Friends of Hobbs
State Park-Conservation Area

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  • 24 Mar 2017 10:26 AM | Anonymous

    It was back in 2001 that Al Knox began to volunteer for trail maintenance at Hobbs State Park.  For two years he regularly visited the Park with chain saw, weed eater, grass whip, McLeod, and Pulaski.  He maintained and re-routed old trail, while developing new sections.  Nothing made Al happier than to be in the woods maintaining trail for his fellow man and woman to enjoy.  Then in 2003 Knox was on the payroll.  He became the only Trail Maintenance Supervisor ever hired by any Arkansas state park.

    Hobbs State Park boasts 35 miles of trail with 24 of those miles being multi-use.  Multi-use means that in addition to hikers, the trail is used by horses, and non-motorized bikes.  Horses and bikes are exceptionally hard on trails; however, for 14 years Knox and his community volunteers have kept all 35 miles of trail in a continuous state of excellent repair…not an easy task.  It has been the Al Knox love of the woods and the love of his work that has endured him to the thousands of trail users that visit Hobbs State Park every year.  At age 81, Al will be hanging up his trail tools, trading them for a rod and reel and some well-deserved fishing time.

    In honor of the exceptional service he has provided the largest state park in Arkansas, “Al Knox Trail Day” has been established as an annual happening at Hobbs State Park.  The very first will be April 1, 2017.

    The public is invited to an open house Saturday April 1st from 10 am to 2 pm.  Cake and drink will be provided for all.  Al will want to see everyone who has enjoyed the Hobbs State Park trails.

    In addition to the open house, a full array of guided trail tours will take place the same day:

    Time                 Trail Head                     Trail                        Leader                 Trail Use Type
    8 am            Piney Trail head         Bashore Loop          Diane Gately                Hike
    8:30 am         Van Winkle                Sinking Stream        Rick Jones            Bird Watching
    9 am             Townsend Ridge          War Eagle                 Tomac                        Bike 
    9 am             Townsend Ridge          Little Clifty               Saddle Up                 Horse
    9:30 am         Visitor Center                OPT                   Rebekah Penny               Hike
    10 am           Pigeon Roost             Dry Creek                  Kathy Mayhue        Photography
                                                           2.5 miles down to
                                                           Water and back         Joan Reynolds       Wildflowers

    10am – 2 pm  Visitor Center      Open House     Spend time with Al

    Time               Trail Head                     Trail                         Leader            Trail Use Type
    2 pm                Piney                   Dutton Hollow              Chelsea            Hike
    2:30 pm      Shaddox Hollow      Shaddox Hollow            Nikki                Hike
    3:30 pm        Van Winkle                Van Winkle                 Steve               Hike


  • 23 Mar 2017 1:15 PM | Anonymous

    Mercury will be at its greatest eastern elongation on April 1st this year.  In astronomy, a planet's elongation is the angle between the planet and the Sun as seen from the Earth.  When an inner planet is at its largest angle away from the Sun it is in a prime viewing condition.  Greatest eastern elongation is the phrase to describe when a planet is in this prime viewing condition just after sunset.  

    According to the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society president, Katherine Auld, “Our evening at Hobbs State Park will begin with a short lecture explaining more about the greatest elongation for both the inner and outer planets.  Following will be a short explanation of viewing the night sky.  We will then proceed outside to view Mercury and some deep sky objects.  We will also have a basket of books for young people to participate in Reading Under the Stars.”

    What to Bring: 

    • Flashlight (covered with a red cloth or red balloon)
    • Binoculars
    • Folding chair – one per person`
    • Star chart (if you have one)

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of        the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

    When:  Saturday April 1, 2017

    • Classroom instruction – 6:45 p.m.
    • Night viewing about 7:45 p.m.

    Cost:  Free – Public is invited:  Great for scout groups and families

     For more information call:  479-789-5000


  • 17 Mar 2017 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    Hobbs State Park offers a variety of family orientated activities during the upcoming Spring Break.  In addition to some indoor happenings, many hikes, short and longer, are on the agenda.  Choose what you like, and don’t forget the outstanding exhibits at the Hobbs State Park visitor center.

    Saturday March 18

    Nature   Hike    10 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”? Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Puffballs in the Sky          12 pm               30 Min.             Visitor Center
    Is a cloud just a cloud?  No sir!  Clouds can tell us things.  Clouds can do things.  Do you know what thunder really is?  Why do tornadoes form in clouds?  Join Park Interpreter Steve to learn about our amazing clouds…puffballs in the sky.

    Photographing Trail Trees    2 pm – 5:30 pm    Meet at the visitor center
    Al Knox, Trail Maintenance Supervisor at Hobbs State Park, will present a synopsis of the Marker trees he has found at the Park, and Cleeo Wright, Events Coordinator for the PSNWA will discuss the different ways one might photograph these or any other trees.  Techniques might include the tree as the primary visual, the details of the tree, how the tree looks in different seasons, different perspectives utilizing foreground elements, trees under infrared wavelength, or how black and white can help isolate shapes and form. Following the classroom introduction, the group will drive to the sites of three trail trees for photographic sessions.  Photographers of all abilities are invited to participate. Free

    The Lorax                             3 pm                 30 min.             Visitor Center
    Listen in as interpreter Steve reads the Lorax.  Do you know what the Lorax was?  He wasn’t just that “orange colored dude”.  Do you know who the most important character in the story was?  It’s not the Lorax.

    Sunday March 19

    Nature   Hike    11 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”? Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Fly Casting           12:00 pm      4 hours        Visitor Center 
    Those who wish to learn the basics of fly casting will want to attend the Fly Casting 101 workshop to be held at the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center Sunday March 19, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Two hours of instruction will be in the classroom, and two hours will be outside.  Minimum age is 12 yrs.  Cost:  $35 per person + tax.  Class size is limited to 15.  Reservations and pre-payment required.  Call:  479-789-5000

    Arkansas Symbols       1 pm            25 minutes              Visitor Center
    Do you know the symbols of Arkansas?  Some are easy, and others you probably have never heard of.  Did you know we have a state soil and a State beverage?  Join interpreter Steve to learn some of the symbols of Arkansas. 

    The Lorax                  3 pm                 30 min.             Visitor Center
    Listen in as interpreter Steve reads the Lorax.  Do you know what the Lorax was?  He wasn’t just that “orange colored dude”.  Do you know who the most important character in the story was?  It’s not the Lorax.

    Monday March 20

    Great Arkansas Mammal Quiz         All Day           Visitor Center
    Test your knowledge of our northwest Arkansas mammals.  Who will do better?  Mom?  Dad?  Or the kids?

    Morning Bird Walk   9:00 am   1 hour    Historic Van Winkle Hollow
    Join Assistant superintendent Jay as he guides you through Historic Van Winkle Hollow.  What a great place to see our feathered friends!

    Live Box Turtle   2:00 pm               30 min.        Visitor Center
    Join superintendent Jay with one of his best friends, Mr. Turtle.  You will be surprised to find how much there is to learn about our native box turtles.

    Tuesday March 21

    Exhibit Scavenger Hunt         All Day              Visitor Center
    Families are invited to participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt through the visitor center and its exhibit area. Discover the many wonders of this facility and the park as you complete this hunt together.  Receive a prize at the front desk when you turn in your scavenger hunt sheet.

    Native Plant Bed Maintenance   9:00 am     2-3 hours   Visitor Center
    Join Hobbs State Park Staff and the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists for a morning of native plant spring cleaning.  We will be cutting back grasses and pulling weeds to prepare these native plant beds for spring.  Native plant information, tools, gloves, and lunch will be provided.

    Nature Detective Hike       2:00 pm     45 min.            Visitor Center
    There is a nature mystery to be solved here at Hobbs State Park, and we need your help to solve this case.  Join a Park interpreter to discover how knowledge is power when solving nature mysteries in Arkansas State Parks.

    Wednesday March 22

    Scavenger Hunt               All day long         Visitor Center
    Families are invited to participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt through the visitor center and its exhibit area. Discover the many wonders of this facility and the park as you complete this hunt together. Receive a prize at the front desk when you turn in your scavenger hunt sheet.

    Bird Discovery            10:00 am – noon    West side of Visitor Center
    The Hobbs State Park bird feeders bring in a wide variety of our colorful feathered friends up real close.  Join interpreter Chelsea, outside, at the west side of the visitor center.  She will provide binoculars for everyone so you can look at our pretty, flying friends right in the eye.

    Nature Hike        11 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Shaddox Hollow Hike   1:00 pm    1 ½ hours    Shaddox Hollow Trail
    Join interpreter Chelsea for a fun 1 ½ mile hike through the Hobbs State Park woods.  See the new glade clearing, limestone bluffs, karst features, and a critter or two.

    Enlightening Hike      2:00 pm          45 min.       Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Thursday March 23

    Bird Discovery        10:00 am – noon          West side of Visitor Center
    The Hobbs State Park bird feeders bring in a wide variety of our colorful feathered friends up real close.  Join interpreter Chelsea, outside, at the west side of the visitor center.  She will provide binoculars for everyone so you can look at our pretty, flying friends right in the eye.

    Nature Hike        11 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Dutton Hollow Hike      1:00 pm        2 hours        Dutton Hollow Loop
    Hwy 12 to Piney Road south…meet at the Piney Road multi-use trail parking lot.  Dutton Hollow offers wildflowers, limestone bluffs, large paw paw patch, and a sink hole.

    Historic Van Winkle hike    3 pm      1 hour    Van Winkle Trail Head
    Join Interpreter Steve on an easy stroll through the Historic Van Winkle Hollow and learn about the Van Winkle mill, the largest in the state of Arkansas all through the 1870’s.  The area is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Friday March 24

    Scavenger Hunt    All day long         Visitor Center
    Families are invited to participate in a self-guided scavenger hunt through the visitor center and its exhibit area. Discover the many wonders of this facility and the park as you complete this hunt together. Receive a prize at the front desk when you turn in your scavenger hunt sheet.

    Do you know your NW Ark. Mammals?    10 am -1 pm    Visitor Center
    Join interpreter Steve while you try to identify common mammals that we see every day in northwest Arkansas.

    Bayshore Ridge Loop Hike    1:00 pm      2 hours        Piney Road parking lot
    Meet interpreter Chelsea at the Piney Road parking lot, and enjoy an easy 4-mile hike.  This trail has a spur to a wonderful overlook of Beaver Lake.

    Nature Hike    3:00 pm            45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Saturday March 25

    Nature   Hike            10 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Leave No Trace:  The 7 Principals     1 pm         35 minutes   Visitor Center
    The choices you make when you are outside make a big difference.  This is a great program for all ages, but especially for young girls and boys who are just beginning to experience camping, hiking, and the outdoors in general.

    Venomous Snakes of Arkansas    3:00 pm     20 min.   Visitor Center
    Everyone who lives in Arkansas should be aware of what venomous snakes we have and what they look like.  This short program identifies the 6 venomous snakes that we have in Arkansas, five of which are found in northwest Arkansas.

    Sunday March 26

    Nature   Hike    11 am             45 min     Ozark Plateau Trail
    Do you know the destination of a trail?  And just what is “Hidden Diversity”?
    Join Interpreter Steve to learn more about your State Park.

    Tale of the Turtle        1 pm              20 Minutes     Visitor Center
    Join Park Interpreter Steve while you learn some interesting facts about our reptile friends.  Why are there 5 toes on a 3-toed box turtle?  There is an easy way to tell the difference between a boy and a girl turtle.  Do you know the secret? 

    Galls                    3 pm                 20 min                  Visitor Center
    Is it a gall or isn’t it? – Hey – What is a gall?   How are they formed?  Join interpreter Steve to learn the basics of what galls are all about.


  • 17 Mar 2017 1:29 PM | Anonymous

    Pigeon Roost Trail campsites will soon require reservations and a fee.  There will be a per campsite fee of $12 a night and must be reserved at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com or https://www.reserveamerica.com or by calling 1-877-879-2741. Any questions please contact Hobbs State Park at 479-789-5000.

  • 17 Mar 2017 11:39 AM | Anonymous

    Read about the accomplishments and activities of the Friends of Hobbs organization and the park as a whole in the beautiful Spring 2017 newsletter.  Enjoy!  Spring2017HobbsNL-Email.pdf

  • 11 Mar 2017 12:17 PM | Anonymous

    Thong Tree?    Marker Tree?   Trail tree?  These oddly-shaped curiosities of history past can be found all over the United States; however few people have seriously studied them.   Trail trees were made by bending young saplings, white oak where possible, and tying them down with a leather thong, or grape vine.  Eventually the tree would grow in the bent form, pointing in the direction of something important.  Many times they pointed to water sources, but other points of importance included shelter, medicinal herbs, grave sites, other encampments, etc.

    Laura Hubler of Missouri studied these peculiar-looking trees back in the 1950’s.  In 1997 Elaine Jorgen of Ellijay, Georgia wrote a short book on the subject that led many across the nation to consider this part of tribal culture that had been hidden for years.  Then in March of 2007 the Mountain Stewards from Jasper, Georgia , brought researchers from three other states to Hobbs State Park where the group began an official Indian Trail Tree Project to locate, document, and preserve “Living artifacts” that are a legacy of the Native American presence on the North American Continent.   These “Living artifacts” are normally referred to as Indian Trail Trees, but in some parts of the U.S. they are also called Marker Trees, Thong Trees, Signal Trees, Prayer Trees, Culturally Modified Trees, as well as other names.

    Since these aging testaments are living things, death must ultimately follow.  One way to preserve the legacy of these trees is to photograph them before they are no longer with us.  The Photographic Society of Northwest Arkansas has teamed up with Hobbs State Park, and has slated a unique Marker Tree Introduction/ Photo Walk. 

    Al Knox, Trail Maintenance Supervisor at Hobbs State Park, will present a synopsis of the Marker trees he has found at the Park, and Cleeo Wright, Events Coordinator for the PSNWA will discuss the different ways one might photograph these or any other trees.  Techniques might include the tree as the primary visual, the details of the tree, how the tree looks in different seasons, different perspectives utilizing foreground elements, trees under infrared wavelength, or how black and white can help isolate shapes and form.

    Following the classroom introduction, the group will drive to the sites of three trail trees for photographic sessions.  Photographers of all abilities are invited to participate.

    Recently published books on Trail Trees:

    What:    Classroom introduction and then Photo Walk of Trail Trees
    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Highway 12 just east of         the Highway 12/War Eagle Road intersection
    When:    Saturday March 18, 2017, 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
    Cost:      Free   The public is invited

    This presentation is a partnership program between Hobbs State Park, and the Photographic Society of Northwest Arkansas.  To learn more about the Photographic Society of NW Arkansas, go to the web site: http://www.psnwa.org.

    To learn more about upcoming Friends of Hobbs speakers and other park programs, go to the web site: http://www.friendsofhobbs.com or call:   479-789-5000

  • 06 Mar 2017 11:49 AM | Anonymous

    Those who wish to learn the basics of fly casting will want to attend the Fly Casting 101 workshop to be held at the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center Sunday March 19, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Two hours of instruction will be in the classroom, and two hours will be outside.   Participants will learn four basic casts, the six basic types of flies, (lures) how to cast and “play” the flies in the water, how to read water, how to wade, how to purchase and assemble your equipment, how to store your equipment, as well as how to tie the four basic knots used by fly fishers.  All equipment will be provided. 

    The workshop will be taught by Sallyann Brown, past recipient of the “Woman of the Year” and the “Federation of Fly Fishers Educator of the Year” awards from the Federation of Fly Fishers, Inc.

    When:  Sunday March 19, 2017
    Time:  12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
    Where: The workshop will be held at the Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.

    Minimum age is 12 yrs.  Cost:  $35 per person + tax.  Class size is limited     to 15.  Reservations and pre-payment required.  Call:  479-789-5000


  • 05 Mar 2017 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    After shallow oceans receded from lands that included what is now Arkansas, exposed limestone began to erode, creating unique rock formations, including the many “bluff shelters” we see all over northwest Arkansas.   One of the most interesting aspects of archeology in the Arkansas Ozarks is the many dry bluff shelters and caves that have been intermittently occupied for 10,000 years.  The dry conditions created in these caves and shelters provide a rare glimpse of the kinds of artifacts that usually rot in the wet climate of the Southeastern United States.  In addition to rare perishable artifacts, some bluff shelters contain deep stratified deposits which can help archeologists understand regional chronology.

    The Arkansas Archeological Survey has begun a new multi-year research project related to this class of sites.  The first phase of this project digitized important records from early bluff shelter excavations and created a popular-oriented web site about these unparalleled and endangered sites—entitled Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks.  The talk at Hobbs State Park will outline the history of archeology in the region, examine the “bluff dweller” concept and its implications, and summarize current research on bluff shelters in Arkansas.   Dr. Jamie Brandon will “tag team” with Lydia Rees to present this fascinating program. 

    • Dr. Jamie Brandon is the Research Station Archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of archeology and has worked with the Survey in various capacities since 1997.  Brandon is currently leading the multi-year research project to investigate bluff shelter sites across the Ozarks.
    • Lydia Rees is a Research Assistant with the Arkansas Archeological Survey and the primary author of the new publicly-oriented website on bluff shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks.  She has been working in archeology for 14 years and was previously a Quality Control Crew Chief for Flat Earth Archeology.
    • As a special addition to the program, Jared Pebworth will bring a display of stone tools, and other objects found at northwest Arkansas bluff shelters.  Pebworth is a staff archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  He has been with the Survey since 1991.  Pebworth is a veteran of many bluff shelter excavations including Brown Bluff, Breckenridge, Spradley Hollow, and shelters along the Hwy. 412 corridor.  He was a team member for both the three-year, NEH-funded Arkansas Rock Art project, and several other survey projects to identify bluff shelter sites in the region.

    When:  2:00 p.m. Saturday March 11, 2017
    Where:  Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area’s visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
    Cost:  Free

    This program is part of the Friends of Hobbs Speaker Series, and is an official 2017 program for Arkansas Archaeological Month.  For more information call:  479-789-5000


  • 01 Mar 2017 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    HSP-CA manages over 12,000 acres of land in southeastern Benton County. As part of management activities at the site, two prescribed burns are planned for March 2, 2017.  Park neighbors near the controlled burn areas are being notified.

    The burns are being conducted by specially-trained crews skilled in fire management operations. Safety is emphasized in all phases of the fire management with local fire protection representatives being involved in the planning process.

    The burn will occur within prescribed parameters, including temperature, wind speed, and fuel moistures.

    The location of the first burn is in the Lookout area at the intersection of State Highway 12 and 127.  This burn will encompass 25 acres.  Motorists are reminded to please use caution in the area the day of the burn. 

    The second burn will be conducted along the Pigeon Roost Trail.  This burn is one acre in size.

    If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact us at 479-789-5000. 


  • 24 Feb 2017 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    Saturday March 4th, 2017 will be a day of fun-filled family activities as Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area celebrates the life and extraordinary career of Aldo Leopold, and how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement.  Leopold is the author of A Sand County Almanac The book has had an immensely popular impact, and has been described as "a major influence on American attitudes toward our natural environment".  

    The day will begin with “Birds and Breakfast”, where the public observes University of Arkansas personnel capturing, and then releasing song birds.  Free juice, coffee, and donuts are available for all attendees.   Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.  Activities will include:

    9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. – Birds and Breakfast, Live Song Bird Research Demonstrations with free donuts, coffee, and juice.

    10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  – Dutch Oven Demonstration:  Stop by to taste some wonderful treats cooked in Arkansas’s State Cooking Vessel – a Dutch oven.   

    11 a.m. – Historic hike – Join interpreter Steve for a leisurely stroll through historic Van Winkle Hollow, an area that is on the National Register of Historic Places

    1 p.m. – Nature’s Hidden Wonders Hike:  Join Asst. Superintendent Jay Schneider on the Ozark Plateau Trail for a discovery hike.

    2 p.m. – Leave No Trace:  Join interpreter Steve and learn about the seven principles of Leave No Trace.  (Great for kids to learn how to make good decisions about the environment when hiking or camping)

    3 p.m. – Music!  Join Lake Geneva, Wisconsin singer/songwriter Tim Johnson as he sings songs based on Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac.

    Location:  Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area’s visitor center on U.S. Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.    

    When:  Saturday March 4th, 2017

    Cost:  All activities – Free.  

    For more information, call:  479-789-5000  



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