Greetings Industry Insiders!
Spring is in full swing, and with summer just around the corner, there’s a lot to celebrate in Arkansas. The new Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Dyess Administration Building Visitor Center are coming online to welcome music lovers to the Upper Delta; balloons will be flying this weekend over Russellville at its first annual Balloons Over RussVegas Festival; and the Spa City welcomes its 16th Annual Hot Springs Corvette Weekend.
Motors aren’t the only thing that’s revving up in May. Bike riders will be hitting the dirt to enjoy the completion of the 45-mile Lake Ouachita Vista Trail system – and hikers can celebrate the naming of the Ozark Highland Trails as one of Backpacker Magazine’s top backpacking routes. Wherever you travel and whatever means gets you there, don’t forget about National Travel and Tourism Week, which starts Saturday.
Check out more about Arkansas accolades, adjustments and activities below.
Joe David Rice
National Travel and Tourism Week Starts Saturday
National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) starts this Saturday, May 3, and continues until May 11. NTTW is a great way to network with local leaders, media, hoteliers and restaurateurs to celebrate the economic impact of our $5.9 billion industry.
If you’re looking for ways your community or business can celebrate NTTW, visit us online here.
STS Calls for Top 20 December Events Nominations
Arkansas events have the opportunity to compete with others across the Southeast for the Southeast Tourism Society’s (STS) prestigious Top 20 Events list. The STS chooses 20 events to feature each month through a nomination process, and publishes the list of winners quarterly. The deadline for nominations for December events has been extended to Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
The Top 20 Events publication is sent to more than 1,600 newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, AAA publications and other forms of media. Learn more about the nomination process and requirements here.
Interstate 540 to be Renamed I-49
I-540 will soon have a new name, as well as newfound significance. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will re-designate sections of the interstate to I-49.
The renaming will give the interstate prominence establishing it as a primary national corridor. When the construction is complete, sections of I-49 will run from Louisiana to the Missouri line.
The change is more than a name adjustment; it is a celebration. New signage projects will be underway the week of April 21 from Alma to Bella Vista. Read more here.
Backpacker Magazine Praises the Ozark Highlands Trail
The Ozark Highlands Trail received high praise in Backpacker Magazine. The listing said the trail "is one of this country's premier backpacking routes."
The magazine recommends that backpackers choose a three-week thru-hike or a shorter hike through the Hurricane Creek Wilderness or White Rock Mountain. April's wildflowers and the fall color in October were both noted in the write-up. Read more here.
LOVit Trail System Keeps the Wheels Turning
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail System, known as LOVit, has been completed after 12 years of planning and construction. The system is 45 miles long and encompasses many different trails along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita.
Instrumental in the establishment of the trail was the "Traildogs," an organization dedicated to the construction and preservation of the trail. The Traildogs comprises around 30 volunteers who support the U.S. Forest Service and Corps of Engineers in planning and development of the trail. The project was made possible by federal grants amounting to over $2 million.
Read the LOVit website to learn more, and experience the thrill of the ride here!
Wildlife Refuge Renamed to Honor Governor Bumpers
The White River National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Arkansas, established in 1935, was renamed after former Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers. Congress approved the decision to rename the refuge in January.
Bumpers served in the U.S. Senate from 1975 to 1999 after serving as Arkansas's governor during the 1970s. While in office, Bumpers worked to stop the channelization of the Cache River and the Bayou DeView, as well as establish the Cache River as a National Wildlife Refuge.
The wildlife refuge was renamed in a ceremony on Friday, April 18. Read more on the ceremony here.
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