White Cliffs, Arkansas

One of my favorite places in the world—one place most of you reading this blog probably have never been—is White Cliffs, Arkansas. A few miles from my grandparent’s farm, I always enjoyed exploring, searching for arrow heads, and, of course climbing the cliffs any time I visited.

Here’s a description of White Cliffs from the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (http://www.naturalheritage.com/natural-areas/white-cliffs-natural-area):

White Cliffs Natural Area, located in the Coastal Plain, occurs on a large outcrop of Annona Chalk, rising out of the Little River floodplain (now Millwood Lake) and includes a 100-foot high chalk bluff over the Little River, from which the area derives its name. A continuum of plant communities reflects a range of elevations at the site from the floodplain to the ridgetop. The area includes the largest, and least disturbed, Arkansas occurrences of chalk woodland. This community type is unusual for Arkansas as it is more typical of vegetation found on the Edwards Plateau of Texas. The area is also of historic significance as the site of a late 19th century settlement. The crumbling remains of foundations mark the locations of several structures.

White Cliffs is special for a number of reasons. First, the White Cliffs are a naturally formed geological structure. The limestone cliffs are over 250 million years old. A visitor to White Cliffs can find prehistoric fossils on almost every trip. Second, White Cliffs is the site of Native American burial mounds. The mounds can be viewed just down from the cliffs by the campgrounds close to Millwood Lake. Finally, the Cliffs area was once home to a burgeoning 19th century settlement. The settlement comprised a limestone mining company that would cut the limestone and ship the bricks down the water way. The foundations many of the settlements building are still visible on the trails around White Cliffs.

There’s lots more to say about White Cliffs, but suffice it to say that it is one of the most interesting places in the middle of nowhere that I have ever been.

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