Recognizing Great American Outdoors Month

  • French Fave Headshot
Recognizing Great American Outdoors Month
by Rep. French Hill
The Saline Courier
June 29, 2022

Recognizing Great American Outdoors Month

From fishing and kayaking, to hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and spelunking, Arkansas really lives up to its name as The Natural State. June is recognized as Great Outdoors Month – an opportunity to raise awareness for the countless opportunities for outdoor recreation across central Arkansas and to highlight my work in Congress to furthering conservation.

Over Memorial Day week, my family and I spent some time on the Buffalo River. This year marks 50 years since the Buffalo was designated the United States’ first national river in 1972. The cool, green water paired with the tall, lush foliage provides a fun and beautiful backdrop to a day outside with family. Growing up in central Arkansas, I’ve been paddling along the Buffalo for years – a pastime I’ve enjoyed sharing with my own children. I am thankful for laws like the Great American Outdoors Act, which I supported and was signed by August 2020 by President Trump, that will help preserve the beauty of the river and the park for generations to come.

Specifically, this law provides $6.5 billion over five years to the U.S. National Park Service to address neglected public lands and waters and an additional $3 billion to maintain and improve public lands, including recreational sites across the country. This bill has directly benefitted National Forests, National Park Service sites, recreational sites, and land in Arkansas.

Since entering Congress, I’ve prioritized protecting and enhancing our natural lands here in Arkansas. I introduced the Flatside Wilderness Enhancement Act, which added 640 acres of national forest in Perry and Saline counties to Flatside. This provision also directed the U.S. Forest Service to study additional existing forest lands located in Perry County and adjacent to the Flatside Wilderness. Signed into law by President Trump in 2019, the Flatside Wilderness established the beautiful Bethune Woods, named after the Congressman Ed Bethune, who worked diligently back in 1983 to create the area.

In early June, I voted for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan bill supported by conservation and sportsmen’s leaders to bolster conservation efforts in Arkansas and across the nation. This bill will provide funds to support state agencies like the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and locally led conservation efforts for wildlife and habitat. This bill will make needed investments in our natural areas for current and future generations of Arkansans to enjoy.

As a ninth-generation Arkansan and avid outdoorsman for five decades, I have enjoyed getting to share my love of the outdoors and the beauties of the Natural State with my family. During holidays and weekends, I aim to spend my free time outdoors – whether hunting with my children, rock climbing with friends, or hiking with my wife, Martha. Being in nature allows for us to have a brief reset to simply appreciate the beauty of our surroundings, as many discovered during the pandemic. Thankfully, Arkansans continue to take advantage of the beauty of our state and the amenities offered by our parks.

I am proud of my work in Congress on behalf of central Arkansas and the great outdoors here in Arkansas. I will continue working with my colleagues to preserve and maintain these beautiful lands that make up our Natural State.

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.