For those who enjoy the great outdoors, residents and visitors to Centerton in Arkansas are in a fortunate position to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without having to travel very far. The Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area lies in Benton County and its 12,056-acres also covers parts of surrounding counties including Carroll and Madison. It is located just south of Beaver Lake within the southern western part of the Ozarks in the Boston Mountains and was bought in the late 1970’s thanks to the concerted efforts of Arkansas’ Northwest banks. This was after the land was initially offered to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at $350/acre but they did not have adequate funds to complete the purchase so a California firm made an offer in 1978 which went to escrow. However, it transpired that their intention was to develop the land into vacation homes which local residents and conservationists were quick to oppose so this was eventually vetoed and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism stepped in instead, with the financial assistance of local financial organizations.
The original land was purchased by a local resident – Roscoe c Hobbs – in the early 20th century and it was from him that the state park received its name. Hobbs was a manger with the Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad but had previously founded Hobbs-Western Tie Company from which he made his fortune. It was his love of nature and appreciation of the hardwoods indigenous to the region that prompted him to use his vast fortune to buy acres and acres of undeveloped forest, 320 acres of which he donated to the state in 1962 to form Withrow Springs State Park in the south of the state. Upon his death, his will stated that his heirs could only sell any land inherited if the state were given first option to purchase it, which finally happened in 1979. Nowadays, the park is open all year round and has a lot to offer visitors whatever their recreational interests including over thirty miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding as well as a shooting range, numerous picnic areas and various camp sites and other facilities for those staying in the area.
If you are an experienced camper, you may find that the camp sites which are somewhat primitive in comparison to other state parks around the country and there are no cabins or lodge just the five campsites that can be found along the Pigeon Roost Trail. Most of these are fairly isolated so they are ideal for those who really want to get away from it all, I particular if you want to leave all the mod cons of the 21st century behind and get back to basics! Some of these overlook Beaver Lake however the beautiful views may go some way to compensating for the somewhat quaint facilities on offer but this is certainly a unique camping experience that will allow you to get away fro civilization and commune with nature instead.