Friends of Hobbs
State Park-Conservation Area

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  • 29 Jun 2017 12:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From its beginning, Eureka Springs, Arkansas has been more than quirky with its share of interesting people and ideas.  One of the most attention-grabbing times was during the assimilation of the “long hairs” into the Ozark folk culture and business communities.

    The legacy of the back-to-the-land movement in the Arkansas Ozarks during the 1960’s and 1970’s includes how in-migrants from urban areas learned about local Ozark flora, fauna, and folk culture.  By creating a fast link to established folklore and naturalist figures such as Vance Randolph, the “hipbillies” quickly began to assimilate into Ozark communities, (though not perfectly) and took the lead in preserving the natural beauty and folk traditions of the Ozarks.

    Jared M. Phillips, local historian, lives in Prairie Grove on a small homestead with his wife, son, and what he calls his “rowdy chickens.”  He is currently writing Hipbillies: Back to the Landers in the Arkansas Ozarks under contract with the University of Arkansas Press.  Phillips will speak at Hobbs State Park on the merits of the vast collection of Ozark culture amassed by writers like Vance Randolph, and then shift gears to explain how some of the “Hipbillies” became the bearded businessmen of Eureka Springs, carrying on Ozark folk customs.

    In the beginning, Vance Randolph was a folklorist whose studies in the traditional culture of the Ozarks brought him fame with academic and popular readers from the late 1920’s to the present.  For most of the 1940’s and 1950’s he lived in Eureka Springs, continuing to collect traditional Ozark music, dialect studies, and folk beliefs.  His litany of publications includes Journal of American Folklore, Down In the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech, and Pissing in the Snow, (1976) a collection of bawdy folk tales, which by far became his most popular book.

    Phillips writes of the 1960’s and 1970’ s, “Change was fast coming to the Ozark hilltops.  Beginning in the late 1960’s population boomed throughout the Arkansas uplands as thousands of in-migrants-mostly retirees and returnees, but also members of the counterculture moved into the state.  These dissimilar groups from the nation’s cities and suburbs flocked to the newly-created lakes and retirements villages, but also to small towns and rural areas, and along the way, stirred up a potent mixture of enthusiasm and consternation among local people.  At times, consternation became antagonism.  The most organized bitterness occurred in Carroll County’s Eureka Springs, giving birth to a mythology concerning hostility between native-born hill folks and back-to-the-land hippies.  Though Eureka Springs is now seen as a mecca for Ozarkian counterculture, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the “long hairs” newly residing in and around the town agitated the town’s business leaders.  Some of the loudest protests came from John Cross, a bank owner, entrepreneur, and community elder.”  Cross even had a baseball bat in his office which he affectionately referred to as his “hippy stick.”

    There was one good reason for the native townspeople to be upset.  In 1973, only four years after “Woodstock”, back-to-the-lander Edd Jeffords had the idea to organize a music festival just north of Eureka Springs.  He called it the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair.  The venue was built to accommodate 60,000 people; however, an estimated 150,000 souls (mainly long hairs) inundated the small community of 2,000.  Banker John Cross referred to the happening as “The Marijuana Rodeo”.

    Many of the “long hairs” who previously rejected the commercial aspects of society, stayed to live in Eureka Springs.  As years passed, their attitudes changed as they absorbed Ozark culture and established trendy arts and craft shops, reaping the benefits of the tourist dollars flowing into the area.

    Anyone who remembers those times in Eureka Springs, or who is just interested in the unique history of northwest Arkansas will not want to miss Jared Philips’s upcoming program!

    When –  Sunday July 9, 2017    2:00 p.m.

    Where -  Hobbs State park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the                    Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection

    Cost – Free – The public is invited

    This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs Speaker Series.

  • 26 Jun 2017 1:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We all use it every day! The waters of Beaver Lake provide you and your family with many resources – clean drinking water, power, recreational opportunities, and industries. So do your part to help show appreciation for Beaver Lake and its watershed at the Lake Appreciation Month Clean-up at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area on Saturday, July 8.

    Hobbs State Park in cooperation with Beaver Watershed Alliance, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Beaver Water District, Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Ozarks Water Watch, Benton County Solid Waste District, Benton County Environmental Division, Benton County Cooperative Extension Service, and the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists has joined numerous sponsors including SUP Outfitters,  Ozark Mountain Trading Company, Gearhead Outfitters, Lewis and Clark, Pack Rat Outdoor Center, Talulah’s Outfitters and Deli, Patagonia, McGuagh RV Center, and Coca-Cola, in the effort to preserve one of our most precious resources – the waters of Beaver Lake!   

    “This is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to get out and enjoy the resource while making a positive impact on it. We invite everyone to experience the beauty of the lake while doing their part to clean up our water source! We are hopeful that the Lake Appreciation Month Clean-up raises awareness of the importance of Beaver Lake to Northwest Arkansas and its residents!”, notes Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area Interpreter Rebekah Penny.

    Volunteers are invited to help either by walking along the shoreline or by bringing their own kayaks and canoes to scout the shoreline. Individuals with non-motorized boats will be caravanning to pre-selected Park access sites for clean-up.

    All volunteers are asked to register at the Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 8th to receive assignments, gloves, and trash bags.  The clean-up will last from 9 a.m. until noon, followed by a free lunch and raffle prize giveaway until 1 p.m. The Benton County Cooperative Extension Service is sponsoring special showings of the film, “All the Way to the Ocean,” during the day.

    A limited number of kayaks, and standup paddle boards will be available. Individuals who would like to utilize boats or boards should contact Becky Roark at 479-750-8007 or

    For more information: contact Rebekah Penny at 479-789-5000 or

    The Hobbs visitor center is located on highway 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection

  • 22 Jun 2017 5:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spend an evening on Beaver Lake while paddling your own kayak guided by a park interpreter.  We will learn the basics of paddling as we explore a calm area of Beaver Lake. The finale will be gazing west into the sunset. Recreational kayaks, paddles and lifejackets will be provided.  Bring a bottle of water, bug spray, flashlight, and dress for the weather. 

    Where:  Begin at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center on Hwy 12 just east of the War Eagle Road/Hwy 12 intersection.

    June 30, July 28 at 8 pm
    Aug. 11, 25, 28 at 7:30 pm
    Sept. 8, 15, 18 at 7:00 pm
    Sept. 25, 29 at 6:30 pm

    Cost $12 Adults, $6 children (6-12)

    Registration and pre-payment required.  For more information and to register call: 479-789-5000

  • 22 Jun 2017 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While wandering through Zilker Park Botanical Gardens in Austin Texas, Robert Thomas was photographing flowers and wildlife.  Suddenly, a beautiful bright red dragonfly landed in front of him.  Stunned at the beauty and vibrancy of its color, he shot a photo from about 15 feet away.  That was all it took for him to be totally fascinated by these creatures. 

    Robert Thomas has spent the last 6 years travelling and photographing odonates (dragonflies).  His photographs have graced the covers of numerous field guides.   His collection of photographs contains many very rare species.  As Thomas puts it, “It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and a little good luck and know how.”

    Bring the family and join Robert Thomas for a colorful, unique, and exciting program all about dragonflies, and how to photograph them.

    When:  2:00 p.m. Saturday June 24, 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

  • 12 Jun 2017 9:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Now there’s a title you don’t see every day, and this program will be presented at Hobbs State Park by Brooks Blevins, an Arkansas Ozarks native. Blevins is the Noel Boyd Professor of Ozark Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield.  He is the author and editor of seven books, including Arkansas/Arkansaw: How Bear Hunters, Hillbillies, and Good Ol’ Boys Defined a State and Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South. The Old Ozarks, the first volume in Blevins’s trilogy on the history of the Ozarks, will be released in 2018.

    Blevin’s program at Hobbs State Park explores the stories of various communal and cooperative-living groups in the Ozarks, from Benton County’s pre-Civil War Harmonial Vegetarian Society to Rev. John Battenfield’s Incoming Kingdom Missionary Unit in the hills along the Buffalo River.   

    There was even an unusual group that made their home on land which is now part of Hobbs State Park.  Edgar Wallace Conable was the founder of this strange health colony.  He bought 8,000 acres of the old Peter Van Winkle property and colonized it with several hundred followers, all of whom believed in his manner of living.  The colonists ate no breakfast. The men did not love their wives, nor did the wives love their husbands. Living in family groups was a “mere matter of form”.

    With its cheap land, its relative isolation, and its live-and-let-live population, the Ozark region has long been a magnet for countercultural and off-kilter groups who looked to build their own utopian communities in peace and solitude. The result has been some of the most colorful and unforgettable episodes in the history of the Ozarks.  You won’t want to miss this very thought-provoking program.

    When:  2:00 p.m. Sunday June 18, 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 – The public is invited

    This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs Speaker Series.

  • 31 May 2017 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Susan Young has been the Shiloh Museum’s outreach coordinator since 1994.  She is a fifth-generation Ozarker.  Before settling in the Ozarks, her kinfolk hailed from the southern Appalachians in Kentucky and Tennessee.  There’s no denying Susan's hillbilly roots.  In fact, that heritage is something she is quite proud of and passionate about, which makes the Shiloh Museum the perfect place for Susan to hang her hat. Her areas of interest include religion, cemeteries, and traditional folkways of the Upland South.  In her spare time, Susan enjoys gardening, traveling, birdwatching, and genealogy.

    Coming up in June, Susan will present one of her favorite programs at Hobbs State Park, but one she rarely does.  She calls it, “Literally Ozarks”.  According to Susan, “I’ve selected readings from various authors to accompany photos from our extensive collection.”  Susan has a humorous, thoughtful, and provocative way to look at our Ozark history and its literature.  You won’t want to miss this unique and entertaining program.

    When:   Sunday June 4, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the intersection of Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection
    Cost:  FREE

    For more information, call:  479-789-5000.  This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series. 

  • 31 May 2017 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you ever wanted to learn to kayak?  Here is your chance to learn from a kayak instructor for the American Canoe Association (ACA).  Participants will learn all aspects of paddling while exploring a calm area of Beaver Lake.  Recreational kayaks, paddles, and lifejackets will be provided.

    Workshop is open to those 16 years and older.  Bring a sack lunch, drinking water, sunscreen, and dress for the weather. 

    Where:  Begin at Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area visitor center on Hwy 12 just east of the War Eagle Road/Hwy 12 intersection.

    When:  June 7 &21
                July 9 &26
                Aug. 6, 13, 17 & 30
                Sept. 10 & 20
    Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    Cost:  $50.00 per person

    Registration and pre-payment required.  For more information and to register call: 479-789-5000

  • 19 May 2017 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This half-million-dollar project will be funded by the Friends of Hobbs and Arkansas State Parks.  The new pavilion will expand the classroom to the outdoors, allowing for increased learning opportunities for schools and the public alike.

    National Park Radio is a new modern folk band born and based in the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.  An all-acoustic band featuring well-written original songs and beautiful vocals, NPR has a unique sound that is easy to love.

    When:  Saturday June 10, 2017:  Gate opens and shuttles begin at 5:30 pm.  Musical event runs from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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

    Costs:     One-person admittance ticket (12 yrs. and up) = $25.00 + $2.37 processing fee.  Each ticket is an individual annual membership to the Friends of Hobbs.  Musical event tickets can be purchased on-line in advance at the website at the end of this release, or on-site the day of the performance.  (Cash or credit)

                  Meal ticket = $10.00 + $1.54 processing fee:  Cowboy Catering Company and Yeyo’s Mexican Grill will be serving up plates of Bar-B-Que and tacos.  They will be accepting meal tickets purchased online or onsite.

    For quick questions call:  479-789-5000

  • 19 May 2017 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We all know that Jupiter is a planet, but what is “retrograde motion”?  This is how Katherine Auld, President of the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society, explains it.  “Perfectly positioned for observing all month, very bright Jupiter moves retrograde through the body of the constellation Virgo in the southern evening sky.  Retrograde motion happens because earth, on its shorter race track path around the sun, is passing Jupiter on its longer track, and making Jupiter appear to move backwards against the backdrop of stars.  Jupiter will remain about 10 degrees above Virgo’s brightest star, Spica.  The shadows of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons frequently cross the planet’s disk this month, including a number of double shadow events.  Because Jupiter is high in the night sky, it makes a nice sight using binoculars, and a nice photo opportunity as well.” 

    Auld further stated, “This should be a great night for observing with a telescope, binoculars, or just using your unaided eyes!  We will have several telescopes set up looking at Jupiter and various other deep sky objects.  By the nature of stellar observation, these objects will move through the evening, so viewing opportunities will be plentiful.  As always, everyone is invited:  all ages are encouraged.  Items to bring with you include a flashlight (covered with a red cloth or balloon), binoculars, water bottle, and a folding chair.  A basket of children’s books will be provided along with balloon-covered flashlights for reading under the stars.”

    Where:  Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the       Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
    When:    Saturday May 27, 2017
    Time:     Lecture begins at 7:45 pm with night sky viewing at 8:45 pm
    Cost:      FREE

    Bring the whole family and join us at Hobbs State Park as we explore the May night sky.  For more information:  479-789-5000

  • 04 May 2017 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Most of us forgot or never knew how Mother’s Day began.  Ann Jarvis was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War.  When her mother died, she began to publicly campaign for a national day to honor “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”  After years of effort, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

    Today on this special day we lavish our mothers and wives with flowers and candy.  Why not toss a lunch cruise on Beaver Lake into the mix?  Hobbs State Park offers such a tasty cruise.  Lunch will be at Ventris Trails End Resort, and features: Salad, Parmesan Chicken, Ranch Potatoes, Green Beans, Sheet Cake, Tea & Coffee.   The vegetarian option is a portabella sandwich.  (Alcoholic beverages are available at an additional charge.) 

    When:  Sunday May 14,  from 11 am – 2 pm

    Where:  Leave from Rocky Branch Marina

    Cost:  $40/person

    Space for the Mother’s Day lunch cruise is limited.  Reservations and payment must be made in advance.  For more information and to make reservations, call: 479-789-5000

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