“Take A Hike” is a weekly series that examines diversity in the outdoors. In each installment, we’ll highlight one of the Natural State’s 52 state parks and talk to BIPOC Arkansans about what they enjoy about spending time in nature.
"There is something about the outdoors that attunes my energy to a higher state of peace and serenity whenever I'm in it."
Name: Meosha Manuel
Hometown: West Helena, Arkansas
Currently Lives In: West Helena, Arkansas
Occupation: Freelance Journalist
Favorite Outdoor Space: Storm Creek Lake
What’s one outdoor place you want to explore, but haven’t yet?
The Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock is one outdoor opportunity I would love to get the chance to explore.
What do you enjoy about the outdoors?
There is something about the outdoors that attunes my energy to a higher state of peace and serenity whenever I’m in it.
Do you prefer spending time outdoors alone or with friends? Why? I prefer adventuring the outdoors alone because it allows me to connect and appreciate nature more than out with friends.
What is one of your favorite memories of exploring nature? One of my favorite outdoor memories is kayaking with Helena Adventure Company at Beer Creek Lake. I am a former member of their first crew. One project we had was to promote a local park, so we kayaked on the lake and took footage for a promotional video via drones. Later, that video got nominated for a Delta Byways award.
ABOUT THE PARK
Walking or riding along the trail, you may encounter a variety of wildlife and plants at Delta Heritage Trail State Park. When the rail-to-trail project is complete, it will be 84.5 miles long. Eventually, the trail will cross the White and Arkansas rivers.
There are currently eight trailheads at Lexa, Barton, Lick Creek, Lake View, Elaine, Watson, Rohwer and Arkansas City. The Barton trailhead is located at Delta Heritage Trail State Park’s visitor center. There are 24-hour access restrooms (no showers), five primitive campsites with tent pads, picnic tables, standing grills and a community water spigot. The visitor center also has a gift shop. Bikes are available to rent and interpretive programming is offered. The Pedal & Paddle Tour is a bike ride from Barton to Lakeview (about 12 miles one way), then kayaking on Old Town Lake, and then a bike ride back to Barton.
The Arkansas City Trailhead includes a multi-use building designed in the style of historic rail depots that houses administrative functions, bathhouse facilities and an open pavilion. Visitors can also enjoy picnic areas, a water fountain, a bicycle repair station, two oversized tent pads for camping visitors and a large group charcoal grill. Interpretative elements provide information on the DHT, background about the town’s history and local recreational offerings.
The trail is being built in phases by Arkansas State Parks. When completed, the rails to trails portion will stretch from six miles west of Helena to Rohwer. From there, the trail will extend via the Mississippi River Levee to Arkansas City.