The Ozark Mountains are a beautiful part of Arkansas. The land is rough and rugged, natural and less developed that any other part of the state. The local people are a world apart from the typical American. People there use what is available to them and money is not sought after as the main purpose of their life. Trading, swapping, helping each other out, sharing, attending church and visiting are all more important that chasing money and all it can buy. They work hard for themselves and their neighbors creating a God inspired beautiful sense of community.
The Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateaus consist of three separate plateaus:
The Boston Plateau usually called the Boston Mountains are the most rugged and highest of the Ozark Mountains with the highest peak at 2,600 feet. It is the southernmost part of the Ozarks located north and runs parallel to US Route 40. Typical rock types in the Boston Plateau are sandstone and shale. The highest peaks are in Newton County as are the head waters of the Buffalo River. It has the least development of any of the Ozark Mountains due to the lack of level land and narrow, winding and steep roads. There is little area suitable for agriculture; towns are few and extremely small. It is in this part of the Ozark Mountains that one would find the self-sufficient mountaineer stereotype for which the Ozarks are typically known. Tourism provides the bulk of job opportunities in this remote area. The most populated town in the Boston Plateau is Clinton, Arkansas.
The Springfield Plateau is north of the Boston Plateau with average heights of 1,800 feet. There are vast plains with hilly areas where rivers and streams occur. Typical rock types in the Springfield Plateau are limestone and chert. Since limestone dissolves easily with running water, caves and karst are visible recurring features in the landscape. Water pollution can be a problem here. The water runoff moves so quickly in the limestone that it doesn’t always filter efficiently before bubbling up in a spring. The Army Corps of Engineers is extremely aggressive about maintaining water quality to their lakes and rivers for that reason. Rogers and Harrison, Arkansas are the largest urban growth areas in the Springfield Plateau. Young families find this area appealing with plentiful job opportunities, fine dining, retail shops and shopping malls.
The Salem Plateau is the northern most section of the Ozark Mountains with an average height of 1,500 feet. Typical rock types in the Salem Plateau are dolomite or dolostone which is similar to limestone but does not dissolve as quickly or easily. Caves are plentiful here as are large springs like Mammoth Springs, located north of Salem. Thin rocky soil supports the cedar, oak, elm and short needle pine. The trees grow on the sides of the mountains where the soil has eroded which causes the “bald knobs”on top where the prairie grass grows. The Bull Shoals and the Norfork Lakes, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, are water reservoirs that offer large recreational and world renown fishing areas. The White River, below the Bull Shoals damn, is famous for its world record sized brown trout. The largest city in the Salem Plateau is Mountain Home, the number one retirement option in Arkansas. An abundance of amenities including medical specialists, modern hospital facilities, banks, retail stores, golf courses and other recreational areas are in proximity to town making this a popular retirement destination.
The northwest corner of Arkansas has a wealth of nature trails, state parks, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and some of the most beautiful scenic drives in the country. Water quality here is phenomenal. It's one of the few places available where you can eat the fish you catch in the lakes and rivers. With visibility usually at 25 feet, scuba divers frequent the Bull Shoals Lake. I would highly recommend this area to anyone who enjoys nature and the outdoors.