Get outside and enjoy

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- As we approach the Fourth of July weekend we should all feel fortunate to have so many opportunties for fun and exploration in our backyard. 

Arkansas has 52 state parks; many national parks including Hot Springs, the Buffalo National River, a portion of the Trail of Tears National Historical Trail; numerous nature centers, waterfalls and waterways for kayaking, canoeing, hiking, swimming, and fishing. 

One of my favorite activities includes a canoe or kayak trip on the Buffalo River. The Buffalo can be challenging or relaxing depending on which stretch of the river you pick and it is a great way to deal with the heat, which has just begun to demonstrate its presence for you folks new to the area. The White River, Little Red River, and other area rivers also offer welcome respite with cool water generated from the bottom of dams at Bull Shoals Lake, Geers Ferry Lake, and Lake Ouachita. If you are into boating or fishing these areas may be for you. 

Within a few minutes of the base is the new Witt Stephens Jr. Nature Center, located along the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. The center is a great introduction to the sportmans' paradise which abounds in the state. More examples of fun waiting to happen here in Central Arkansas include hiking at Pinnacle Mountain or biking/hiking on trails in Burns Park or the 15 mile river trail that includes the Big Dam Bridge. If you want to venture a little further, Petit Jean Mountain, Mount Magazine and Mount Nebo also offer great hiking and camping with outstanding views of the Arkansas River Valley. 

Your career in the Air Force can offer unique opportunities to get outside and find out what many areas have to offer and a chance to be a part of those experiences. 

I say get outside and enjoy them while in Arkansas.