Historic Structure at State Park Receives Repairs

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism will provide updates on the Lake Bennett Watershed project at Woolly Hollow State Park in Greenbrier on Thursday, November 8, 2018. The 10:30 a.m. media event will highlight the history and future of the dam that created the lake approximately 80 years ago. The 35-foot high earthen and masonry rock core Lake Bennett dam was constructed circa 1934–1939. During a record rainfall event on April 30, 2017, floodwaters eroded areas in the downstream face of the structure, which created several large holes. While the dam is still fully functioning, its downstream slope had to be repaired. A USDA NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) funded project is currently underway rebuilding the back slope of the dam to a stable and pre-disaster condition. Construction work on this project will be completed in approximately two weeks. Lake Bennett was the first United States Soil Conservation Service (USCS) watershed project in the country and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. It was named in honor of Dr. Hugh Bennett, the first USCS director. The lake was originally built to study the environmental effects of water run-off, siltation, and erosion control from a specific watershed. Principles tested within the Lake Bennett Watershed laid the foundation for soil conservation practices considered common today. Strip cropping, terracing, crop rotation, and planting soil-retaining vegetation are now soil protection methods used nationwide. The lake and surrounding park lands were operated as Centerville County Park until August 1973 when it was transferred to the State of Arkansas to create Woolly Hollow State Park. Today, Lake Bennett provides visitors with a wonderful place for fishing, boating, and swimming. It also offers a launch ramp with canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and fishing boats for rent. Woolly Hollow has 30 AAA campsites, 10 tent sites, and a bathhouse for hot showers. The 9.4-mile Enders Fault Trail is a premier destination for mountain biking enthusiasts and more trails are being planned. Additionally, a new visitor’s center has opened and includes a paved trail to the Woolly Cabin, an original 1882 one-room family homestead. The following link gives a brief overview of Lake Bennett along with historical, damage, and repair photos. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/ar/about/History+of+Arkansas+NRCS/ A time lapse video from one day on the site is located here: https://youtu.be/caUYV4KFJHs For more information please contact: Reginald Jackson USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Public Affairs Specialist [email protected] (501) 301-3133.

About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark and 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

The state parks have 1,800 camp sites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.