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June 18, 2008

Kimberly J. Williams, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism


If high gas prices have you looking for a great vacation close to home, consider bringing your family to Mountain View. A long-time favorite of visitors throughout the region, the town offers a variety of things to do: hiking and biking epic trails, listening to toe-tapping music at one of many musical and variety shows, shopping their eclectic stores or just enjoying the splendor of nature.

Arkansas was a study in severe weather this past spring. Flooding and devastating tornados scarred many communities throughout the state. More than 60 of Arkansas’s counties were declared disaster areas. On February 5, an F4 tornado hit Mountain View. The National Weather Service followed the storm for 123 miles, further than any other tornado since 1950. Luckily, Mountain View’s numerous attractions escaped harm.

“We were very lucky that the Ozark Folk Center was not damaged,” said Grady Spann, superintendent of Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View. “Visitors have been enjoying the Folk Center all spring and we look forward to welcoming many more throughout the summer and fall season.

The Ozark Folk Center, one of Arkansas’s 52 state parks, preserves Ozark heritage. The Center offers visitors an insight into the culture of the Ozarks including music, herbs, folk arts and crafts. In addition to its on-going programs and workshops, this state park has a summer filled with music and song, including a tribute to Grandpa Jones and concerts featuring the Tennessee Gentlemen, Doc Watson, David Holt and Big Smith. On any given day, visitors can watch, learn and listen as extraordinary artisans and musicians are featured throughout the park’s campus. To learn more about the Ozark Folk Center and its programs and events, visit www.OzarkFolkCenter.com or phone 870-269-3851.

Blanchard Springs Caverns, located 15 miles northwest of Mountain View, is another of the area’s most popular draws. Located 20 stories underground, Blanchard Springs Caverns boasts a steady temperature of 58 degrees year-round, a pleasant change from the warmer summer temperatures of Arkansas outdoors.

“Like the staff at the Ozark Folk Center, Forest Service employees were involved in the tornado recovery efforts within the community,” said Cave Administrator Bob Reeves. “Fortunately Blanchard Springs Caverns was not affected by the tornado. The flooding in early spring did damage to some of the campgrounds near the cave, but they are now repaired. Everything is open and we are ready to serve our visitors.”

Blanchard Springs Caverns, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, offers visitors a choice of three tours, ranging from a handicapped-accessible ½ mile hike to a more strenuous adventure in which participants must crawl on their hands and knees and move along very steep slopes. For more information on Blanchard Springs Caverns, log on to www.BlanchardCaveTours.com or phone 888-757-2246.

To learn more about Mountain View, visit www.MountainViewCC.org or call 888-679-2859.
To plan a trip to Mountain View or anywhere in The Natural State, visit www.Arkansas.com or phone 800-NATURAL.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"