Happy 4th of July everyone! Summer is officially here! As we celebrate our nation’s independence, I want to encourage you to enjoy yourselves, but also be sure to make it a safe, relaxing holiday.

Legislation and the law always affect us; however, I hope you take a moment for reflection, family, and fun this summer. The vacation season is officially upon us and I would like to take a moment to share with you some of the attractions our beautiful state has to offer. Every time we “visit” Arkansas, we are reinvesting in ourselves and our families.

If you have not already made your 4th of July plans, consider one of Arkansas’s 52 state parks, 5 state forests, and 7 National Park Service Stations. Recreation in our state includes everything from kayak outings to guided hikes with over 50,000 family-friendly programs available at our state parks. We are approaching the 25th anniversary of Arkansas voters passing the 1996 constitution dedicated conservation tax. The tax benefits Arkansas State Parks and three sister conservation agencies. Our state parks are situated on 54,400 acres including 208 cabins, 1800 campsites, and five lodges. Our parks serve over eight million visitors per year. Additionally, Arkansas rivers stretch over 9,700 miles. Most of the stream waters make for perfect floating with a kayak, raft, or canoe. Experience the river view or tours from the Bull Shoals at White River or the DeGray Lake Resort.

Arkansas has a variety of activities you can choose. You can enjoy park interpreters providing guided water tours as you take in the surroundings. You can even participate in southern tradition cooking lessons at the Ozark Folk Center at Davidsonville. You can also take a guided park tour at Pinnacle Mountain or Village Creek. Our very own Buffalo National River Park is one of only 19 National Parks with a “Dark Sky Park” Designation. Dark Sky Parks are designated areas that restrict artificial light pollution for the sole purpose of watching the stars. At Buffalo Point, guests can participate in several ranger-led night sky programs. I hope you will be able to enjoy at least one of these attractions before the summer months escape us. Be sure to call ahead or visit arkansasstateparks.com for more information.

This year’s disastrous flooding did affect some, but certainly not all, of the attractions. Along those lines, I do have a few quick updates. I am glad to report that the areas in Desha County that were not previously on the list for federal disaster have been added. Governor Hutchinson also announced that he has appointed an Arkansas Levee Task Force and will devote $10 million for immediate clean-up and repair. I will keep you posted as to how this will serve our district.

Each week I like to share informative as well as useful information that constituents might possibly use to better themselves or their communities. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682-6211.