Woodpecker to be High on Agenda When Tourism Commission Meets in Jonesboro This Week

MAY 16, 2005 - Posted at 7:49 a.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - The discovery that the ivory-billed woodpecker still lives in an east Arkansas swamp will be high on the state Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission's agenda when it meets this week in Jonesboro.  State Parks & Tourism Director Richard Davies said he will update the commission on state efforts to accomodate woodpecker tourists when the panel meets Thursday and Friday.

The Cache River bottomlands, where the woodpecker was rediscovered, are suddenly getting unprecedented attention from people who want to visit.  Some want to see only the habitat, while others hope to glimpse the ivory-billed woodpecker itself, which was thought to be extinct until a few weeks ago.

The bird had last been sighted in 1944, but on April 28 scientists and conservationists announced they had confirmed the bird had been sighted in east Arkansas.  The announcement drew worldwide attention and the buzz is continuing.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)