Bill Barnes, president of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts, and Robert Moore, a farmer and politician, will be inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during a noon luncheon Monday, Feb. 25, during the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference will be held in Hot Springs on Feb. 24-26, 2019.
The Hall of Fame honor is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have been actively involved in tourism for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole.
Born in Wyoming in 1948, Barnes graduated from Hot Springs High School and studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma, and at Forest Park College in Missouri.
Since 1971, he’s been active in the management of Mountain Harbor Resort, which his father Hal started in 1955 just outside of Hot Springs in Joplin, Ark. He helped Mountain Harbor Resort transition from a small fishing outpost into one of the top resorts in Arkansas. Barnes developed Harbor East, the only privately owned condominium development on Lake Ouachita and Harbor South, a private residential development adjacent to Mountain Harbor Resort and Lake Ouachita. Today, Harbor South is a thriving development with 160 homes and more new homes under construction.
Additionally, Barnes developed and operates with partners Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina and Self Creek Lodge & Marina. Those resorts, along with Harbor House on the River, are the members of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts.
His career accomplishments also include building and operating the largest in-land marina in the Mid-South United States, housing approximately 1,200 boats. He also formed a volunteer fire department and first response team for the Joplin area. Today, the department provides emergency medical and fire response on Lake Ouachita, as well as covering the eastern end of Montgomery County. Barnes has served as fire chief for 37 years.
He also serves as a member of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission, president of the Lake Ouachita Association, and member of the Arkansas Forestry Commission Boat Committee. He has been on numerous boards of directors including the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Diamond Lake Travel Association, Arkansas Travel Council, and numerous civic and community committees. He also founded the Montgomery County Military Museum and founded the statewide annual Arkansas Forestry Commission Fire Boat Training. He is coxswain certified and an officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-9.
During his long career, Barnes has been honored as Arkansas Tourism Person of the Year and has received the Arkansas Hospitality Association Gold Key Award for Lodging, Arkansas Times Readers Choice Award for Best Marina for nine years in a row, Hernando DeSoto Award, Arkansas Hospitality Association President’s Award, Silver Cup for Tourism, Best Friend Award from the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Employer of the Year Award from the Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce. He was inducted into the Arkansas Hospitality Hall of Fame in 1999.
An Arkansan who loves music, writing, bicycling and outdoor recreation, Moore was born in Dumas in 1945. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and obtained a degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry and the Vietnam War. He currently resides in Arkansas City.
Moore has a vast political career and his contributions to the tourism industry have been significant as well.
In 2013, Moore was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to a 10-year term on the Arkansas State Highway Commission.
Moore’s previous experience in public service includes serving as a three-term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, representing District 12 and serving as Speaker of the House for the 88th General Assembly. He served as a member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, served on the Joint Budget Committee, the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council. He is a former Assistant Attorney General. Gov. David Pryor appointed Moore as Chairman of the Arkansas Transportation Commission in 1977.
His tourism endeavors include working with Ruth Hawkins and Delta Scenic Byways to secure the National Scenic Byway recognition for Arkansas Highway 4 through Arkansas City. He worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in the late ’90s for acquisition of 10,000 acres surrounding Arkansas City now known as Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area. Moore sponsored and passed the GeoTourism Tax Credit legislation and the Historic Buildings tax credit legislation.
He worked with Arkansas State Parks for the extension of the Delta Heritage Trail from Rohwer to Arkansas City and with the help of Gov. Beebe secured major funding for completion of the paved levee trail. He also worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to secure funding for a new scenic overview and boat ramp on the Mississippi River joining the extension of the Delta Heritage Trail.
Moore and his wife, Beverly, donated property to Arkansas City, Desha County and Arkansas State Parks for establishment of city, county and state parks. They also founded the LeveeFest event in Arkansas City that ran for 10 years. Preservation is important to the couple. They purchased five historic buildings in Arkansas City in various states of disrepair, rehabilitated them, and successfully had all five listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to his public service, Moore owned a private law practice from 1981 to 1985 and is currently the owner/operator of Moore Farms. He also served two decades as director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board before being elected to the House. He is a member of the American Legion, Arkansas City Baptist Church, the Arkansas City Chamber of Commerce, vice chairman of the Desha County Historic Preservation Society, and vice chairman of the John H. Johnson Cultural and Entrepreneurial Center Board.
For information on the Hall of Fame Awards, contact Leigha Jones at 501-682-1676.
For information on the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism or to register to attend, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1926.