Visiting a Natural Area

 

Since 1973, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) has been working to conserve Arkansas’s natural landscape, protecting the best of the last remaining vestiges of the state's natural communities. Through our System of Natural Areas, a network of 71 sites throughout the state, lands are managed for varying levels of public usage and site development varies widely. Within reason, efforts are made to provide save opportunities for moderate, low-impact public use such as hiking, bird watching, photography, scientific research, hunting, and education. Below is a partial list of our natural areas, categorized by available hiking trails and public hunting sites. For a complete list of our natural areas, please go to our Find a Natural Area page.


 


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) near Cherokee Prairie Natural Area

Natural areas are great places to experience a wilder version of Arkansas. Here are the general guidelines for public use which apply to all natural areas:

  • Travel is limited to foot traffic to minimize erosion and disturbance to sensitive areas. Some areas or features within areas are not directly accessible by road and may require a significant hike. Trails and parking are not available at all areas and may be very limited at some.
  • The collection and/or removal of plants (including fruits, nuts, or edible plant parts), animals, fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material alive or dead is prohibited. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by ANHC.
  • Natural area boundaries are posted. Adjacent private landowners should always be consulted for permission before crossing private lands.
  • Camping and campfires are not allowed. Pets are discouraged but if present, should be under their owner’s control.

Trails

When appropriate, natural areas can accommodate moderate, low-impact public use. Trails, interpretive panels, cell phone audio tours, and parking lots increase accessibility and educational opportunities. Of our 71 natural areas, 22 have hiking and/or water trails:

DEVELOPED Trails

nATURAL Trails

Public Hunting Land in Arkansas

Specific forms of hunting are allowed on some natural areas. A cooperative agreement between ANHC and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) incorporated certain natural areas into AGFC's Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. Every effort has been made by AGFC to provide maximum opportunity, maintain safety, protect healthy wildlife populations, and adhere to the conservation values inherent to ANHC's System of Natural Areas. Natural areas that are also considered AGFC WMAs will receive the same level of attention from AGFC enforcement staff as do other WMAs. Consequently, all applicable hunting regulations will be enforced on natural areas where hunting is allowed. Please make yourself aware of current AGFC hunting regulations before visiting a natural area. You can download a PDF of the current Arkansas Hunting Guidebook here.

Below is a list of natural areas where hunting is permitted. Some natural areas have limited access, and it is the hunter's responsibility to obtain permission to access adjacent private landowner's property. Follow the natural area links below for directions and boundary and county locator maps. Please follow the WMA links (listed under each natural area) for specific hunting regulations, as the types of hunting allowed on each natural area varies. If you need further assistance, please contact us at 501-324-9619 or [email protected] .

Feral hogs have become a threat to land across the state, including properties within the System of Natural Areas. If you are interested in hunting feral hogs on natural areas, AGFC has developed special regulations for land in the WMA system. Visit the AGFC website for that information.