Buffalo National River Multi-Track Athletic Program

Kayaker on Buffalo National River
Buffalo National River park offers a multi-track program that encourages athletic engagement and park activity with hikes, canoe trips, and a biathlon.

Buffalo National River engaged the Arkansas Department of Health to assist in coordinating a series of activities through the Hometown Health Initiative (HHI). This program worked to promote healthy lifestyles using Buffalo National River (BNR) as a venue to engage new audiences in outdoor recreation and volunteer service on hiking trails, BNR conducted community-wide outreach and promotional activities. This unprecedented approach combined partnership development, youth involvement and technology to achieve the goals of reducing health disparities by increasing trail use and building healthy relationships between BNR and the surrounding communities.

Concentrating on north-central Arkansas (six counties) and special needs populations, the park and partners offered a multi-track program that included: Park Prescriptions; scheduled monthly events such as hikes and canoe trips; flexible options allowing the park staff to tailor activities to the needs of specific groups; an Iron Ranger activity that motivated participants to travel by foot or boat a total of 100 miles within the Arkansas national and state parks within 2016; and an October biathlon.

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