Timber continues to be a major component of the economy in south Arkansas, although papermaking has largely replaced lumber as the principal industry. Paper mills can be found in Pine Bluff, Camden and Ashdown. There also is a Georgia-Pacific plant in Crossett.
Pine Bluff is the largest town in the Timberlands region and also is the commercial hub of the area. Area attractions include the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, the Band Museum, the Arkansas Railroad Museum and the Delta Rivers Nature Center. The center, run by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, features animals and wildlife native to the region with several live animals including fish, snakes, turtles and alligators.
A regional favorite is Hope, best known as the home of former President Bill Clinton. Guests are invited to tour Clinton’s first home, where he was raised by his grandparents. Hope is also known for its watermelons — the Hope Watermelon Festival is held each August.
The oil boom in Arkansas, which occurred in the 1920s and ’30s, can be experienced at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover. Nearby El Dorado also sprung up as a result of the oil boom. Restaurants, shops and history can be found in downtown El Dorado.
Deer hunters flock to the woods of Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, a forest preserve between El Dorado and Crossett. The refuge is the region’s top recreational draw.
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