by Dustin Jayroe | Photos courtesy of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
New year, new you, same Arkansas. This month marks another annual turn of the page, but this one is a little more significant than most. This year celebrates not only a change in date but also a change in decade. We have officially arrived in what will be known as the new 20s, replacing the “roaring,” economically prosperous decennary of last century.
With this, many will begin devising and (maybe) adhering to a list of goals set forth to begin the year anew: New Year’s Resolutions. The most popular of these ambitions always revolve around looking better; diets and gym memberships will make annual peaks, yet again. But so often such lofty targets are not met and in discouragement, we drop them by the wayside. Shake things up a little this year, and come up with a resolution list that is fun and adventurous, and surely much more likely to be accomplished.
The Natural State awaits.
Take a trip with the whole family to one of Arkansas’ many outdoor destinations for a peaceful day on the water. Meandering the bends of one of our rivers will supply beautiful scenery and memories that will last a lifetime. Pack a lunch, stock a cooler with drinks and set sail on a day spent with the ones you love most. Make it even more fun by dressing in bathing suits so you can make rest stops and swim at your leisure.
No canoe? No kayak? No problem. Make it a trip to the Buffalo National River where one of the park’s outfitters can supply you with a rental for anything that you need. While you’re there, visit AGFC’s Elk Education Center in Ponca. Visit buffaloriver.org to plan a trip to the Buffalo.
A night spent outside in a tent is something that everyone should experience, at least once. And these days, there are enough supplies and accessories available that make it a far less primitive adventure than it once was. Luxuriously spacious tents, sleeping options and cookware are available at any of Arkansas’ outdoor shops and outfitters, making camping much more accessible and comfortable than ever before, while still accomplishing its goal — to enjoy a calm getaway and escape life’s stressful hustles and bustles.
Pack up some food and drinks, bring a portable grill, and have a remote, backyard-like experience within the trees or alongside one of our many lakes. Kick it up a notch by bringing some fishing gear and catching dinner yourself, like our ancestors once did. Visit arkansasstateparks.com camping desinations.
Take a Hike
The state of Arkansas offers some of the best hiking trails to trek in the entire country. No matter the intentions — as serious as hiking boots and sticks, or as lax as tennis shoes and t-shirts — the outdoor oasis is yours to enjoy on your terms.
Visit Yellville and make the two-mile journey along Creek Bottom Trail, where you might put eyes on a white-tailed deer or any of the 137 different species of birds that inhabit the area. Afterward, make it a point to stop in the Fred Berry Conservation Education Center. Visit arkansas.com to find other hiking adventures.
Family Fishing Trip
Fishing is one of the easiest ways to involve the whole family in a fun, resourceful outdoor activity. Fortunately for us, we live in a state that is no stranger to water — with creeks, ponds, lakes and rivers well within the reach of any neighborhood.
AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program makes the activity even more accessible and memorable. From March through October, the agency stocks community fishing ponds with thousands of 13- to 15-pound channel catfish, and its rainbow trout pond stocking occurs every year from November through February.
To find the nearest community fishing destination near you, visit www.agfc.com/en/fishing.