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Exploring Arkansas October 2011

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Cardboard Boat Races, Mississippi Voyageur Canoe Excursion, Helena River Park
The world championship of cardboard boat races takes place on Greers Ferry Lake at Heber Springs every year We'll talk with a few of the contestants along with their cardboard boat building skills. Utilizing the same "voyageur" type canoes French explorers used, the Quapaw Canoe Company in Helena offers canoe excursions on the "Mighty Mississipp." Helena's River Park is also a wildlife sanctuary with a boardwalk that leads visitors to a front and center view of the Mississippi River.

TRANSCRIPT

THE CONCEPT WAS PRETTY SIMPLE BACK IN 1986. BUILD A BOAT OUT OF CARDBOARD AND MAKE IT FLOAT. WELL, AS YOU MIGHT HAVE GUESSED, A LOT OF THEM TURNED OUT TO BE A BIG SOGGY CORRUGATED MESS. BUT INTEREST CAUGHT ON YEAR AFTER YEAR, AND EVENTUALLY IT BECAME INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN. AND THUS WE HAVE THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CARDBOARD BOAT RACES HERE IN HEBER SPRINGS. ♪♪ ♪♪

25 YEARS AGO WE HAD A COUPLE OF LADIES IN TOWN, PAT AND PEGGY, WHO DEVELOPED A SPECIAL EVENTS COMMITTEE. THEY HAD HEARD ABOUT -- I BELIEVE IT'S IN ILLINOIS -- OF A CARDBOARD BOAT RIGATTA. THEY WERE TRYING TO BRING TOURISM TO OUR AREA THAT WAS FUN, AND HERE WE STILL ARE TODAY.

MOST OF THE BOATS USUALLY HAVE A CERTAIN THEME OR AN APPROPRIATE NAME, SUCH AS THE HAPPY VIKING.

IT'S JUST A CONCEPT I COME UP WITH AND PUT IT ON PAPER AND START A COATING, MADE SEVERAL -- MADE A MINI MODEL FIRST AND THEN JUST DEVELOPED A BOAT FROM THERE. BUILT THE HEAD FIRST, THE HEAD GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM. SO DOES THE TAIL. IT'S NOT GLUED ON THERE. IT IS ALL THE WAY. IT'S PART OF THE STRUCTURE. AND THEN I BUILT THE BOAT AROUND IT, AROUND THE TOOL.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU?

ABOUT THREE MONTHS TOTAL. A LOT OF HELP, LOT OF SUPPORT FOR MY WORK, WHICH I LIKE.

SO, WHAT IS EXACTLY THE RULES, REGULATIONS AS FAR AS WATERPROOFING THE CARDBOARD?

WATERPROOFING IT, BASICALLY IT'S GOT TO BE BIODEGRADABLE PAINT LIKE YOUR WATER-BASE PAINT, USUALLY SPRAY PAINT. DUCT TAPE. IN THIS CASE, WHITE GLUE OR REGULAR BOX GLUE. IT WILL DISSOLVE. YOU PUT SEVERAL COATS OF PAINT ON IT AND HOPE FOR THE BEST. THAT'S THE FUN PART ABOUT THESE RACES. YOU NEVER KNOW THE BOAT UNTIL IT GOES IN THE WATER.

WE WILL ASSIGN A PROJECT FROM OUR MENTORS FOR SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY. WE'RE INTERNS DOWN HERE WORKING FOR THE SUMMER PATROLLING ENGINEERING. WE WERE ASSIGNED A PROJECT FROM MR. MASON, ADAM AND SEAN OUR MENTORS. THEY GAVE US GOOD ADVICE HOW TO BUILD, WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO TO CONSTRUCT THIS THING. SO, WE TOOK THEIR IDEAS AND OUR IDEAS AND PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER AND GOT THEM TO GO AND GET US SOME MATERIALS DONATED. WE WENT OUT SEARCHING THE CARDBOARD FACTORIES. THE FIRST ONE DIDN'T WORK, IT WAS TIPSY. WE HAD TO GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD AND MAKE IT A FLAT BOTTOM BOAT LIKE WE WERE GOING IN THE SWAMPS OR SOMETHING DOWN SOUTH. THAT'S WHERE I'M FROM, SOUTH LOUISIANA.

ALL RIGHT.

AND I GO TO LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY. THIS IS JONATHAN. HE'S AN INTERN WITH US ALSO. HE'S FROM NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA.

I WAS GOING TO SAY, YOU GUYS ARE THE HERO BOATS. YOU SHOULD BE GOOD AT THIS.

OH, YEAH, YEAH, WE HAD A GOOD TIME. NINE OF US INTERNS WORKED ON IT THROUGHOUT THE DAY, YOU KNOW, AFTER WORK AND STUFF LIKE THAT. AND IT WAS PRETTY EXCITING. WE USED SOME CARDBOARD TUBES FOR THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOAT. WE CAPPED THOSE OFF WITH CARDBOARD -- FLAT CARDBOARD BOXES. THEN WE USED THE TUBES ALSO TO COME OFF OF THE STRUCTURE FOR THE SUPPORT FOR THE SIDE WALLS. WRAPPED THAT WITH SOME CROSS BOARD AND POLYURETHANE TO WATERPROOF, YOU KNOW, SO WE WOULDN'T GET WATERLOGGED AND SINK TO THE BOTTOM. THEN WE GOT OUR SPONSOR STICKERS AND PUT THEM ON THERE, POLYURETHANE OVER THEM AND WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT FLOATS.

FOR THE MOST PART, CONTESTANTS USUALLY HAVE TO REBUILD BOATS FROM ONE YEAR TO THE NEXT, BUT SOME ARE BUILT SO STURDY THEY CAN BE REUSED YEAR AFTER YEAR.

YEAH, 13 YEARS. I GUESS FOR THE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT AT JONESBORO DID A REALLY GOOD JOB. IT'S GONE THROUGH SOME WEATHER, BOY. IT'S COMPRESSED CARDBOARD.

YES. AND THEN WE KIND OF WATERPROOF IT. SEE OVER THERE?

I THINK ON THE OUTSIDE A COMBINATION OF  EPOXY AND A COAT OF PAINT OR GLUE AND SOMETHING OF THAT NATURE.

I UNDERSTAND IT'S QUITE HEAVY.

OH, IT IS VERY HEAVY.

A WONDER IT FLOATS.

YEAH. [LAUGHTER] ♪♪ ♪♪

AND THEN THERE'S CAPTAIN LADY BUG. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOAT, DESIGN OF IT.

WELL, IT'S JUST TRIAL AND ERROR. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LITTLE BOOKLET. AND AFTER THAT YOU HAVE TO GO AND DO IT AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. BUT THIS BOAT HELD UP PRETTY WELL. THIS IS THE FOURTH RACE IT'S BEEN IN, AND IT'S STILL GOING. OF COURSE, IT NEEDS A LITTLE BIT OF REPAIR ONCE IN A WHILE, BUT, YOU KNOW, AFTER WE GET IT HOME, WE'LL DO SOME -- OH, YEAH. ALL THE PROFITS GO TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER.

THAT'S GOOD.

SO, IT'S A NONPROFIT, OF COURSE. EVERYBODY IS A VOLUNTEER. AND ALL THE MONEY GOES TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER. AND LAST YEAR WE MADE $11,000. THAT WAS A NICE BOOST FOR OUR ANIMALS. SO, WE'RE TRYING TO GET AS MANY EVERY YEAR. LAST YEAR WE HAD 30 BOATS SO WE'RE DOING ALL RIGHT. AND THIS HELMET WAS A VERY LAST-MINUTE ADDITION.

I LOVE IT.

I DID THAT LAST NIGHT.

THAT IS A PERFECT TOUCH.

IT IS. IT JUST GOES WITH THE REST, YOU KNOW. CAPTAIN LADY BUG.

YEAH, SOME MAY TAKE A LITTLE BIT TOO SERIOUSLY.

THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER CREATES ONE OF AMERICA'S GREATEST WILDERNESSES AND IT'S THE CANOE THAT WAS THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION ON THIS RIVER FOR SOME 2000 YEARS. NATIVE AMERICANS CAME DOWN THE OHIO RIVER TO THE MISSISSIPPI IN CANOES. TODAY YOU CAN EXPERIENCE A SIMILAR JOURNEY WITH THE CANOE COMPANY IN HELENA. YOUR GUIDES ARE THE MIGHTY INDIANS WITH JON RUSKY AT THE HELM.

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY THE -- JUST BY THE SHAPE OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND THE BEAUTIFUL LOOPY MEANDERING BLUE LINE. WE ALWAYS SEE ON THE MAPS, WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING ON THE MAPS OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE SOUTH. AND MY SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, MY BEST FRIEND AND I DECIDED THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE. WE'VE HAD ENOUGH OF SCHOOL. 12 YEARS IS ENOUGH. AND SO INSTEAD, MUCH TO THE CONSTERNATION OF OUR GUIDANCE COUNSELORS, WE MET AFTER WORKING ALL SUMMER, WE MET ON THE MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN BORDER ABOVE LACROSSE WISCONSIN AND BUILT A 20 BY 25 FOOT RAFT. WE EMBARKED ON A FIVE-MONTH JOURNEY. FIVE MONTHS LATER WE -- WE STARTED IN 1982, WE ENDED IN 1983. I SPENT MY FIRST NIGHT IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI ON THE MUDDY ISLAND AS A REFUGEE. THE RAFT ACTUALLY BROKE UP, AND I DIDN'T STAY IN MISSISSIPPI AFTER THAT -- NOT LONG AFTER THAT. BUT, SO, I'M THINKING ABOUT THAT FIVE-MONTH RAFT JOURNEY, DROVE SOMETHING IN DEEP. I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO SHAKE IT SINCE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS EXACTLY, BUT I LOVE WATER. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED WATER, BUT I LOVE THE MISSISSIPPI MORE THAN ANY OTHER WATER I'VE EVER BEEN IN.

AND I GUESS YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO -- I MEAN APPRECIATE IT AND RESPECT IT.

YES, THAT'S RIGHT. YEAH, THE MISSISSIPPI IS A STRANGE LANDSCAPE. YOU KNOW, MOST PEOPLE'S EXPERIENCE OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND A LOT OF PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IT, BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF BUSY HIGHWAYS THAT CROSS IT AND IT TRAVELS -- DRAINS 66 MILLION PEOPLE LIVE IN THE GREATER MISSISSIPPI DRAINAGE. WE HAVE VERY FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT'S LIKE, ACTUALLY, ON THE RIVER ITSELF. AND IF YOUR OWN -- YOUR ONLY EXPERIENCE IS WHAT YOU SEE CROSSING THE BRIDGE, YOU'LL NEVER EXPERIENCE SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

I THINK IT'S A PRETTY NEAT EXPERIENCE TO GO OUT IN A CANOE THAT CAN HOLD 10 TO 12 PEOPLE AND IT'S DEFINITELY YOUR ONE SIDE GETS WORN DOWN. IT'S A PRETTY COOL EXPERIENCE. I LOVE IT.

JUST DOING THIS ON THE MISSISSIPPI AND --

OH, I WAS A LITTLE BIT NERVOUS, ESPECIALLY WITH ALL THE RAIN AND STUFF. AND I WAS LIKE, UM, MOM AND DAD, WE'RE GOING TO GO CANOING ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. THEY KIND OF FLIPPED OUT A LITTLE BIT, BUT IT'S OKAY, I'M WITH EXPERIENCED CANOISTS, SO, I'M NOT NERVOUS ABOUT IT.

YOU ALSO DON'T HAVE TO BE NERVOUS ABOUT THESE MEGA-SIZED CANOES CAP SIZING.

THE DESIGN IS BASED ON THE FRENCH VOYAGER CANADIAN DESIGNER, THE FRENCH VOYAGER USED ON THE GREAT LAKES. THE FUR TRAPPERS. THEY TOOK THEIR DESIGN FROM THE BEAUTIFUL BIRCH BARK CANOES THAT THE NATIVE PEOPLE OF THE NORTH WOODS BUILT. IT'S A THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD DESIGN. IT WAS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF TRIAL AND ERROR, AND PASSING FROM ONE CANOE BUILDER TO ANOTHER, TRADITION, YOU KNOW, THAT WENT INTO WHAT WE HAVE TODAY. THE SHAPE IS VERY SIMILAR -- IT'S UNDERNEATH THE PART THAT ACTUALLY TOUCHES THE WATER. THAT'S THE PART BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT'S CUTTING THE WATER AND WHAT ALLOWS YOU SAFE PASSAGE. THAT PART IS UNCHANGED, YOU KNOW, FROM WHAT THE FRENCH VOYAGERS USED IN THE GREAT LAKES. WHAT YOU SEE ON THE TOP IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT, BUT -- AND MATERIALS ARE OBVIOUSLY DIFFERENT. WE'RE USING LUVIANA, CYPRESS, THE JUNE BUG, SHE'S KIND OF AN ANOMALY. WE HAVE A STASH OF REDWOOD. BUILD A CANOE OUT OF REDWOOD. USUALLY WE USE CYPRESS.

3, 2, 1. WOO-HOO.

OUR ADVENTURE ON THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI BEGAN AT THE MOUTH OF THE ST. FRANCES RIVER THEN FLOATING THE MAIN CHANNEL OF THE MISSISSIPPI ALL THE WAY DOWN TO HELENA, A DISTANCE OF ABOUT NINE MILES.

IT'S GREAT TO GET AWAY FROM LIFE. IT'S GREAT TO GET AWAY FROM TECHNOLOGY AND CAMERAS AND STUFF AND E-MAIL AND JUST COME OUT HERE AND SEE GOD'S GRACE.

NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, FLOATING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

NO. A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK YOU'RE CRAZY TO DO IT. YOU KNOW, THEY THINK IT'S SCARY ORDAIN DANGEROUS. I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO RESPECT THE RIVER NO DOUBT. SOMETHING WRONG WITH JON RUSKY WHO KNOWS THE RIVER SO WELL. I HAVE GREAT TRUST WITH HIM AND ALL HIS MIGHTY... IT'S A GREAT EXPERIENCE. IT'S SUCH A WONDERFUL FEELING TO FLOAT. I MEAN, TO SWIM. I WAS JUST SWIMMING IN THE RIVER. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. THE TEMPERATURE IS WONDERFUL. ALL THESE BIRDS AND WILDLIFE. IT'S A GREAT THING TO DO, AND IT'S RIGHT HERE. IT'S JUST RIGHT HERE. NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE ENCOUNTER NATURE MUCH ANY MORE. IT'S A GOOD THING.

WAKING UP AT 3:30, I WASN'T VERY EXCITED. BUT BEING OUT HERE IT'S GREAT. IT'S PERFECT WEATHER. IT'S COOL -- THE WATER IS WARM. IT FEELS GREAT. IT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE. IT'S REALLY GREAT.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESE KA NEWS HERE? PRETTY COOL.

YEAH. I'VE SEEN SOME OF JON RUSKY'S BEFORE. I FEEL SAFE IN THEM, SO, THAT'S GOOD. AND THEY'RE SO PRETTY, YEAH.

DO YOU THINK YOU'D WANT TO COME BACK FOR ANOTHER EXCURSION?

YES, DEFINITELY. THIS IS JUST A COUPLE HOURS LONG. MY MOTHER HAS DONE THE OVERNIGHT ONE BEFOREs AND THAT WAY YOU GET THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE. I'D LOVE TO DO, YOU KNOW, A COUPLE DAYS.

I REALLY ENJOY. IT'S A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE, YOU KNOW. WE'VE CANOED AND FLOATED ALL KINDS OF RIVERS IN NORTH AMERICA, BUT NOTHING LIKE THIS. THIS IS HUGE MAGNITUDE OF RIVER, YOU KNOW. AND SWIFTNESS, THE POWER OF THE RIVER, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE FLOATED BY THOSE BOWIES EAU -- BUOYS OUT THERE. YOU DON'T SEE THE CURRENT UNTIL YOU SEE THE CURRENT FLOATING BY SOMETHING STILL LIKE THAT. IT'S AWESOME. OF COURSE, THE SAND BARGE, WHAT CAN YOU SAY? IT'S JUST INCREDIBLE BEAUTY.

AND I TOLD MY FAMILY THAT I WAS GOING TO FLOAT IN A CANOE ON THE MISSISSIPPI. THEY SAID, TRISHA, YOU DON'T NEED TO DO THAT. SO, REALLY, I WAS APPREHENSIVE ABOUT COMING. BUT IT WASN'T SCARY AT ALL. I MEAN, WE FLOATED THE CATTLE AND BUFFALO, IT'S A LOT MORE INTIMIDATING THAN THIS IS. IT'S SMOOTH. IT'S FAST, BUT STILL IT'S SMOOTH. IT'S NOT THE LEAST BIT SCARY. I'VE HAD A REALLY GOOD TIME. ENJOYED THE COOKOUT ON THE SAND BAR HERE, ALWAYS -- I LIKE THINGS LIKE THAT. THE PEOPLE WE WENT WITH ON THE CANOE, THEY'RE VERY CORDIAL. IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO MEET NEW PEOPLE, FRIENDS. BUT YEAH, THIS IS A REAL GOOD EXPERIENCE. I REALLY ENJOYED IT.

WE GUARANTEE YOU'LL ENJOY IT AS WELL. THE EXPERIENCE MAY EVEN MOVE YOU TO DO THE MIGHTY HEAD STAND ON THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI. (APPLAUSE)

JON RUSKY'S MIGHTY QUA PA ARE MIGHTY YOUTH IN HELENA.

I ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO YOUTH IN MY COMMUNITY. IT WAS PASSED ON TO ME BY MY MENTOR. IF YOU DON'T SHARE THESE THINGS , WHAT YOU KNOW, SKILLS YOU HAVE, THEY'RE GOING TO DIE WHEN YOU DIE. IT'S ONE OF OUR MISSIONS TO HELP YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF THE MISSISSIPPI AND TO LEARN IMPORTANT LIFE-LONG SKILLS THROUGH THAT PROCESS. ♪♪ ♪♪

NOW, IF TAKING A FLOAT TRIP ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER ISN'T QUITE YOUR CUP OF TEA, I URGE YOU TO CHECK OUT HELENA'S RIVER FRONT PARK WHERE A BOARDWALK WILL LEAD YOU TO FRONT AND CENTER OF THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI. YOU CAN WATCH ALL THE RIVER TRAFFIC, THE WILDLIFE, OR JUST SIT BACK, KICKBACK, AND ENJOY THE RIVER. INTERPRETIVE SIGNS PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY INFORM VISITORS ABOUT THE ECO SYSTEM MAKING THIS WILDLIFE HABITAT AREA A VITAL EDUCATIONAL TOOL.

WE WORKED WITH A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROCESS WHERE WE ASK THE COMMUNITY WHAT WOULD BE SOME OF THE SIGNS THAT THEY WOULD LIKE AT THIS PARK. AS NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY, CERTAINLY WE WERE INTERESTED IN TALKING ABOUT THE BIRD LIFE, BUT WE ALSO TALKED ABOUT CULTURAL HISTORY OF THIS AREA. WE DID SIGNS ON THE CIVIL WAR HISTORY, AND IT WAS A REALLY NEAT PROCESS TO BE INVOLVED WITH WITH THIS COMMUNITY. WHERE, FROM THE BOTTOM UP, THEY HELPED DESIGN, BUILD, AND INSTALL THE SIGNAGE AT THIS PARK.

OTHER THAN MEMPHIS, HELENA IS THE ONLY OTHER MAIN CITY ON THE MISSISSIPPI ALONG A 300-MILE PLUS STRETCH DOWN RIVER, WHICH IS WHY TOURISTS ARE ATTRACTED TO THIS RIVER PARK AREA, SUCH AS LINDA AND CITO FROM THE NETHERLANDS. SO, YOU CAME ACROSS THE RIVER, THE MISSISSIPPI, AND YOU STOPPED HERE IN HELENA.

YEAH.

WHAT BRINGS YOU HERE? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AREA?

WELL, THE NATURE, THE REST, AND ALSO THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE LIVING OVER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT FOR SURE MOST IMPORTANT FOR US IS FOLLOWING THE MISSISSIPPI BECAUSE WE'VE READ A LOT ABOUT THE MISSISSIPPI, BUT WE WANTED TO SEE IT WITH OUR OWN EYES.

AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MIGHTY MISSIP HERE AT THIS PARK?

IT IS BEAUTIFUL. IT IS REALLY BEAUTIFUL. DON'T YOU THINK?

YEAH, CALM NOW, NICE.

IT'S A WIDE RIVER. WE HAVE A LOT OF WATER IN OUR COUNTRY. WE HAVE A LOT OF RIVERS, BUT NOT WIDE AS THIS. THIS IS REALLY FANTASTIC.

A HALF MILE NORTH OF HELENA'S RIVER PARK IS BUCK ISLAND WHICH OFFERS THE KIND OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE IMMORTALIZED BY MARK TWAIN IN TOM SAWYER AND HUCK FIN. HARDWOOD FORESTS, PLUS BIRD WATCHING AND CAMPING.

WHEN AUDUBON CAME TO ARKANSAS IN THE LATE 1700s AND CAME UP THE MISSISSIPPI AND THEN WENT UP TO POINT CHICO HERE IN ARKANSAS AND SAW THE IVORY-BILL WOODPECKER, IT'S EXCITING TO ME A HUNDRED YEARS LATER THIS IS ON THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TRYING TO DO THE SAME WORK THAT HE WAS ABOUT IN PROTECTING THE NATION'S FLY WAY AND CONNECT PEOPLE TO THIS RESOURCE. SO, WHEN I CANOED THE RIVER THIS MORNING AT 5 O'CLOCK AND WE FLOATED DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI, I THINK HOW FABULOUS IT WOULD BE IF EVERY KID IN THIS COMMUNITY GOT TO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE, IF THEY GOT TO SEE THE EGRIT AND THE GREAT BLUE HERRON. THEY WOULD THINK, I LIVE IN A SPECIAL PLACE. WHEN YOU CAN LOOK AT THE NATURAL WORLD WHERE YOU LIVE AND THINK, I LIVE IN A SPECIAL, BEAUTIFUL PLACE, IT MAKES ALL KINDS OF CONNECTIONS. OF COURSE IT CONNECTS TO ART AND IT OF COURSE IT CONNECTS TO RECREATION, BUT IT MAKES A STRONG CONNECTION TO CIVIC PRIDE AND RESPONSIBILITY AND TO MY MIND ONE OF THE THINGS I'M REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT IS, YOU KNOW, ARE WE CONNECTING KIDS TO SCIENCE IN A WAY THAT MAKES THEM EVEN WANT TO LEARN IT. SO, TO ME THIS IS AN EXCITING PLACE TO DO EDUCATION. AND, SO, WHEN I WAS ASKED TO COME HERE AND HELP AND WORK ON THE TEAM TO HELP DESIGN THE KIOSK AND KENNELS, I LOVED THAT THE COMMUNITY SAID, OKAY, WE'VE GOT THIS HISTORY, LA SOTO WAS HERE, WE HAVE NATIVE AMERICANS HERE, THE CIVIL WAR HOOER. CROWLEY'S RIDGE IS DOWN HERE. IT'S POURED ON THE MISSISSIPPI AND EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER HERE. IT'S JUST A MARVELOUS OPPORTUNITY TO MIX CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, AND NATURAL HISTORY AND TEACH PEOPLE THAT WHAT A FUTURE WE CAN HAVE IF WE VALUE PLACES LIKE THIS AND CELEBRATE THEM AND USE THEM IN OUR SCHOOLS AND IN OUR TOURISM AND GET OUT AND SEE THEM. ♪♪ ♪♪

SO, CHECK OUT FOR YOURSELF HELENA'S RIVER PARK OR BETTER YET TAKE A FLOAT ON THE MIGHTY MISSISSIP. FOR MORE ON THESE DESTINATIONS OR OTHERS OR ORDER A COPY OF OUR EPISODE, GO TO THE WEBSITE AETN.ORG/EXPLORING ARKANSAS. WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE OF "EXPLORING ARKANSAS". ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

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