Woolly Hollow State Park
River Valley Region
River Valley Region
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.]
Canoes, pedal boats, fishing boats and motors are for rent. A launch ramp is available. (Bring bait and fishing supplies with you.) A snack bar and bathhouse with hot showers are located near the swim beach.
Woolly Cabin, the log home of the area's first settlers, offers a historic perspective to this peaceful hollow.
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.
Old-Fashioned Fun Still Found at Woolly Hollow State Park
By Kerry Kraus, travel writer
Nestled in the Ozark foothills, Arkansas's 28th state park, Woolly Hollow, includes 40-acre Lake Bennett, which is ideal for fishing and swimming. Visitors can rent canoes, pedal boats and fishing boats. The park also provides 32 campsites, picnic sites, a pavilion, a hiking trail, a snack bar and a bathhouse with hot showers. Woolly Hollow is located approximately 18 miles north of Conway via U.S. 65 and Ark. 285. For more information, including available interpretive programs and events, call (501) 679-2098.
In 1851, William Riley Woolly and his family left Tennessee to homestead in Arkansas. A few years later, William's son, Martin, joined his father and in 1882 built a sturdy, one-room cabin on the family's land, which soon became known as Woolly Hollow. Little did they know their land would someday be home a scientific project that would forever change agricultural practices.
To help illustrate pioneer life in Arkansas, the rugged structure, constructed of logs more than a foot thick and 18 feet long, was moved in the 1970s about a mile to Woolly Hollow State Park and renovated.
Today the Woolly Cabin serves as one of two focal points in the park. Historic Lake Bennett is the other. Built by the Works Project Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, it was deeded to Faulkner County upon completion in 1935. The lake was the first project in the nation intended to study the effects of water run-off and silt and erosion control from a specific watershed.
As a result of the studies, a new philosophy of land management was born. Practices such as strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, and scientific planting of vegetation and trees -- all commonplace today -- were developed. The lake was named for Dr. Hugh Bennett, the first director of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, who is also known as the "father of soil conservation."
While owned by Faulkner County, the area was known as Centerville Park. According to Marc Roland, superintendent of the state park, the state drew upon the land's historical roots when it took possession of the land in 1972 and named it Woolly Hollow.
Today the tranquil, small park (370 acres) is one of the most popular in the system, especially with campers. Roland said, "Our location off U.S. 65 -- which is the main route to tourist attractions such as Eureka Springs, Harrison, the Buffalo National River and Branson -- makes us a popular stop along the way. Some people are just passing through but once they get here, they enjoy it so much, they stay a few extra days."
Forty-acre Lake Bennett, with its sandy beach and clear water, has the look and feel of an old-fashioned "swimmin' hole," one that might be described in a Mark Twain novel. The lake is also a good "fishin' hole" that produces crappie, bass, bream and catfish.
Surrounding the lake is another 1935 Civilian Conservation Corps project. The three-and-a-half mile Huckleberry Trail begins at the campground bathhouse, follows the perimeter of the lake and climbs a ridge that offers views of the lake. The trail then crosses the earthen dam and weaves its way through a hardwood forest to complete the loop.
As is true throughout Arkansas's state parks system, funds from the 1/8-cent conservation sales tax approved by Arkansas voters in 1996 have helped improve the Woolly Hollow and allowed Roland to make plans for future developments.
Did you know in this state park you’ll see the “Woolly Cabin,” the hand hewn home of the area’s first settlers?
Tucked away in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in north central Arkansas is Woolly Hollow, one of Arkansas' most picturesque state parks. Driving along the entrance road overlooking the blue waters of Lake Bennett, you’ll be impressed by the quiet beauty of this scenic spot and realize you’ve discovered a special place. Designated as a state park 1973, Woolly Hollow is a peaceful setting for camping, fishing, swimming and hiking.
The park features the "Woolly Cabin," a one-room log structure erected on the Woolly family homestead in 1882 by Martin Alfred Woolly, son of William Riley Woolly, the head of a family of early pioneers who came to Arkansas in 1851. Martin Woolly took up land in this "Hollow" in 1859. And so, this area’s name became Woolly Hollow. Originally located less than a mile southwest of the park, the Woolly’s cabin was moved to its present site and restored in 1975. Often, park interpretive programs are held at the cabin.
Of a more recent historical note, clear and cool 40-acre Lake Bennett, in the heart of this 400-acre park, was named for Dr. Hugh H. Bennett, first director of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service. Constructed in 1935 by the CCC and WPA, Lake Bennett was the first SCS watershed project in the United States built for the purpose of making scientific studies of the effects of water run-off, silt and erosion control from a specific watershed.
Take Exit #125 off I-40 at Conway and travel 12 miles north on U.S. 65, then go six miles east on Arkansas 285 to the park.
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