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HSNP to conduct guided hikes for Reservation Day

by Cassidy Kendall | April 8, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Laura Miller. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

Hot Springs National Park's 189th Reservation Day is April 20, and to celebrate the National Park Service will conduct six guided hikes throughout the day.

Last month, HSNP celebrated its 100th anniversary of the day it was designated a national park. This month, the park will celebrate the 189th anniversary of the day it was set aside as a federal reservation, paving the way for it to become a national park.

"For the reservation itself, one of the things that is the most uniquest is that we were among one of the first federally protected lands in the United States, and we were given the name reservation because things like national parks and concepts like national park didn't really exist yet," Park Ranger Ashley Waymouth said.

"So in a lot of ways, because of our creation we really paved the way for the National Park Service to be born," she said.

"So even though it is our 100th anniversary as a national park, being set aside as a reservation first is kind of incredibly unique. How many parks can say they've had multiple names, especially when one of those is being one of the first pieces of land to be federally owned?" Waymouth said.

For Reservation Day, HSNP will offer two chances at three different guided hikes that correspond to the history of the park and reservation. Registration for the hikes is required by calling HSNP at 501-620-6715. All three hikes will be "pretty easy," and "at the most moderate," Waymouth said.

The hike themes will include:

• A look at the archaeology that tells the story of the park, conducted by HSNP archaeologist Victoria Reichard.

• An in-depth historical look at the park and how it's changed since 1832, conducted by HSNP Museum Curator Tom Hill.

• An evaluation of what the purpose of a national park is, and how that creates context for the original creation of the reservation and the eventual name change of the national park, conducted by HSNP Guide Tyler Young.

Masking will be required on the hikes if social distancing cannot be maintained.

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