The Salem Chamber of Commerce met at noon on Wednesday, April 28 and learned about the Ozark Heritage Trails project from representatives of the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council.
Bob Pest and Cathy Drew shared a map of the Ozark Heritage Trails, and explained how they would assist in bringing tourists to our region.
The tourist council operates a Web site at www.ozarkgateway.com that features the Heritage Trails and showcases attractions in the Arkansas Ozarks region.
Four trails are currently highlighted including:
* Rock N' Roll Highway -- The Arkansas Legislature made it official in March 2009, by designating a long section of old U.S. 67 as the "Arkansas Rock N' Roll Highway." During the 1950s, the roadhouses and liquor joints (that dotted this busy highway through northeast Arkansas) helped launch rising stars like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and others. Today, travelers may drive the same road and see many of the same sights that attracted the music stars who made this area a "hotbed of rock n' roll history."
* Eastern Trail History -- In the 1800s, steamboats made Jacksonport a thriving river port. During the Civil War, the town was occupied by both Confederate and Union forces because of its crucial locale. Jacksonport became the county seat of Jackson County in 1854, and construction of the stately, two-story brick courthouse began in 1869. The town began to decline in the 1880s when it was bypassed by the railroad. The county seat was moved to nearby Newport, and Jacksonport's stores, wharves and saloons soon vanished. Today, Jacksonport State Park's museums, 1872 courthouse, the nearby Mary Woods No. 2 sternwheel paddleboat, and interpretive programs share the story of this historic river port.
* Central Trail Shopping and Veterans Memorial -- Historic downtown Hardy is lined with unique shops stuffed with delights, custom leatherworks, fine antiques, hand-crafted musical instruments, Ozark pottery, artistic jewelry, nostalgic collections, colorful quilts, and inviting restaurants. The Ozark Classic Crafts Mall is a must-see, and home to the soon to be legendary "Round Tuits." While you are in the area, be sure to visit the Ash Flat Veterans Memorial, dedicated to the men and women who have selflessly served our country and her people in times of need.
* Western Trail Entertainment -- Main Street Batesville presents the 2nd Friday Wander & Wonder Walk, a monthly community arts and music celebration, featuring free live music in the downtown Pocket Park, April through October. Stop by the Batesville Area Arts Council gallery and be sure to visit at least a few of the nine antique stores downtown. The Kresge Gallery at Lyon College holds a monthly film series the last Monday of the month during the academic year, with a decided emphasis on animation and independent film.