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johnnydr87

Arkansas Game and Fish Nature Centers

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I thought these nature centers (around $5-7 million a piece) were an unique way to interest tourists and people just passing through about the nature of Arkansas. They are beautifully landscaped and placed on interstates in our major cities. The names are pretty cheesy.

From AGFC:

In 1996, Arkansas voters passed a 1/8th cent Conservation Sales Tax to help the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission with the mission of wisely managing all the fish and wildlife resources of Arkansas while providing maximum enjoyment for the people. One of the promises made in 1996 was the construction of nature centers across the state to teach about the outdoors.

Two of the four planned nature centers are now complete with two more in the planning stages. Take time to visit the webpages to learn more about these magnificent structures dedicated to teaching visitors about the great outdoors.

Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

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Rivers of Change

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Delta Flyover

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The Worthless Swamp

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A Wetland is a Wetland

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20,000 Gallon Aquarium

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River Rat House Boat Theater

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This is the first of four nature centers. The Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center was designed as if it were a waterfowl hunting lodge set among Pine Bluff Regional Park's Delta bottomland, Lake Langhofer and Black Dog Bayou. The Delta and its rivers are the star attractions, and exhibits vividly describe how meandering waterways have changed this land and why swamps are incredibly valuable ecosystems.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center

Jonesboro, Arkansas

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Forrest L. Wood/ Crowley

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The one in Pine Bluff is actually pretty nice. It's one of the few things to do in Pine Bluff. I still wish they would have put one up here in northwest Arkansas. I think northwest Arkansas could draw more tourists if there were things like that and more cultural things to do also.

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The one in Pine Bluff is actually pretty nice.  It's one of the few things to do in Pine Bluff.  I still wish they would have put one up here in Little Rock.  I think northwest Arkansas could draw more tourists if there were things like that and more cultural things to do also.

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And by Little Rock, you mean...Fayetteville :rofl: ? Little Rock's getting one, on the Riverfront right to the west of the Clinton library, right beside I-30.

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And by Little Rock, you mean...Fayetteville  :rofl: ?  Little Rock's getting one, on the Riverfront right to the west of the Clinton library, right beside I-30.

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Whoops, yeah I meant Fayetteville, guess I'm getting my topics mixed up. :D

I'm trying to keep up with everything going on in these topics and they keep getting updated. But that's a good thing. Nice to see some action going on. There I fixed it. But anyway I wonder why they didn't consider building one up here. The only area in Arkansas with more population is central Arkansas. Just seems like it would do well up here.

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Whoops, yeah I meant Fayetteville, guess I'm getting my topics mixed up. :D

I'm trying to keep up with everything going on in these topics and they keep getting updated.  But that's a good thing.  Nice to see some action going on.  There I fixed it.  But anyway I wonder why they didn't consider building one up here.  The only area in Arkansas with more population is central Arkansas.  Just seems like it would do well up here.

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I agree. Maybe you're up for a future installment.

They've covered:

-the Delta

-Crowley's Ridge

-River Valley

-General (Little Rock)

So they're missing:

-the Ouachitas

-the Timberlands (SW Ark)

-the Ozarks

Good candidates for Ouachitas:

1. Hot Springs is definitely the best. It's the only major city (by AR standards, anyway) in the Ouachitas.

2. Mena is beautiful, but a distant second, and really too deep in the Ouachitas.

-No other real Ouachita cities, unless you count Little Rock, which would be quite a stretch.

Good candidates for the Ozarks (too many):

1. Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville- Top choice for population density

2. Eureka Springs- Second major tourist city after Hot Springs. Pretty.

3. Harrison-second, but bad stereotypes of the area (they do have the KKK HQ, after all)

4. Mountain Home- distant......

I would not be surprised if there were multiple Ozark nature centers. It is the most popular natural feature of the state, after all.

Timberlands (what would there be to see in these exhibits?):

1. Texarkana- on the border, plus the AR side gets a bad wrap. Considered an MSA

2. Arkadelphia - decent sized city

3. Hope- Already has Clinton notoriety to help

4. Murfreesburo-distant, off the beaten path, might also be considered Ouachitas.

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Maybe they are considering more in the future, but I always got the impression those four are the only ones. I got the impression the Ft Smith is going to cover the Ouachita/Ozark section. The Pine Bluff one covers the delta region. The Jonesboro one covers Crowley's Ridge. And the Little Rock one will cover the river valley. I guess I'm biased but it just seems to me that the Ouachita and Ozark region are sorta being overlooked.

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Maybe they are considering more in the future, but I always got the impression those four are the only ones.  I got the impression the Ft Smith is going to cover the Ouachita/Ozark section.  The Pine Bluff one covers the delta region.  The Jonesboro one covers Crowley's Ridge.  And the Little Rock one will cover the river valley.  I guess I'm biased but it just seems to me that the Ouachita and Ozark region are sorta being overlooked.

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I'm not sure if that's right. The Ft. Smith one is explicitly called the River Valley Nature Center. The Little Rock is just Central Arkansas. But I wouldn't be surprised if the FT Smith one coves the Ouachitas and Ozarks. That would be pretty stupid to not have nature centers for the two most prominent features of state.

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I'm not sure if that's right.  The Ft. Smith one is explicitly called the River Valley Nature Center.  The Little Rock is just Central Arkansas.  But I wouldn't be surprised if the FT Smith one coves the Ouachitas and Ozarks.  That would be pretty stupid to not have nature centers for the two most prominent features of state.

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You could be right, it's been a long time since I've seen any info on this. Maybe I am misremembering.

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Article about the Crowley's Ridge Nature Center. Apparently it's pretty innovative:

home : archives Next Story - Click Here

Printable Version

Delta New Nature Center Dedicated at Jonesboro

By Craig Ogilvie, travel writer

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

JONESBORO -- Gov. Mike Huckabee and a host of local and state dignitaries participated in the formal unveiling of the new Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center on Aug. 25. It is the second of four such Arkansas Game and Fish educational facilities planned in the state.

Exhibits include a photo of the Ridge made from space.

Exhibits include a photo of the Ridge made from space.

The Jonesboro center was named in honor of Forrest Wood, Arkansas's bass boat manufacturing pioneer and current chairman of the state Game and Fish Commission. It covers some 160 acres, including about 100 acres of woodlands.

The $4.3 million project includes exhibits on the origins and history of the ridge, topographical models, an animated two-story diorama, and a 23-foot-long satellite photo of the unique delta landscape. Other displays feature a wildlife kiosk, prehistoric artifacts, aquarium, duck hunting adventure, and special turkey, deer, bear and red wolf exhibits.

The crescent-shaped landform known as Crowley's Ridge was created by water, wind and other natural forces over millions of years. It has been proclaimed as one of the great geological oddities of North America and is the only "highlands" in the eastern Arkansas delta.

"The Ridge has many stories and differs greatly from its beginnings in southeastern Missouri to its end at Helena," director Jodi Morris said. "The center strives to embrace all sections of the ridge, using dioramas, motion pictures, computerized simulators, nature trails and more."

Even before entering the 17,000-sq.-ft. building, visitors cross a bridged stream populated with native aquatic species. Assorted plantings will also attract butterflies and birds to the grounds. A massive diorama of the ridge and its wildlife welcomes visitors inside. Sounds of distant thunder warn that rain is near and the resulting runoff illustrates how natural forces carved the ridge and delta. The diorama may be viewed from two levels of the facility.

A high-definition movie on the history and characteristics of the land is a "must-see" part of the center. Beware of the realistic recreation of the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquake, depicted in the film, became the tremors reach every seat in the theater. A $900,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration helped with many of the innovative exhibits, including a computerized "fly-over" of the entire ridge country. The project received the grant because of its close proximity to Crowley's Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway.

Visitors may experience a rain storm without getting wet.

Visitors may experience a rain storm without getting wet.

In addition, the facility has a wildlife viewing room (overlooking bird feeders and a wooded valley), a meeting room, natural prairie preserve, small lake with nature trail and an observation tower (reached by elevator) that provides an overview of the tree-covered ridge and delta farmlands. The center is just south of Craighead Forest City Park and a new nature trail connects the two attractions.

The Arkansas Game and Fish nature projects were made possible by the 1996 voter-approved Amendment 75 conservation tax. The Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center opened in Pine Bluff in 2001. Others will be located in Fort Smith and in the central Arkansas area.

The Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center is located off Lawson Road, between Ark. 141 and Ark. 1, south of Jonesboro. No admission is charged and the facilities are open daily, except Mondays.

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That's sounds pretty nice. I thought the Pine Bluff one was nice but it sounds like maybe some of the newer ones will have a little more to them. Now they just need to put one in Hot Springs for the Ouachita region and one in northwest Arkansas for the Ozark region.

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I hadn't paid that close attention to some of the names of the centers.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center

Now there's a name for you. What's the L stand for lumber?

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I hadn't paid that close attention to some of the names of the centers.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center

Now there's a name for you. What's the L stand for lumber?

Forrest L. Wood is the founder of Ranger Boats. Also his name is attached to the FLW Tour.

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The Nature Center in Fort Smith opened up the other day.

I'll have some pics later.

Cool, any idea what area it opened at? I don't recall seeing any construction when I was down there earlier in the year taking pics. Maybe I'll have to go visit again, go see the 'Ozarks' down in Ft Smith.

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Cool, any idea what area it opened at? I don't recall seeing any construction when I was down there earlier in the year taking pics. Maybe I'll have to go visit again, go see the 'Ozarks' down in Ft Smith.

In all fairness, instead of "Ozarks" they chose "Arkansas River Valley" as the region Ft Smith represented.

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In all fairness, instead of "Ozarks" they chose "Arkansas River Valley" as the region Ft Smith represented.

Really? I thought that was going to be Little Rock's theme. What are they going to be then the Ouachitas? The Rover Valley does make sense for Ft Smith. But then I guess that means the Ozarks aren't represented by any nature center? Odd considering it's one of the most well known natural areas in the state.

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Really? I thought that was going to be Little Rock's theme. What are they going to be then the Ouachitas? The Rover Valley does make sense for Ft Smith. But then I guess that means the Ozarks aren't represented by any nature center? Odd considering it's one of the most well known natural areas in the state.

Technically, the "Arkansas River Valley" geographic region of Arkansas follows the river from the OK border to roughly Conway before it stops. Though there are hills and bluffs in Little Rock along the River coming from the West until you get downtown, the breaks before that somehow make it so that it isn't included in the Arkansas River Valley region. The Little Rock center is just called "Central Arkansas" which isn't really a geographic region. It is kind of the confluence of 4 regions, though.

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Technically, the "Arkansas River Valley" geographic region of Arkansas follows the river from the OK border to roughly Conway before it stops. Though there are hills and bluffs in Little Rock along the River coming from the West until you get downtown, the breaks before that somehow make it so that it isn't included in the Arkansas River Valley region. The Little Rock center is just called "Central Arkansas" which isn't really a geographic region. It is kind of the confluence of 4 regions, though.

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So there really ins't a nature center that focuses on the Ozarks or the Ouachitas? Seems pretty odd because it's those two areas in the state that makes me think about nature. Here's my vote on how we fix that. At some point build two more nature centers. One in Hot Springs to represent the Ouacitas and one in NWA to represent the Ozarks. :D

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So there really ins't a nature center that focuses on the Ozarks or the Ouachitas? Seems pretty odd because it's those two areas in the state that makes me think about nature. Here's my vote on how we fix that. At some point build two more nature centers. One in Hot Springs to represent the Ouacitas and one in NWA to represent the Ozarks. :D

I agree, I think that would be a good idea. Of course, I thought the whole nature center premise was kind of a waste of money in the first place.

The Ozarks and Delta are clearly the most identifiable regions in AR, in my opinion.

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