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story.lead_photo.caption Eagle Hollow Cave at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is one of the landmarks of the Beaver Lake Aqua Trail. The letter “G” on shore at right corresponds to the same letter on the aqua-trail map. - Photo by Flip Putthoff

New seasons for getting outdoors open one after another in September, and they don't all have to do with hunting. With Labor Day behind us, prime time for boating, hiking and camping are here.

New seasons for getting outdoors open one after another in September, and they don't all have to do with hunting. With Labor Day behind us, prime time for boating, hiking and camping are here.

Get out online

The online magazine, Get Out in the Ozarks, a publication of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, features stories and information about all kinds of outdoor activities, from fishing and hunting to bird watching, paddling and hiking.

See it at www.getoutintheozarks.com.

Source: Staff report

On the hunting front, dove season got it all started Saturday. Bowhunters are practicing their shooting for the long archery deer season that runs Sept. 23-Feb. 28. Got an an appetite for a plate of fried squirrel? Squirrel season is open and runs through Feb. 28.

There's no opening day for boating season, but there seems to be a closing date, at least on Beaver Lake, and that is Labor Day. Seems a lot of folks banish their boats to the garage after the holiday and don't get back to the water until Memorial Day.

That's too bad, because the best boating of the year is in the next two months. Fall color will appear. Temperatures will be mild. The water should be warm enough for swimming, skiing and tubing at least through September.

This is a fine month to travel the Beaver Lake Aqua Trail, a route to be explored by boat. The water trail visits 19 landmarks from the headwaters of the reservoir to the dam. Highlights include natural and mad-made sights, such as bluffs, glades and remnants of the old Monte Ne resort. There's even a cave to see from the water in the Van Winkle Hollow arm of Beaver.

Pick up a map of the aqua trail at the Army Corps of Engineers office, 2260 N. Second St. in Rogers. Marinas and chambers of commerce may also have maps. We've not found a map online.

Kayaking is all the rage, and the Van Winkle Hollow arm is one of the prettiest areas at Beaver for paddling. A good launch spot is at the end of Paige Sawmill Road east of the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area visitor center. Take Arkansas 12 east a mile from the visitor center, turn north on Rambo Road and follow it to Paige Sawmill Road. The lake is one-quarter mile down this gravel road.

This is where the park starts its kayaking classes and tours. Much of the arm is in the 12,000-acre state park and offers scenic paddling.

Autumn is hiking time and our region is blessed with trails of a hundred yards to a hundred miles or more. One hiking spot that gets overlooked is the Beaver Lake nursery pond, a 35-acre oval of water where the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission raises fish.

It's more of a walk than a hike of exactly a mile around the pond. There are nice views of the lake. All kinds of ducks and migratory birds can be seen on the pond. Game and Fish is currently raising crappie in the pond. They'll be released into the lake later this fall.

The Beaver Lake nursery pond is at the end of Key Road, south of Arkansas 12 east of Rogers.

It's too darned hot for a campfire during summer, but cooler fall weather takes care of that. Campground crowds thin out in autumn, especially during the week. Float a river for canoe camping or take a backpack trip and you may have the stream or trail all to yourself.

It's still summer, but September brings on thoughts of getting out there in the fall.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at fputthoff@nwadg.com or on Twitter @NWAFlip.

Sports on 09/05/2017

Print Headline: Seasons in autumn open as summer closes

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