Arkansas Delta Music Trail: Sounds from the Soil and Soul. Interpretive wayside signs are located throughout 15 counties of the Arkansas Delta. The signs give background information on legendary musicians, performers and important musical sites. Signs are located in Dyess, Tyronza, West Memphis, Brinkley, Marianna, Turkey Scratch, Helena-West Helena and near McGehee. 870-972-2803; www.DeltaByways.com.
Arkansas Post National Memorial/Arkansas Post Museum State Park. The memorial, a National Park Service unit, commemorates the first permanent European settlement (1686) in the lower Mississippi River valley. In 1819, Arkansas Post became Arkansas’s first territorial capital. It was also the scene of a major Civil War engagement in 1863. A walking tour with informational panels and a short film and exhibits in the memorial’s visitors center interpret the site. The nearby state museum houses a broad collection of artifacts and materials relating to the Post and to agricultural and pioneer life in the surrounding area. The museum is located six miles south of Gillett at the junction of U.S. 165 and Ark. 169, and the memorial lies two miles to the east at the end of Ark. 169. National memorial: 870-548-2207; www.nps.gov/arpo. State museum: 870-548-2634; www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
Great River Road. The Great River Road shadows the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Arkansas’s portion of the route, which was designated a National Scenic Byway in 2002, travels the flat terrain of the nation’s largest alluvial plain as well as portions of its extraordinary strip of elevated ground known as Crowley’s Ridge. At stops on and near Arkansas’s GRR, travelers can explore the rich heritage of eastern Arkansas’s Delta region, including remnants of its original hardwood-forest landscape, the heritage of Native Americans, the Civil War and more. The Arkansas Delta Byways tourism Web site, www.DeltaByways.com, provides comprehensive GRR information. Free brochures can be ordered via the website or by phone at 870-972-2803.
Helena-West Helena/Delta Cultural Center. Exhibits at the Delta Cultural Center in the historic Mississippi River port town interpret the natural and human history of Arkansas’s Delta region. Included are interactive audio and video exhibits chronicling the rise of Delta blues and gospel music. Other Helena/West Helena highlights include the Helena Museum (established in 1929 with fundraising help from Mark Twain) and the Pillow-Thompson House, one of Arkansas’s finest examples of Queen Anne architecture. Delta Cultural Center: 141 Cherry St. 800-358-0972; www.DeltaCulturalCenter.com. Helena Museum: 623 Pecan St. 870-338-7790. Pillow-Thompson House: Perry and Beech Streets. 870-338-8535; www.pccua.edu/pillowthompson.
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center. Tour the restored home where Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway lived and worked while visiting Piggott during the 1920s and 30s. Don’t miss the barn studio, where Hemingway could hide away and write magazine articles and parts of books, including “A Farewell to Arms.” Exhibits highlight his famous travels and love of the outdoors. 1021 W. Cherry St., Piggott; 870-598-3487; http://hemingway.astate.edu.
Lake Chicot/Lake Chicot State Park. A former main channel of the Mississippi River, Lake Chicot is Arkansas’s largest natural lake and the largest oxbow lake in North America. The lake and its environs are among the state’s top-rated birding areas. Lake Chicot State Park, located on the northeastern shore of the 20-mile lake, offers cabins, campsites, boat rentals and barge tours of the lake for sunset and wildlife viewing. On Ark. 144, eight miles northeast of Lake Village. 870-265-5480; www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
Lakeport Plantation. Considered one of Arkansas’s foremost historic house sites, Lakeport Plantation near Lake Village is the last remaining antebellum home on the Mississippi River in Arkansas that has not been destroyed or altered significantly. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the home was donated to Arkansas State University in 2001 and has been researched and carefully restored as a museum focusing on the people and cultures that shaped life in the Mississippi River Delta. Located off U.S. 82 on Ark. 142 near Lake Village. 870-265-6031; http://lakeport.astate.edu.
Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park. This small state park preserves a rare headwater swamp and a granite marker denoting the initial point, designated a National Historic Landmark, from which land surveys of U.S. territory acquired from France via the 1803 Louisiana Purchase were measured. Designated a National Recreation Trail, the park’s 950-foot boardwalk features panels relating the story of the purchase, the survey and the swamp. The park is located at the end of Ark. 362 two miles east from U.S. 49 about 19 miles southeast of Brinkley and about 30 miles northwest of Helena. To request a free park brochure, phone 1-888-AT-PARKS (toll-free); www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie. At the time of pioneer settlement, Arkansas’s largest tall-grass prairie covered most of two counties and parts of two others. Starting in the early 20th century, it was converted into the nation’s most productive rice-growing region and its waterfowl hunting became nationally renowned. The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart, a town founded by German immigrants in the late 1870s, presents the heritage of the region and town. Fourth and Park Sts. 870-673-7001; www.GrandPrairieMuseum.org.
Parkin Archeological State Park. Parkin Archeological State Park in eastern Arkansas at Parkin preserves and interprets the site on the St. Francis River where a 17-acre Mississippi Period, American Indian village was located from A.D. 1000 to 1550. A large platform mound on the riverbank remains. The site is important for understanding the history and prehistory of northeast Arkansas. There were once many archeological sites similar to Parkin throughout this region, but they did not survive as eastern Arkansas was settled. Many scholars believe the Parkin site is the American Indian village of Casqui visited by the expedition of Hernando de Soto in 1541, and written about in his chronicles. Junction of U.S. 64 and Ark. 184 north. 870-755-2500; www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
St. Francis National Forest/Mississippi River State Park. Located on the east central edge of the state, the forest derives its name from the St. Francis River. Most of the forest is situated on Crowley's Ridge, but some is in the low, flat lands along the Mississippi and St. Francis Rivers. The St. Francis National Forest is the only place in the National Forest System where the public can experience the awesome grandeur of the mighty Mississippi River from the shoreline. The forest covers over 22,000 acres and has a variety of the finest bottomland hardwoods in the country. The forest provides ideal habitat for a large variety of wildlife including whitetail deer, wild turkey, squirrel, raccoon, rabbit and waterfowl. There are also two Scenic Byways that pass through the forest. Phase 1 of the three-phase process creating the Mississippi River State Park began in May 2009 when Arkansas State Parks took over the management and operations of the Bear Creek Recreation Area on the St. Francis National Forest near Marianna. The area includes two campgrounds, two Day-use areas, a group use area, the boat ramp at Bear Creek Lake, and the Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail. Beech Point Campground, the most popular campground on St Francis National Forest, received a $1.6 million dollar renovation and features full hookups and amenities. The Mississippi River State Park will, upon completion, encompass 550 acres of the St. Francis National Forest. Bear Creek Lake is located on Scenic Ark. 44, six miles southeast of Marianna. Mississippi River State Park (questions and reservations): 870-295-4040; www.ArkansasStateParks.com. St. Francis National Forest: 870-295-5278; www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ozark.
Southern Tenant Farmers Museum. Located in Tyronza, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. The museum exhibits focus on the story of tenant farming and sharecropping and the movement to remove abuses from the widely used system. The museum is located in the building that housed H.L. Mitchell’s dry cleaner and the service station owned by Clay East, two of the original organizers of the Union. The building also served as the unofficial headquarters of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (STFU). Main Street at Chicago and Frisco Streets in downtown Tyronza. 870-487-2909; http://stfm.astate.edu.
Southland Park. One of the largest greyhound racing facilities in the world, Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis offers something for everyone, including more than 900 electronic gaming machines, simulcast racing, a 150-seat juke joint and superb food, as well as Southland’s claim to fame – greyhound racing. 1550 N. Ingram Blvd. 870-735-3670, 800-467-6182; www.SouthlandPark.com
White River National Wildlife Refuge. This 160,000-acre refuge in east-central Arkansas includes the nation’s largest contiguous block of bottomland-hardwood forest under a single ownership. Exhibits cover such topics as an historic timeline of the area, fish and wildlife, bottomland hardwood forests and forest management, soil composition, hydrology and birds and migratory flyways. The center is located off Ark. 1 about a quarter mile south of St. Charles. 870- 282-8200; www.fws.gov/whiteriver.
This release, along with others by the Department of Parks & Tourism, is available electronically at the Department’s on-line media room: www.arkansas.com/media. Hundreds of high-resolution photos are also available at this Web address.
Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
“Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism”