acres along with the southern shores of 28,370-acre Beaver Lake. Twenty-two miles of the land are along the shore of Beaver Lake. The acreage is dissected by Ark. 12.

This Ozark landscape consists of plateaus, ridges, hollows and streams sheltered by a pine, oak and hickory mix. Caves dot the property, as it is rich in karst topography such as caves, sinkholes, pits and crevices. These are geological features formed by dissolving limestone. Park Superintendent Mark Clippinger said the caves are not safe for cavers because they have small openings and flood easily during heavy rains. Wildlife from bears to songbirds call the park home.

Currently available to the public are four hiking trails including a 1/2-mile, barrier-free historical trail and 22-mile multi-use trail; an all-weather public firing range; regulated seasonal hunting; undeveloped access to Beaver Lake; and interpretive programs. HSP-CA is Arkansas’s only state park where hunting is allowed.
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