Newton County Beautiful Heart of the Ozarks
Newton County is a rugged, mountainous, rural and remote area of Arkansas where the majority of its 8,330 residents are spread out over 820 scenic square miles. Most of the private lands are surrounded by large tracts of Ozark National Forest and Buffalo National River public lands, creating many isolated homesteads with no large central town and only several smaller towns. These conditions along with the lack of public transportation make it very difficult for like minded residents around the County to communicate and build community and friendship. Additionally, there is little industry and few economic opportunities. However the natural resources are outstanding and unique and provide great opportunites for enjoyment, health and economic growth. The primary goal of the HIKE! Partnership is to help young residents get healthy, share fun and experiences, and promote better economic conditions in the area by creating a community-based Club emphasizing these activities and values.
Traditional approaches to encourage youth activity and promote good health typically utilize centrally based community facilities and/or athletic centers complete with classes, clubs and group events. Because this is not feasible in Newton County, HIKE! was developed to encourage and foster community among young people based upon having fun, learning and exploring the unique natural area of Newton County.
Fortunately, much of Newton County is public land managed by either the Ozark National Forest, or the National Park Service/Buffalo National River beautiful and scenic and contains lots of land and other scenic hiking trails provides opportunities for young people to lead more active lifestyles.
HIKE! encourages kids around the County and elsewhere get together for outdoor fun, to learn, to connect and share experiences while improving their health and well-being. HIKE! helps kids create and participate in a real community. As the HIKE! website expands, online groups will form, Members will be able to add content like pictures, videos, blogs, stories. The website will track activities, participation, and benefits. Contests will begin. Prizes will be available.