Wildlife Management Areas in The Natural State have always been popular with hunters and anglers. Now, a different group of outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying them: those with a paddle and a canoe or kayak.
Our first “water trail” that we’re featuring in our “Trails Less Traveled” series is the one along Wattensaw Bayou in the Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area northeast of Hazen. This is actually one of the first water trails the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission mapped out and designated.
Image courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.
One of the the advantages of being on a water trail versus a hiking trail is that you can virtually go “stealth” — just floating along — without the noises sometimes made on walking a trail, and that means optimum chances of sneaking up on wildlife. That’s especially true if you camouflage the front of your boat with a few branches and what-not so that, from a distance, it just looks like debris floating down the water.
Besides being a great habitat for bald eagles, Great Blue Herons and other types of waterfowl, Wattensaw Bayou was also one of the areas where the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was spotted — but I’d say good luck with that.
Located approximately in the middle portion of this bayou is one of those “float camps” which are becoming really popular in the state. Oh, and the fishing, of course. is great: bream, crappie and catfish!
Image courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.The water trail length is roughly 7 1/2 miles and is considered a flat-water float— that is until heavy rain and high water turn it into something totally different and dangerous! Wearing a life jacket while floating is always a good idea, no matter what the water level is, though.
So join us for a trip down the bayou - ahyeee! “Trails Less Traveled: Wattensaw Bayou” will premiere on Arkansas PBS and “Exploring Arkansas” social media outlets Wednesday, June 3, at 2 p.m., including Facebook and YouTube, and on the Engage Arkansas PBS App, available for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.Want to see it — or share it — on a bigger screen? Watch AR PBS-1 in primetime on Thursday evening after “A Place to Call Home” to see the full segment on broadcast!
If you’re already planning your trip out to the bayou, don’t miss a chance to enter to win an Arkansas PBS prize pack! From now to Aug. 12, whenever you watch a segment and, then, share a photo on the Engage Arkansas PBS app, you’ll be entered to in a random drawing for an exciting collection of Arkansas PBS and “Exploring Arkansas” swag and/or experiences. Check out details and rules at myarkansaspbs.org/exploringarkansas.