Physical Geography

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Entries - Entry Category: Physical Geography - Starting with R

Red River

The Red River emerges from two forks in the Texas panhandle and flows east approximately 1,290 miles, forming the border between Oklahoma and Texas as well as part of the border between Texas and Arkansas. In southwestern Arkansas near Fulton (Hempstead County), the Red River takes a decidedly southern turn before entering Louisiana, where it flows southeasterly before emptying into the Mississippi River northeast of the town of Simmesport. Although only approximately 180 miles of the Red River touches upon or passes through the state of Arkansas, it has had a major impact upon the people of southwestern Arkansas from prehistoric times to the present day. Important prehistoric Caddo artifacts have been unearthed in the Red River valley, particularly the …

Rich Mountain

Rich Mountain, at 2,681 feet above sea level, ranks as Arkansas’s second-highest peak and the highest point in the U.S. Interior Highlands and the Ouachita National Forest. Its long ridge in western Arkansas (Polk County) is occupied by the fifty-four-mile Talimena Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Drive that traverses the entire ridge to extend farther westward into Oklahoma to the Winding Stair Mountains of Le Flore County. In Arkansas, the ridge begins on Arkansas Highway 88 (Skyline Drive) north of Mena (Polk County) and eventually turns into State Highway 1 on the Oklahoma side and begins just north of Talihina near Talimena State Park. At the apex of Rich Mountain is a fifty-eight-foot observation tower constructed in 1952 and used …

River Designations

aka: Wild and Scenic Rivers
aka: Arkansas Natural and Scenic Rivers System
Designation of rivers as a method of protection grew out of the environmental movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In discussions of designation, the terms “river” and “stream” are used interchangeably. At the national level, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 was landmark in recognizing that certain rivers have value and should be preserved in their free-flowing condition. This legislation served as a model for state initiatives. The federal and state models for designation concentrated on activities in the principal channel of the river, such as damming and dredging. At the time, these activities were the biggest threats to rivers. Issues such as gravel mining, minimum stream flow requirements, and property rights activism had not yet …


Arkansas has approximately 90,000 miles of rivers and streams. Thirty-three rivers are generally recognized as passing through Arkansas or along one of its borders; more than half of Arkansas’s rivers also enter or run along the borders of other states. While river travel has many hazards—including rapids and hidden snags—until the second half of the nineteenth century, the rivers of Arkansas often provided the best means of transportation for residents and visitors, and many cities and towns were established because of their proximity to rivers. A river is a narrow body of water with land on two sides, generally flowing downhill until it empties into another river or into a lake, sea, or ocean. All rivers are streams, but smaller …