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Arkansas Places – Arkansas Images
Woolly Hollow State Park
See the photos in our Woolly Hollow Gallery
Located in the rolling hills just to the south of the Ozarks and 50 miles north of Little Rock, the 370 acre Wooly Hollow area was established as a state park in 1973.
William Riley Woolly and his family migrated from Waynesboro, Tennessee in 1851, settling on land that came to be known as Woolly Hollow in Faulkner County, Arkansas. In 1882, a son, Martin Alfred Woolly, built a one room log home on land that he had homesteaded in 1859. Constructed of logs more than a foot thick and eighteen feet long, the cabin was originally located less than a mile southwest of the park. In 1975, it was moved to its present site and restored.
The park includes a 40 acre reservoir, Lake Bennett, named after the first director of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). It was constructed by the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) as the first SCS watershed project built for scientific studies of the effect of run-off, silt and erosion control in a specific watershed. Upon completion in 1935, it was deeded to Faulkner County. The lake, with clear water and a sandy beach is popular for water recreation, such as swimming and fishing. Canoes, pedal boats, and fishing boats -- with or without motors -- are available for rent. A snack bar, gift shop, and bathrooms with showers are located near the beach area. Hot and cold sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee, snowcones and ice cream are available at the snack bar.
As a result of the studies partially developed at Woolly Hollow under the supervision of Dr. Hugh Bennett, the first director of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, a new philosophy of land management introduced practices such as strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, and scientific planting of vegetation and trees. Bennett was considered the authority of his time regarding conservation issues. Suffering from widespread erosion and unemployment during the Great Depression, Arkansas was eager to participate in new federal projects like the WPA and the Soil Conservation Service. Depression-era check dams—staircase-like structures that slow erosion and the deposition of sediments into the lake—are still visible at the park.
Located near the town of Centerville, the area was called Centerville Park while owned by Faulkner County.
The park is located just off the main route from Little Rock to attractions such as Eureka Springs, Branson, and the Buffalo National River.
Wooly Hollow has 30 camping sites. Two handicap accessible water front sites have 50 amp electrical service and water. Eighteen more have 30 amp service and water, four water front sites and with the rest having a view of the water. The remaining ten sites, suitable for tent camping, are on the water front with no hookups. Significant improvements in the campground have been made, funded by Arkansas's 1/8¢ conservation tax. Even with the improvements, many camping sites in this park will be difficult for campers with large rigs (see big rig review).
Hiking - Huckleberry Trail is 3 1/2 miles long and is rated as easy to moderate. We visited Woolly Hollow on November 4th, 2007 to hike the trail. It was originally constructed in the mid-1930s by the CCC and was restored in 1981 by the Youth Conservation Core (YCC). It is generally a narrow trail and didn't appear to have been heavily travelled. The park's web site also says (on June 9, 2008) that the trail crosses Lake Bennett's earthen dam. That may have been true at one time, but, if so, it's been a quite some time. The dam is completely overgrown with vegetation.
Directions - Take Exit #125 off I-40 at Conway and travel 12 miles north on U.S. 65, then go six miles east on Ark. 285 to the park.
Contact information:Woolly Hollow State Park
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From the park web site:
Nestled in the Ozark foothills, this state park is a serene getaway overlooking lovely Lake Bennett, 40-acres for fishing and swimming at the park's swimming beach area.A snack bar and bathhouse with hot showers are located near the swim beach. Park facilities also include 30 campsites (two Class A, 18 Class B, and 10 Class D without hookups), a picnic area, standard pavilion, gift shop and hiking trail. A launch ramp is located on Lake Bennett. The park also offers canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, fishing boats and motors for rent. [Anglers will need to bring bait and fishing supplies.] Woolly Cabin, the log home of the area's first settlers, offers a historic perspective to this peaceful hollow.