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Natural News

Leisure Activity Perfect for Natural Areas

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, April 27, 2017

Traditionally, public usage of our System of Natural Areas has included activities like bird watching, hiking, photography, paddling, fishing, swimming, and hunting. However, a new activity, perfectly suited to our natural areas, has become popular amongst outdoors enthusiasts – hammocking.

If you are a Millennial, born between 1981 and 2001, then you probably know what hammocking is. If not, then the term might be something you haven’t heard of and certainly didn’t think was a verb.

What is hammocking?

Simply put, hammocking is an activity that involves taking a hammock somewhere, setting it up, and lounging for an indeterminate period of time.

If your idea of a hammock is the woven net/rope thing with a wooden slider bar at each end, permanently set up in your yard, and which you easily fall out of, then “hammocking” probably doesn’t make much sense to you. Hammocks have evolved significantly since the net/rope structure that many of us recognize from popular culture. (image left, photo by Tina Marie, modified with red X)

The hammocks that are being used for “hammocking” are made of a lightweight, but sturdy woven or solid material, like nylon (see photo below). Many hammocks can support up to 400 lbs. of weight, yet fold up to a size smaller than a water bottle and fit in a convenient carry bag. Hammocks come in single and double sizes (fits one or two people) and in various color combinations. You can even purchase insect netting, water repellent covers, and accessory packs to hold your book, water bottle, flashlight, etc.

What makes hammocking so suitable to natural areas?

•Hammocking is a great fit for natural areas because if done properly, it is a low-impact activity. A hammock hangs in the air, secured between two straps, creating no lasting impression on the ground below.

•Tree-friendly straps, made out of wide webbing that goes around the tree’s circumference without cutting into the bark, can be purchased wherever hammocks are sold. This fits with the “Leave No Trace” practices that are followed at our natural areas.

•Minimal supplies are needed to participate in hammocking because today’s hammocks are portable and easily fit into a backpack. You can enjoy nature by truly immersing yourself in it – just hanging out in the great outdoors.

Thumbnail photo, photo above, and large photo: Destiny Ross hammocking at Devil's Eyebrow Natural Area, photo by Sydney Bowman.




































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