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Northeast Jonesboro
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Northeast Travel 10

Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center – Jonesboro


Arkansas is divided into six geographical regions – the smallest and perhaps most interesting is Crowley’s Ridge, which runs 150 miles from Missouri to Helena, Arkansas.

Crowley’s Ridge is almost like an island that appears to rise out of the delta. It is clearly visible with an average height above the delta of about 300 feet and varies between half a mile and 12-miles in width along its length.

crowley's ridge

The ridge is named after Benjamin Crowley. Crowley was a European-American settler from Virginia who came to the area around 1820 after he received a land grant of 160 acres for his service in the War of 1812. He arrived to find that the land he had been granted had sunk during the New Madrid Earthquakes which took place in late 1811 and early 1812.

Crowley and his family settled in the area now known as Greene County. Word traveled fast to his family back in Kentucky that affordable farm land was available and the area started to grow in leaps in bounds.

As settlers came upon Crowley’s Ridge it was a welcome sight. The delta bottomland was wet and swampy and difficult to travel. The Ridge was high and dry and full of forest similar to what they were used to in Tennessee and Kentucky. Many built their settlements on the Ridge while making their living off of the fertile soil of the bottomland down below.

Crowley's Ridge Sign

The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro was built after Arkansas voters passed a 1/8th cent Conservation Sales Tax in 1996. The center aims to tell the story of the unique ridge that was such welcome relief to so many settlers.

Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is a popular destination for school groups, scouting groups and families. Visitors can learn about the Ridge through a 16-minute long film in their experience enhanced theater. There is real fog, rain and even shaking to simulate the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1911 and 1912. The exhibit space contains a variety of displays about the plants and animals that thrive in the region. There is also a display that shows how rainfall runoff and other environmental factors are constantly changing the shape of the Ridge.

Crowley's Display

Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center borders the Craighead Forest Park. The grounds surrounding the center offer a beautiful glimpse into what makes the Ridge so unique and interesting. Visitors can explore the wooded trails that surround the 2.5-acre pond. There is also a large prairie, over 100 acres of woodland and several miles of hiking trails.


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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

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10 responses to “Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center – Jonesboro”

  1. […] the West Gulf Coastal Plain, and the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain. Depending on the source, Crowley’s Ridge is sometimes included as a sixth region. Because of this natural diversity, Arkansas is a […]

  2. […] Crowley’s Ridge State Park — Crowley’s Ridge State Park occupies the former homestead of Benjamin Crowley, whose family first settled this area. They have a great swim beach and a variety of fun family activities. […]

  3. […] Ready to run? How about a walk? The park is surrounded by a 2.9-mile paved trail perfect for either activity. The paved trail is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs (in most areas) and includes several fitness stations. Visitors can explore a trail that circles the lake as well as several forest trails, three that lead to the Forest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.  […]

  4. […] This multiuse park has many amenities and is well-loved and well-utilized by the locals. The park’s trail system contains approximately 20 miles of multi-use trails, including three connected to the nearby Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. […]

  5. […] Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is on the southern edge of Jonesboro […]

  6. […] the day at Lake Frierson State Park or Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center and work up an appetite before you grab a bite to eat. If you are camping and need a few […]

  7. […] Forrest L Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is a popular destination for school groups, scouting groups and families. The center offers displays to learn about Arkansas wildlife, hiking trails, and many programs to encourage Arkansans to take advantage of our wonderful outdoor environment. […]

  8. […] Forrest L Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center | Jonesboro […]

  9. […] Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center – Jonesboro […]

  10. […] Crowley’s Ridge, the park’s namesake, is not your typical mountain range or valley but a geologic wonder. This fascinating ridge dating back to the Pleistocene era stands out dramatically in the otherwise flat terrain of eastern Arkansas. Crowley’s Ridge was formed when the last Ice Age glaciers receded and left behind a unique landform. […]

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