A new earthquake-fueled water trail is coming to Northeast Arkansas

Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:10 PM CDT
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POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A new paddling adventure is making its way to an area in Northeast Arkansas.

Fueled by earthquakes, this paddling adventure has been 208 years in the making.

“It hasn’t really been 200 years to make the trail, but it has been a long process to get this trail in place,” said Kirsten Bartlow, the Arkansas Game and Fish’s watchable wildlife coordinator.

The new St. Francis Sunken Lands Water Trail is found in Poinsett County.

The extreme seismic activity during the New Madrid 1811-12 earthquakes caused the ground along the St. Francis River to drop between 6 to 8 feet, making the trail possible.

The new water trail makes its way through 10 miles of Sunken Lands.

With the water relatively calm, paddling is possible both upstream and downstream.

Different kinds of fishing can also be done along the trail.

“Bass, crappie, bream, and catfish all make excellent targets in backwater portions of the river, and the area was once known for trophy-quality alligator gar fishing,” says Bartlow.

This particular trail has been in the works for a long time, but Bartlow credits Jessica Homan, St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area biologist, and the St. Francis Lake Association for pushing the project across the goal line.

"They were the real cheerleaders on this and Jessica did a lot of on-the-ground legwork to make it happen," Bartlow said. "They've wanted to bring more people and attention to their area and have been a big part of its creation."

To follow the correct trail, enthusiasts must download an app on their smartphone to access a unique georeferenced map, which will keep paddlers on the right path.

To learn more about the trail and to download the georeferenced map, visit the AGFC’s website.

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