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NWA outdoor briefs

by Flip Putthoff | November 23, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Cruise includes photo tips

Photography of bald eagles is the focus of three eagle watch pontoon boat cruises on Beaver Lake offered by Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area.

Tim Johnson, wildlife photographer and member of the Photographic Society of Northwest Arkansas, will be on board Dec. 4, Jan. 8 and Feb. 5 to offer tips on photographing bald eagles. He will discuss equipment needed to get quality photos of eagles and other birds, proper camera settings to get sharp images and good places around the region to photograph eagles.

There will also be a guide on board as usual to talk about eagles and answer questions about Beaver Lake, its wildlife and about Hobbs State Park.

Eagle watch cruises set sail each Saturday and Sunday through February at 3 p.m. from Rocky Branch Marina. Some weekday cruises have been scheduled for the holidays. Cost is $15 plus tax for adults and $7.50 for children age 6-12. Make reservations and prepay by calling the visitor center at 479-789-5000 or stop by the center one-quarter mile east of Arkansas 12 and War Eagle Road.

Range gets upgrades

Improvements have been added to the archery range at the J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Ozark Highlands Nature Center in Springdale.

In addition to the 3-D game animal targets, the range now has circular bull's eye style field targets. There are four field targets with ranges from 10 to 40 yards.

Stairs have been added to the boardwalk along the 3-D course for easier access to targets when shooters retrieve their arrows. Hooks for shooters to hang their bows when retrieving arrows have been added.

There is no cost to shoot at the range. It is open sunrise to sunset Tuesday through Sunday. Only field points are allowed. No broadheads.

Park goes green

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area will host Green Friday the day after Thanksgiving.

The day will feature nature exhibits, nature craft making and guided hikes at the start of each hour on the Ozark Plateau Trail near the visitor center. Patrons may bring their bird feeders to the event and have them cleaned while learning winter bird identification and feeding tips.

For more information call the visitor center, 479-789-5000.

Shirts celebrate Buffalo River

Buffalo National River Partners, in cooperation with Bonfire, an online merchandise store used by nonprofit organizations across the country, is offering T-shirts and sweatshirts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo National River in 2022.

Shirts feature the 50th anniversary logo created by Laura Salinas of Rogers. The artwork shows a canoe paddler passing a bluff with another person paddling a birchbark canoe.

Sales are a fundraiser for Buffalo National River Partners, which supports the cultural, recreational and educational programs at Buffalo National River. The Buffalo was designated the nation's first National River by congress in 1972.

To order merchandise, visit

River access closed

The river access at Buffalo Point along the Buffalo National River will be closed through January for improvement work.

The access and parking area, along with the nearby restroom, are closed. Other restrooms and riverside gravel bars reached through the campground are open.

The project involves building a new trail from the parking area to the Buffalo Point gravel bar, a new viewing platform and additional parking. The nearest access points are upstream at Dillard's Ferry or downstream at Rush.

The work will enhance opportunities for visitors with physical limitations and help the access withstand floods.

Fisheries plans available

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fisheries management plans for several state waterways may be viewed on the fisheries scientific reports page at

The Fisheries Division recently completed five-year management plans for Beaver and Norfork lakes and Lake Hamilton. Plans are tailored specifically for each water body and outline management goals as well as Game and Fish proposed management actions for each major sport or commercial fish species present in the lake or river.

Trails see short closures

Some trails and the shooting range at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area will close briefly during the park's permit deer hunts.

Hobbs' modern gun season is Dec. 8-12. Youth modern gun season at Hobbs is Jan. 8-9.

Loch Lomond level to fall

A drawdown at Loch Lomond in Bella Vista will begin Wednesday. The lake is forecast to fall three inches per day and four feet overall. Barring heavy rain the drawdown should be complete by Dec. 10.

The lower water level allows the lakes department to do maintenance on the spillway and boat ramps and for lakefront property owners to maintain seawalls and docks.

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