For decades, I have driven by the sign on Highway 65 between north Arkansas and Little Rock, that pointed to the turn off for Woolly Hollow State Park ( www.ArkansasStateParks.com ). A few weeks ago, I FINALLY took the time to drive down that road to visit this central Arkansas recreation spot, and I was not disappointed with what I found!
As I was driving along the entrance road that overlooks the blue waters of Lake Bennett, I became curious to know the history of this body of water. I found out that Lake Bennett was constructed in 1935, during the Great Depression, by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and WPA (Works Project Administration). It was the first Soil Conservation Service watershed project in the United States, built for the scientific study of the effects of water run-off, silt, and erosion control, from a specific watershed.
Since its designation in 1973 as a state park, many amenities have been added, to take advantage of the natural beauty and resources that the location supplies. This fishing pier is wheelchair accessible, and barrier-free.
This photo shows some of the interpretive plaques on the lawn between the paddle-boat dock, and the gift shop/park office. In the summer, there is also a floating barge near the paddleboat dock for swimmers to use as a rest or jumping off area. This will be the site of a big, FREE 40th Anniversary Celebration planned for Saturday, August 17th, 2013, from 11 am - 3 pm, to recognize the fact that Woolly Hollow became a State Park in the summer of 1973, and since that time has had over a million visitors. On that day, visitors can enjoy free swimming, paddle boating, contests, music and reminiscing. At the end of the day, a time capsule will be buried to tell about the good times at Woolly Hollow, for generations to follow.
This photo shows the wheelchair accessible path that borders the lake between the handicap parking area, the fishing pier, and the handicap accessible picnic tables.
The shaded gazebo at the end of the fishing pier is also a relaxing spot to do nature (or people!) watching.
This is an example of "waterside dining" available within the park. You can bring your own picnic, or in the summer months, snacks and meals are sold in the concession area.
A pavilion can be reserved for group gatherings. On the day I was there, a special lunch was being held for the park superintendent who was retiring.
Scattered among the trees near the lake are 30 Class AAA campsites. They are equipped with water, dual-electric, and sewer hookups, as well as a table and grill at each site. Camping is available here year round.
The 3.5 mile Huckleberry Nature Trail winds its way through the wooded scenery around Lake Bennett. The trail was originally constructed in the mid-1930;s by the CCC, and was restored in 1981, by the Youth Conservation Corps.
The trail goes through woods and open areas, and uses various adaptations of "bridges" to pass over, and through, wetland areas.
An interesting feature within the park, is the remains of a very old road (used in the early 1800's), that was the only land route connecting central Arkansas with sections of Arkansas to the north.
The park preserves the Woolly Cabin, named after the family of William Riley Woolly, that came to Arkansas in 1851. They settled in "the Hollow", in 1859, which started a chain of events that led to his namesake being used a century later to name the park. I had mistakenly assumed the name came from the area being "woolly" (which is Ozark talk for "scary").
The one-room log home was originally located less than a mile southwest of the park, but was moved to its present site and restored in 1975.
A Wayside Exhibit in the campground told about an Artesian Aquifer that was discovered on the property several years ago. These rocks and stream bed were constructed to direct the flow coming out of the artesian well. The creation of this scenic stream bed area, Lake Bennett, and the entire park, are serving as a visual aid about another type of creation, mentioned in one of my memory verses for the next session of First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ). It says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10). Likewise, Lake Bennett is the workmanship of the CCC and WPA, created to do good work, which its planner, Dr. Hugh Bennett, prepared in advance for it to do! If you would like to enjoy the benefits of their workmanship, start planning your visit to Woolly Hollow State Park in Greenbrier, Arkansas, by phoning 501-679-2098. A visit to this picturesque park will give you "MILES OF SMILES"! Tricia