Travelrific® Travel Journal

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The South’s Oldest Forest

By Linda Tancs

Rich in history, Ouachita National Forest is the South’s oldest national forest. Encompassing a staggering 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, the land was originally known as the Arkansas National Forest when it was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907. It’s framed by the Ouachita Mountains, once explored by the Spanish and French. In fact, “Ouachita” is the French spelling of the Indian word “Washita,” which means “good hunting grounds.” As you might imagine, the rugged mountain landscape (the only mountain range running east to west, rather than the north to south direction of the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains) makes trails a focal point. The premier trail is the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, spanning 192 miles across the forest’s entire length, with elevations ranging from 600 to 2,600 feet. Spur trails connect to various recreation areas and points of interest.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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