National Park Week starts tomorrow (April 21) and lasts until the 29th. During this time entry to all 397 national parks in the nation is free with special activities offered
National Park Service sites in Arkansas include:
Arkansas Post National Memorial
The first semi-permanent European settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley region, Arkansas Post became part of the United States during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. By 1819, the post was a thriving river port and the largest city in the region and selected the capital of the Arkansas Territory. The park contains the January 11, 1863 Arkansas Post battlefield. The battle, as well as the rest of Arkansas Post’s rich history, is interpreted at the park museum. The Arkansas Post National Memorial is located at 1741 Old Post Road in Gillett.
Buffalo National River
In the heart of the Ozarks, the Buffalo River was America’s first national river in 1972. The 150-mile-long free flowing Buffalo offers both swift-running and placid stretches, sand/gravel bars, towering limestone bluffs, woodlands, protected wilderness areas and nature watching opportunities, including deer and elk. Fishing is also available along the river. Over 100 miles of trails have been blazed for public use. Designated horseback riding trails are located in each district of the river, under the auspices of the National Park Service. Resorts and outfitters are located throughout the river region. Camping is available at most access points and primitive camping is allowed along the stream. The Tyler Bend Visitor Center, off U.S. 65 north of Marshall, provides exhibits and materials to the public. Other centers/ranger stations are located at Buffalo Point and Pruitt. The Ponca Elk Education Center is another interesting stop located in the area.
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith National Historic Site embraces the remains of two frontier forts, plus the Federal courtroom of the Western District of Arkansas. Hanging Judge Isaac C. Parker’s court and jail have been restored as reminders of 80 turbulent years in the history of the government’s Indian policies (1817-1896). The museum exhibits illustrate the court’s impact on the Indian Territory (Oklahoma), U.S. Marshals, outlaws and regional history. The park is located at Third and Garland Street in Fort Smith.
Hot Springs National Park
The rare natural features of Hot Springs National Park were first protected when Congress declared the area a “reservation” in 1832, some 40 years before Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. While preserving an array of 47 hot springs and their watershed, the park provides hiking opportunities scenic drive, and camping. The park is located in and around downtown Hot Springs.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
The site of a major test in 1957 of the Civil Rights act where nine (the Little Rock Nine) African-American students integrated the all-white school. The museum across the street depicts the struggle through exhibits and photos. This is still a working high school, one of the top schools in the state. The school is located at 2120 Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock.
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Pea Ridge National Military Park preserves the site of an 1862 Civil War battle that gave the Union total control of Missouri and led directly to the federal occupation of Arkansas. During the Battle of Pea Ridge, some 26,000 soldiers clashed during the two-day battle, with Confederates under Gen. Benjamin McCulloch and Union forces under Gen. Samuel R. Curtis. The Confederate army also included about 800 Cherokees. Today, the Pea Ridge Military Park the park encompasses 4,300 acres and features a reconstructed Elkhorn Tavern, visitors center, museum, self-guided tours and a 2.5-mile segment of the “Trail of Tears.”The park is located at U.S. 62 East in Pea Ridge.
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
The home where the 42nd president spent the first four years of his life with his widowed mother and grandparents. This historic site preserves President Clinton’s home and tells the story of his early life in Hope. The home is located at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope.