Submitted by Sen. John Boozman
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo National River’s designation as our country’s first national river. Enjoying wildlife and the outdoors is a way of life for residents of The Natural State and the Buffalo National River has helped countless Arkansans do just that. As we commemorate National Park Week, we celebrate this milestone and all of Arkansas’ national treasures.
Congress formally afforded the Buffalo River federal protection on March 1, 1972, to preserve its 135 miles of free-flowing river and conserve natural, scenic and scientific features like the deep valleys, towering bluffs, rugged wilderness and beautiful landscapes of the Ozark Mountains. That Act of Congress has helped safeguard one of Arkansas’s most prized gems for five decades.
The federal designation was the result of the leadership and vision of Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, the longtime representative of the 3rd Congressional District. Using his position on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he helped protect the Buffalo River and preserve it as an enduring symbol of natural splendor.
This incredible attraction welcomes Arkansans and travelers from all over the world to experience our state’s abundant natural riches. From Big Bluff and Hawksbill Crag, to its famous herd of elk, images of the area are instantly recognizable.
The Buffalo National River provides something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts come to enjoy the excitement of the river, take in the beauty and serenity of the surrounding wilderness and experience the friendliness Arkansas warmly offers. This unique, natural treasure has also been a steady source of economic growth and a staple of our tourism industry for years. Helping to grow businesses and communities, the Buffalo National River has contributed to the betterment of the state in countless ways.
I am grateful for all the people who have worked over the years to make this national river what it is today and helped maintain it for all Arkansans to enjoy. It is because of these dedicated individuals and organizations that future generations will be able to experience the river’s beauty and inviting atmosphere just as we do today.
In celebration of this historic milestone, an incredible group of park and community workers and volunteers has planned some great events throughout the year and I’m excited to follow along. On behalf of all Arkansans, I congratulate all those, past and present, who have helped conserve and protect this iconic natural resource that has helped define and differentiate Arkansas for the last 50 years and will continue to do so for many more into the future.
We can be proud of the preservation of the scenic and historic beauty in Arkansas. The thermal springs in Hot Springs have attracted folks to the area for generations. In 1832 Congress designated it the first federal reservation before making it a National Park officially in 1921. Today it offers an opportunity to undergo a traditional bath at the two remaining operational bathhouses.
I was proud to support the Senate-passed resolution recognizing National Park Week as April 16-24. This is a time to promote awareness about the unique landscape across the country and remember we’ve been afforded many outlets to connect with nature. As an avid outdoorsman I encourage all Arkansans to explore the lands of our national parks and the waters of our national rivers.