One of the primary purposes of the Arkansas River Trail is to showcase the region’s natural beauty and diversity to visitors. To help educate passers-by about what they see along the trail, nearby nature centers offer information, resources and a variety of programs.
The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is a 16,232 square foot center that overlooks the river and focuses on the vast assortment of outdoor recreational opportunities offered by Arkansas’s fish and wildlife resources. The center’s exhibits highlight the role of fish and wildlife management, as well as many of the projects conducted throughout the history of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Visitors to the center can often spot water turtles, butterflies and migrating pelicans, and the grounds of the center include beds of native plants found throughout the state. The facility’s main building includes an exhibit hall, aquariums, gift shop, theater and special educational programs.
The Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor Center overlooks the river below and includes various exhibits, multimedia programs, a meeting room and gift shop. Outside the center, visitors can find a Ouachita Trail entrance that will guide them to Ft. Smith and finally on to Oklahoma. The park itself also offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities and experiences including hiking trails and mountain bike trails, canoe and boat tours, a playground, a fishing point, picnic sites, pavilions, launch ramps and the 71-acre Arkansas Arboretum.
The William E. “Bill” Clark Presidential Park Wetlands involves the restoration of 13 acres of wetlands along the Arkansas River adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock. The Wetlands is designed to showcase wildlife and river life in a restored wetlands habitat for the education and enjoyment of millions of national and international visitors to the Clinton Presidential Park and Library. The Wetlands is the result of collaboration among The City of Little Rock, Audubon Arkansas, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the Williams J. Clinton Foundation and the City Parks Conservancy.