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Arkansas’s First State Park

By Linda Tancs

Rising 1,120 feet above the Arkansas River Valley, it’s easy to understand why Petit Jean Mountain would provide the inspiration for creation of Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean. It hosts one of the largest bluff shelters in the state, a place that Native Americans called home over 1,000 years ago. The park is also a certified Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Site because tribes passed by Petit Jean Mountain in the 1800s during their forced migration to present-day Oklahoma. Don’t miss the park’s centerpiece, Mather Lodge, providing lodging, a meeting and function space and a restaurant for park visitors.

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