Monday, December 1, 2014

Russellville Arkansas

We crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas and headed west on US49. This is a very nice two lane highway with minimal traffic. We wandered around Arkansas moving toward our destination, the Old Post Corps of Engineers Park in Russellville, Arkansas. 

Russellville is a town of about 30,000 established in 1870.  It has seen several "boom times".  In the early 1870s the railroad established a presence there and the population exploded. It's chief product was timber, farming and cotton, but with the coming of the railroad, coal became the principal product. In the early 1900s Arkansas Tech University was established and provided much needed higher education to the area. The next big event was in 1956 with the building of Interstate 40 adjacent to the city.  Besides offering people the opportunity to visit and establish residency in this quaint city, it also offered  jobs and prosperity. In 1965, the Corps of Engineers completed the dam near the Arkansas River crossing. This dam created Lake Dardanelle which brought tourism, boaters, fishermen and campers. The lock system created with the completion of the dam allows navigation of the Arkansas River, which brings in 1 to 2 billion dollars of trade to the State of Arkansas annually. In 1970 the State's only Nuclear Power Plant was constructed just outside the City on Lake Dardanelle, bringing more jobs and people to the area.

Adjacent to the Lock and Dam is the Visitor Center. This area of Arkansas is known for it's large population of Bald Eagles. The visitor's center has a wonderful display of these beautiful birds. The visitor center is a short walk from the campground.

This wonderful park sits on the shores of the Arkansas River, contains 37 campsites and numerous hiking opportunities. There are tennis courts, a baseball diamond, frisbee golf and many other amenities. Our site was right on the river.

In the foreground, just past the American Flag, you can see one of the tugs moving a series of barges down the Arkansas River. Traffic up and down stream bring 1-2 billion dollars to the State's economy. There were about 10 barges per day while we were there.

Constructed in 1965, this lock and dam provides electrical power for the area and created Lake Dardanelle, a major reservoir on the Arkansas River. The lake, encompassing more than 40,000 acres provides many recreational activities and includes a State Park along it's shores.

Becoming more and more popular is frisbee golf. Here we see one of the "holes". A frisbee is tossed from the "Tee" seen here between two of the trees at the bottom of the hill. The frisbee is tossed until landing in the "hole". It provides a lot of exercise and is more difficult than you'd imagine. It's a lot of fun though.

Here's a view from near the visitor's center looking south toward the Arkansas River. I came up here with Jasmine to watch several barges and boats go through the lock.

This area saw some action during the Civil War when Confederate troops wanted to test the taking of the Arkansas River for navigation purposes. They were rebuffed by the Northern troops. This is one of the many hiking trails in the area.

We drove through Russellville and dropped down to the town of Dardanelle. From there it's a beautiful and leisurely drive around Lake Dardanelle. We found the State Park and several lesser parks scattered along the banks of the lake.

Near the northwest section of the Lake, you can see the State's lone nuclear power plant. 
I thought this picture depicts the phrase, "Picture Perfect". This would make an excellent puzzle.

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