Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst recently announced the selection of Katherine Andrews to serve as the first director of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation. Sec. Hurst also named the 10 members of the new Arkansas Outdoor Recreation Advisory Board appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism has three major divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism. Arkansas State Parks manages 52 state parks and promotes Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas Heritage preserves and promotes Arkansas’s natural and cultural history and heritage through four historic museums and four cultural preservation agencies. Arkansas Tourism improves the state’s economy by generating travel and enhancing the image of the state.
The Office of Outdoor Recreation is tasked with leading the state’s efforts to grow the outdoor recreation economy, work with partners toward improved health outcomes, and promote awareness of the complete range of recreational experiences the state has to offer.
“The Office of Outdoor Recreation provides critically needed support as we look to leverage our recreational assets in Arkansas and grow the state’s economy and tourism value,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “Katherine is a native Arkansan and an avid participant in outdoor recreation herself. These qualities combined with her experience in small business and entrepreneurship development make her a natural fit for this job.”
The Arkansas Outdoor Recreation Advisory Board will provide assistance and support to Sec. Hurst and Director Andrews to inform their work advancing the state’s outdoor recreation economy. Gov. Hutchinson has appointed the following members to the board:
- George Dunklin of Humphrey
- Mike Mills of Ponca
- Ernie Lechuga of Springdale
- Will Montgomery of Little Rock
- Susan Peacock of Rogers
- Bill Barnes of Mt. Ida
- Steve Straessle of Little Rock
- Clint Gaston of Lakeview
- Amanda Herget of Jonesboro
- Robin McClendon of Monticello
“We’ve seen substantial increased visitation to Arkansas’s parks and public lands during the pandemic, underscoring the value of our natural assets,” said Secretary Hurst. “I look forward to working with Katherine to establish the Office of Outdoor Recreation as a resource to enhance the state’s economy in ways that will help attract businesses and families as well as enhance the livability of our communities across the state.”
Andrews has been at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission since 2016, serving first as a project manager, then as the director of small business and entrepreneurship development. She will begin serving as Director for the Office of Outdoor Recreation on Nov. 29 at a salary of $87,000.
The date for the initial meeting of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Board has not yet been set.