From my vantage point, there is a constant hum of activity at the Division of Arkansas Heritage. Since 1975, the professionals within the department have been tasked with identifying, protecting and promoting our state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. Arkansas’s story is rich and full and we have the important job of telling it.
When Governor Hutchinson was inaugurated in 2015, he encouraged agency leaders to “do more with what you have.” By being good stewards of taxpayer resources, we have protected existing services and programs, and expanded our reach in important ways. For example, in 2016 we were gifted the oldest public structure in Arkansas, the Jacob Wolf House in Baxter County. This year we completed a series of improvements to the circa 1829 two-story dogtrot structure and grounds, and it is now open and ready for the public to enjoy fully. If you aren’t already, I hope you’ll become familiar with this beautiful piece of Arkansas history.
Likewise, in 2018 we were able to partner with The Nature Conservancy and a private donor to acquire 373 acres in western Pulaski County. Our 73rd Natural Area, Rattlesnake Ridge, conserves important features of the Arkansas heritage landscape including the southeastern bat and Wright’s Cliffbrake, a western desert fern. The ridge is the watershed divide between the Big Maumelle and Little Maumelle rivers and is one of the most dramatic rocky summits in the eastern Ouachita Mountains. I encourage you to experience firsthand the beauty and majesty of Rattlesnake Ridge.
These are but two examples of our work. I am consistently amazed and encouraged by the passion our Heritage professionals bring to their jobs. I hope this community report gives you a glimpse of the fullness of our efforts. We are very excited about joining our efforts to protect our natural and cultural heritage with the work of our sister agencies of parks and tourism. Our common goals to conserve and present the wonders that make Arkansas the great state that it is will be an excellent adventure. We appreciate your support and your partnership.