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Hutchinson creates outdoor recreation office

by The Associated Press | June 22, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday announced he is creating an office that will focus on outdoor recreation in the state.

Hutchinson said the new office of outdoor recreation will be part of the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism under the direction of Secretary Stacy Hurst. Hurst will soon start a search for a director to lead the new office.

Hutchinson said he's also creating a 10-person advisory board to help guide the new office.

Hutchinson announced the creation at a news conference with U.S. Rep. French Hill. The governor also announced that the 459-acre Blue Mountain Natural Area site will be part of the state's inventory of outdoor recreation sites, putting the state in charge of all three mountains in the chain of Maumelle Pinnacles. The other mountains in the chain include Pinnacle Mountain and Rattlesnake Ridge.

The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission partnered with the Nature Conservancy to purchase Blue Mountain from PotlatchDeltic, a timberland owner and lumber manufacturer.

Hutchinson also announced the state has signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government to offer expanded recreation opportunities at Camp Ouachita and Lake Sylvia.

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