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Meet Me -- seriously, in real life -- in the Park

Posted on 16 Jul 2009

Artwork designed to reflect Pea Ridge National Military ParkThe weekend is almost here, and have we got a destination for you! AETN is hosting the first of six Meet Me in the Park events this weekend at Pea Ridge National Military Park on Highway 62 at Garfield. The event is completely free and open to the public.

AETN planned these events at each of Arkansas's National Park Service sites to showcase the unique history, culture and geographic regions that made these areas receive national recognition and protection.

At Pea Ridge you'll find a 4,300-acre restored Civil War battlefield, complete with miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, as well as roads for biking, walking and jogging. So, in addition to all the history you'll learn about the Confederate and Union soldiers battling for Missouri, you'll also find some breathtaking scenery for enjoying Arkansas's great outdoors.

For our first Meet Me in the Park, Pea Ridge has planned to fire cannons, bring in Civil War re-enactors and feature "Arkansas Outdoors" favorite Phyllis Speer whipping up some Civil War-era recipes. Who wants to miss that??? We'll also be showing clips from the latest Ken Burns documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," in the park's visitors center theater. AETN's new, state-of-the-art production truck will be on site and open for tours.

We'll kick off the event around 10 a.m. and wrap up about 2 p.m., and we'd love for you to come out with a picnic and join us. Dont forget the sunscreen and bug spray since it's still an Arkansas summer -- even though the forecast high for Saturday is only 77 degrees! You couldn't ask for better weather for a day in the park!

You're excited aren't you? And you're wondering why we're doing all this? Well, it's part of our Arkansas State & National Parks Initiative that we developed around the Burns film, which premieres on AETN Sept. 27. Our goal is to get people interested in being outdoors again especially younger generations who might not have grown up visiting parks or appreciating nature. Our state and national parks have been preserved for so many reasons, and we need to get back in them and figure out why.

I'll give you the complete schedule for Meet Me in the Park, but you'll have to read a separate post about each one. There are too many fun things happening at each to include it all here:

July 25 Arkansas Post National Memorial

Aug. 1 Central High National Historic Site

Aug. 29 Buffalo National River

Sept. 12 Fort Smith National Historic Site

Sept. 19 Hot Springs National Park

You'll be able to get your AETN Arkansas State & National Parks Passport stamped at each event, and after your trip you can enter your photos in the AETN Arkansas Parks Amateur Photo Contest! Visit www.aetn.org/parks for more information on all our events and contests.

We'll see you in the park!

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