LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Elk are one of the largest members of the deer family in North America and many of us associate this animal with western states. However, the eastern elk was a native of the Natural State. Unfortunately, this subspecies disappeared from our state after 1840 and for almost one hundred years, a bugling elk could not be heard throughout the hills of Arkansas. Between 1981 and 1985, elk were re-introduced to the Buffalo River area, and have become one of Arkansas’ most successful re-establishment programs. Don't miss the opportunity to see elk in their natural habitat along Arkansas Highways 43 and 21 in Boxley Valley. You'll have greater success at dawn and dusk when the elk frequent the grassy fields along the highways. Be alert! It is common for elk to cross highways. Today, an elk herd of about 450 animals makes its home along the Buffalo National River. To learn more about this animals' recovery, biology and history, check out the Elk Education Center in Ponca. You and your students will find exhibits and meeting space to assist you as you delve into the world of Arkansas elk as well as the other flora and fauna of the Ozark Mountains. Stop by for the latest sightings and area information, or just to relax and enjoy the exhibits and activities for all ages. Relax in rustic log rockers or benches on a shady wraparound deck overlooking Ponca Creek while observing some of the area's flora and fauna. A lazy trail along the creek offers a closer look, while nearby picnic tables, covered pavilion and large grassy area provide room for fun and games. For an educational and fun souvenir, shop our gift corner for books, videos, shirts and more. Hunting and fishing licenses also are available. The center is within easy access to some exceptional camping, canoeing, swimming and fishing on the Buffalo National River, along with some of the finest hiking trails in the state. Cabin and canoe rentals are available in the area through private sources. The office is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, with the exception of holidays. They are open 7 days a week during October.
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