On Saturday, April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm at the Hobbs State Park visitor center there will be an enlightening and significant program on the life of Aaron” Rock” Van Winkle. Rock was Peter Van Winkle’s former slave who after the Civil Was as a freedman became his business partner. There have been numerous programs given on Peter Van Winkle and his famous saw mill, but there has never been a program solely dedicated to Aaron “Rock” Van Winkle and the outstanding reputation that he achieved while working at the Van Winkle saw mill.
We usually think of slavery in a plantation or agricultural setting, but in Van Winkle Hollow at the present-day Hobbs State Park, slavery in the 1850’s was happening in an industrial setting. Although not unique, it was not the norm.
Jerry Moore and Chris Huggard, instructors at Northwest Arkansas Community College, have completed extensive research on “Rock”. They have found descendants of black Van Winkles in NW Arkansas, Nebraska, and California. These individuals will be coming to Hobbs State Park for this distinctively special program. Descendants of white Van Winkles will be there as well. This will be a one-time, historic get-together that you will not want to miss.
Jerry and Chris have submitted an article on Rock for publication in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. The article will appear this year. The program on April 25, 2020 expands on the content of that article and will tell Rock’s story.
The attachment is the only known photo of Rock (circa 1872). He is with Van Winkle family members on the front porch of the two-story white house at 303 Arkansas Street in Rogers that was torn down in 2019. Rock was a welcomed and beloved part of the Van Winkle family.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection. When: Saturday April 25, 2020 at 2:00 pmCost: Free – the public is invited
This program is a continuation of the Hobbs State Park Speaker Series. For more information on Hobbs programs, trails, picnicking, or meeting room rental: Call: 479-789-5000
Are you still looking for a last-minute way to score points with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Weekend? Share the wonders of nature with your love this Valentine’s Day weekend by taking a boat cruise on beautiful Beaver Lake and enjoying a delightful lunch at Ventris Trails End Resort. There is live entertainment too.
Lunch features bacon-wrapped smoked chicken with sautéed mushrooms, onions and cheese, twice baked potato, seasoned green beans, French onion soup and salad with homemade bread rolls, chocolate cake, water, tea, or coffee; or a portabella sandwich…Holy Yum!
Alcoholic beverages are available at an additional charge.
There are two Sweetheart Cruises to choose from. One will run Saturday February 15th and the other Sunday February 16th. Each cruise will leave Rocky Branch Marina at 11:00 am and return at 2:00 pm.
Cost: $40+ tax per individual: Reservations and payment must be made in advance. Contact Hobbs State Park to reserve your spot. (479) 789-5000.
Come the first of November, migrating bald eagles begin to visit Beaver Lake. They are beautiful when they soar overhead, swoop down to the water to catch a fish with their talons, or just sit in a leafless tree. It’s indeed exciting to see them. We have been enjoying eagles for over two months now, and Hobbs State Park announces there is still some room for February eagle watch cruises
February 2020 eagle watch cruise dates:1,2,8,9,15,16,17,23,29
According to interpreter Steve Chyrchel, “Nature’s wonders are unpredictable. We may see four or five eagles on a cruise or maybe just one, and on very rare occasion we may not see any. If the weather is beautiful, the eagles are most likely looking for fish somewhere on the wing and not sitting in a tree. There are two things eagle watchers need to remember; one, eagle watching is not a warm weather sport, and two; the nastier the weather the more likely we are to see eagles. If it’s cold and a little rainy, that’s when eagles sit in a tree and wait for better weather.”
Although Hobbs calls these times on the lake “Eagle Cruises”, remember that there is other wildlife to see as well. Great blue herons, belted kingfishers, red tailed hawks, and maybe a deer, beaver, or several species of ducks become part of the viewing fun.
No matter what wildlife you see, it’s always great to be out on the water. Hobbs State Park provides a safe three-pontoon vessel, driver, and an interpreter to answer questions and share information about our national symbol, the bald eagle.
Tickets must be purchased in advance. Adults $10.00 + tax. Children 6-12 $5.00 + tax. Tours depart Rocky Branch Marina promptly at 3:00 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, call: 479-789-5000
Plant identification can be challenging, especially during the cold winter months when many species have gone dormant. Luckily, even during the bleak months of winter, plants still provide us with plenty of clues that we can use to identify what species a tree, shrub, or woody vine belongs to. At Hobbs State Park, Eric Fuselier will teach us about these clues, and how, even during the wintertime, botany can still be a fun way to spend time outdoors.
Eric Fuselier is an Environmental Scientist in Crafton Tull's Rogers office. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Soil, and Water Science from the University of Arkansas, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana Tech University. Eric has extensive knowledge of wetland science, soil science, and botany. Eric has served as the president of the Ozark chapter of the Arkansas Native Plant Society.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a professional on how and why Winter Botany can be fun and personally rewarding.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
When: Sunday January 26, 2020 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Free – Public invited
For more information, call: 479-789-5000
This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series.
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Make a New Year’s resolution to improve your health and happiness by kicking off 2020 with an invigorating First Day Hikes at an Arkansas State Park. On January 1st, Arkansas will join state parks across the country by offering unique programming as a part of this annual event. Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on guided hikes. The First Day Hikes initiative encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with outdoor exploration.
“So many people start the year with resolutions about seeking more authentic experiences as well as taking control of their own health and fitness,” said Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services Kelly Farrell. “With our First Day Hikes, you can put those good intentions right into action! We hope our visitors will take advantage of our programs so they can turn goals into accomplishments on day one of 2020. Whether our guests join a scheduled guided hike or take a self-guided trek on our 400+ miles of trails, we hope everyone enjoys being part of a nationwide celebration and become inspired to make visiting state parks a year-round habit.”
In Arkansas, most state parks are participating. Arkansas State Parks staff and volunteers will lead hikers along trails that will showcase the beauty of Arkansas. The distance and the difficulty of the trails vary from park to park, but the hikes are designed to benefit the entire family. You are encouraged to share your adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.
“This is an exciting initiative designed to help people develop a personal appreciation for our world-class state parks and the unique benefits of each park,” said Grady Spann, director of Arkansas State Parks.
Hikers can choose guided hikes that fit their comfort levels including mountain and hill-climbing, walks along lakes, exploring trails that wind through forests, and wildlife expeditions.
For more information about other opportunities to participate in an Arkansas State Park First Day Hike, go to www.arkansasstateparks.com for a listing of locations and times. Visitors can also receive information regarding the difficulty of trails, mileage, and proper attire.
“Our weather in Arkansas on January 1 is generally very mild, with temperatures topping out around 50-degrees,” Spann said. “That is absolutely perfect weather to prompt someone to get up from the holiday sofa and be reinvigorated by the fresh air and natural beauty of Arkansas State Parks.”
Join the fun! During the event, park rangers, interpreters and volunteers will share their knowledge of the state’s unique natural and cultural features. For those who enjoy bragging rights, everyone who goes on a guided hike will receive a free First Day Hike sticker – while supplies last!
The First, First Day Hike
First Day Hikes began more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, which is a state park in Massachusetts. It is sponsored by the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), which promotes and advocates for state park systems throughout the nation.
"America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” NASPD Executive Director, Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”
About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.
The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.
The National Association of State Park Directors promotes and advocates for the state park systems across America in providing conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, quality outdoor recreation experiences, connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors. With more than 6,792 park areas and visitation of 813 million people annually, the economic impact on local communities is estimated to exceed $20 billion each year. America’s State Parks is an alliance of state park systems in all 50 states.
If the onset of “cabin fever” is beginning to set in, the Wonders of Winter Wildlife at Hobbs State Park will set you free. Bring the whole family.
9:00 am – 10:30 am: Birds N Breakfast: Free activity: Enjoy some coffee, juice, and donuts on us. The University of Arkansas will be catching songbirds, and then releasing them back into the wild. Bring your camera for close-up bird photos.
11:00 am – Live Birds of Prey: Free activity: Local wildlife rehabilitator, Lynn Sciumbato, will give her always popular “Raptor Rescue” program using live birds native to northwest Arkansas.
Noon – 4:00 pm – Hikes, indoor programs, and crafts: Free Activities
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Eagle Watch Cruise: * Eagle Watch Cruise originates from Rocky Branch Marina.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
When: Saturday January 18, 2020
Cost: All activities free – except Eagle Cruise
*Eagle cruises require pre-registration
Cost: $10+ tax/adult, $5+ tax/child 6-12
For more information and to register for the eagle watch tour call: 479-789-5000.
It’s all about the science behind the scenery in our regional forests. As we go hiking, there are things right before our eyes that happened yesterday, or even a million years ago, that are easy to understand if we take pause to look at them.
As Dr. Paillet puts it in the new bookOzark Forest Forensicshe co-authored, “The book interprets our natural surroundings in a way that enhances a simple walk in the scenic deciduous woodlands of the Ozark Mountain region. Explanations go beyond trees and their habitat to include other diverse subjects: the leaf litter beneath a hiker’s feet, strategies used by wildflowers for pollination and seed dispersal, diseases that can ravage our forests, and forces active in the landscape that impact conservation efforts. I’ve added simplified line drawings to demonstrate specific points of interest in a way that visually-cluttered photographs cannot do.”
Taking a little time to look at and understand your surroundings greatly adds to the enjoyment of any hike in the woods. Learn how to interpret those things you see and appreciate on a hike, but never much thought about before.
When: Sunday January 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.
For more information, call: 479-789-5000. This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series.
Mike Martin, an award-winning nature and wildlife photographer, and a native Arkansan, will be presenting a program on Bald Eagles at the Hobbs State Park visitor center on Sunday, January 5th at 2:00 p.m.
Mike has been an avid nature and wildlife photographer for over 28 years. His photos have been published by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, New York City Parks Department, the New York State Parks Department, the Florida Parks Department, and the California Parks Department. He has also had a number of his photos published by the Cornell University Ornithology Department’s award winning website, “All About Birds”.
Mike has co-authored a book about the bald eagles of Arkansas. In both 2013 and 2014, Mike's bald eagle photos were featured photos in an annual “Wildlife” Magazine produced by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. He will include many new photos that he has never before presented in his eagle programs. Mike’s program will be followed by a question and answer session.
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center located on Hwy 12 just east of the Hwy 12/War Eagle Road intersection.When: Sunday January 5, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.Cost: Free – Public invited
For more information, call: 479-789-5000This program is a continuation of the Friends of Hobbs monthly Speaker Series.
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. The initiative targeted the first of January, the start of a new year, to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and the year-round recreation that can be experienced locally in state parks. Through the years, other states, including Arkansas, joined this health initiative.
Get your year off on the right foot with a hike on the trails of Hobbs State Park Conservation Area just east of Rogers. Three different guided tours will be available on Wednesday January 1, 2020.
Wednesday January 1, 2020 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Wednesday January 1, 2020 11:30 am – 12:30 am
For more information call 479-789-5000.
You’ve probably never thought much about it. Where do the ducks come from that visit Arkansas? Why do they visit us? Why do they leave after their stay in our state? There is someone coming to Hobbs State Park who knows these answers and wants to share those answers with everyone in your family.
Steve Kick’s degree is in Forestry. His love of Nature led him to become an Eagle Scout, a scout leader, and a Master Naturalist. Top that off with 40 plus years of studying ducks, and you have a “down home”, “down to earth” program on some of Arkansas’s finest waterfowl. It really is one of those programs you’re going to be glad you brought the entire family to hear.
When: Sunday December 1, 2019 2:00 pm
Where: Hobbs State Park visitor center on Hwy. 12 just east of the Hwy. 12/War Eagle Road intersection.
Cost: Free: Family oriented – Public invited.
Copyright 2019 - Friends of Hobbs State Park - Conservation Area is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Send mail to: PO Box 802, Rogers, Arkansas 72757-0802
Located at: 20201 East Hwy 12 - Rogers, Arkansas 72756