MAMMOTH SPRING -- Mammoth Spring State Park hit the big time earlier this month when they were featured on KTHV channel 11 out of Little Rock.
KTHV reporter Mike Duncan and his crew spent several days in Mammoth Spring interviewing the park staff.
State park facility manager Adam Davis said the feature on the park aired Aug. 1 and 2 and by that weekend several people from the Little Rock area visited the park and mentioned they came because of the television feature.
"Park Superintendent Dave Jackson, Assistant Superintendent Glenda Pryor, Mayor Jean Pace and Depot Museum Director Rose Pierce were all interviewed by the the television reporter," Davis said.
During the television feature, Duncan mentioned that Mammoth Spring is the largest spring in Arkansas and the 10th largest in the world. He said it is a constant 58 degrees and has drawn tourist for nearly two centuries.
"Where the spring comes out of the earth is just a stone's throw from Missouri. Lots of water gushes out of the ground, somewhere around 10 million gallons an hour," he said.
Duncan explained to viewers, " The water is rainwater that collects in the southern plain of Missouri. It trickles down below the ground and collects into caverns and cavities. Then it burst forth in a channel that spouts to the surface at Mammoth Spring."
Jackson also said that trout fishing on the Spring River is excellent. "There are two hatcheries that feed off the cold water, one federal and one state. They raise rainbow and cutthroat trout," Jackson said.
Jackson told the KTHV reporter that people began gathering in the area in the early 1800s. "In 1820 William Linley officially discovered the spring and the discovery prompted an era of settlement in the area. Industry started to come in the Mammoth Spring area around 1836. "A fresh source of drinking water is always a good draw for people, and the fast running river also promoted transportation," he said.
The park superintendent also told Duncan that fast running water is good for something else -- electricity. "A generating station was built in the 1880s to draw industry to the area. Soon, limestone was extracted, and a grist mill and cotton factory blossomed along the banks of the Spring River. A generating station built in 1927 continued to produce electricity for Mammoth Spring and five other communities until 1972," Jackson said.
Fishing and electricity are not the only two attractions mentioned by the television feature. It included the old train depot that has been turned into a museum.
"It was water from the spring that attracted settlers to the area, but it was the railroad that brought settlers here in numbers," Duncan said.
He told viewers the original train station has undergone an extensive renovation and now lives on as a museum.
"The trains ran between Springfield and Memphis. The Nettleton and Culp Hotels provided rooms in the city for the early visitors. They are both gone now, but visitors can still get a glimpse of life in the early 1900s at the Frisco Depot at the park," Duncan said.
The feature on the state park was produced by Kat Robinson and Carol Phillips was the executive producer.
Davis said the television station has been featuring the top 40 summer spots in the state for 40 weeks. He said Mammoth Spring State Park rated in the top state parks in the state.
To view the feature on the park go to the Web site www.todaysthv.com/sponsored/amazedbyar.