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What's New in the Arkansas Ouachitas and Timberlands


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Lake Ouachita Aerial
Lake Ouachita Aerial
    Lake Ouachita Sunset
Lake Ouachita Sunset
       
 
Crystal Falls
Crystal Falls
    Central Ave
Central Ave
       
 
Hot Springs Pano
Hot Springs Pano
   
January 2008

Bathhouse Row Renovations: The National Park Service continues to press on with the rehabilitation of historic buildings on "Bathhouse Row" in Hot Springs National Park. If all stays on track, the Quapaw Bathhouse will re-open as a family-style spa by this spring.

The National Park Service is also negotiating with a nonprofit group to convert the Ozark Bathhouse into a Museum of Contemporary Art, with hopes of opening it by this summer. The NPS shows no sign of stopping the renovation momentum and has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for long-term leases on the last three vacant bathhouses: the Superior, the Hale and the Maurice.

Hot Springs National Park protects the famous 47 hot springs and the eight architecturally stylish and historic bathhouses which are known as the “the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in the nation” and are designated a National Historic Landmark District.

Currently, the Buckstaff Bathhouse is the only one of the eight historic buildings that continues to operate as a traditional bathhouse. The National Park Service operates the Fordyce Bathhouse as a visitor center and museum and will re-open the Lamar for visitor service activities, administrative offices and storage space for artifacts and documents.

The Gangster Museum of America: This will be Hot Springs's newest attraction when it opens this year. Two shops next to the Colonial Pancake Shoppe in the 100 block of Central Avenue are being renovated and combined to house the museum. The museum focuses on the 1920s-40s era of the town, when gangsters such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano vacationed there. In the museum, four galleries host photographic displays, audiovisual presentations and artifacts related to this time when the healing powers of the city’s hot mineral baths attracted visitors from around the world.

Magic Springs/Crystal Falls Expansion: Magic Springs & Crystal Falls Theme Park underwent a two-phase, multi-million dollar expansion in the Crystal Falls water park in 2007. The expansion created a new pool and lounge area called Crystal Lagoon and a new water slide complex called Seven Falls that has three speed slides and four tube slides with two tubing bowls. The first phase of the expansion has made Crystal Falls the largest water park in the state.

Magic Springs has consistently added a new attraction each year, since re-opening in 2001. A new attraction is also in line for 2008. In 2006, Magic Springs was voted as one of the top three most family-friendly theme parks in the nation by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens.

Moro Big Pine WM: A new wildlife preserve recently opened in the state. The Moro Big Pine Wildlife Management Area protects native loblolly-shortleaf pine forests, one of the least-protected plant communities in the nation, and wildlife such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, which have been classified as endangered since 1970. The preserve is located in south Arkansas between Hampton and El Dorado and stands out because it offers a chance for large landscape-scale conservation. The new preserve is less than five miles from Moro Bay State Park as well as the 65,000-acre Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. At almost 16,000 acres, it is the largest site in the System of Natural Areas and the largest conservation easement ever established in the state. The new WMA fills a major void geographically in the southeast part of the state where outdoor opportunities have been largely limited to timber company properties and expensive leases. Visitors to the area will be able to hunt as well as bird watch and enjoy nature. Camping will also be available at designated locations. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission currently manages public access and activities here.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"


ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS & TOURISM
1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)
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