Gov. Hutchinson visits dedication of St. Francis Water Trail

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 8:04 PM CDT
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POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - There was a lot of excitement at the Oak Donnick Landing in Trumann Wednesday morning, as about 100 people gathered to celebrate the dedication of the new St. Francis Sunken Land water trail.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson came out for the event, talking about the importance of the trail, and how areas like it made him fond of the region.

“I grew up in west Arkansas and loved the Ozarks,” Hutchinson said. “But, over my time as governor and representing the state, I’ve fallen in love with the Delta.”

Gov. Hutchinson also said on social media late Wednesday that the trail will help with tourism in Northeast Arkansas.

St. Francis River Association executive director Neal Vickers said his earliest memory on the river came from when he was four years old. He is now 64 and has been working to give back to the area that gave so much to him in his childhood.

“When you start and when you’re a child, you use things like this and you enjoy them and realize how great and wonderful they are,” Vickers said. “It’s really a hidden treasure out here, it’s a sportsman’s paradise.”

With the opening of the new water trail, Vickers and local officials are also hoping for more tourism to the Sunken Lands. The new trail runs 10 miles long and connects to St. Francis Lake that covers about 35,000 acres in total space.

The New Madrid earthquakes that rocked the region in 1811-12 helped to create the Sunken Lands.

The ground along the St. Francis River dropped 6-8 feet over an area of about 30 miles and was flooded – hence the name “Sunken Lands.”

Speakers at the dedication also hyped up how great the water trail is for fishing and duck hunters, saying it’s a well-kept secret that’s now ready to be unveiled to everyone.

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