“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.
"The outdoors gives me the freedom to move without restriction. I can see as far as my eyes will take me."
Name: Kelton Ray
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
Currently Lives In: Little Rock, Arkansas
Favorite Outdoor Space: Etiwanda Falls in San Bernardino County, California
What’s one outdoor place you want to explore, but haven’t yet?
The Grand Canyon
What do you enjoy about the outdoors?
I’m able to disconnect from society for a few hours if need be. We live on a planet that is very much a living, breathing creature. It’s fascinating how much we as humans have in common with the place we call home. I wish we took better care of her. The outdoors gives me the freedom to move without restriction. I can see as far as my eyes will take me.
How often do you try to spend time outdoors?
If the temperature is above 60 degrees and free from any precipitation, I’m more than likely going to be outside. I’m a Hip Hop artist. When creating my album, The More You Know, I spent a lot of time outdoors to find clarity on where exactly I wanted to go creatively with that particular project.
What is one of your earliest memories of exploring nature?
I’m not sure if this makes the cut as an “early” memory, but I was in elementary school. We took a field trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns. I thought it was so cool that we were able to explore underground, and seeing stalactites and stalagmites up close and personal was so cool!
ABOUT THE PARK
This peaceful park is located on Lake Catherine, one of five lakes in the Ouachita Mountain region. The only full-service marina on the lake is at the park and open in the summertime for bait, snacks, drinks and fuel. Boat rentals are available year-round. The park also includes a launch ramp, pavilion, picnic sites, playgrounds and a marked trail that leads to a waterfall.
The park has 20 fully-equipped cabins, including one two-bedroom cabin with a patio overlooking the water and private access to the lake from its own fishing pier. There are also many native stone and wood buildings on site. The history of these structures dates back to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The park offers 70 campsites (47 Class AAA and 23 Class B), six primitive tent sites, one Rent-A-Camp and one Rent-A-Yurt. Many of these sites are on the lakeshore. Park interpreters offer hikes, lake tours and programs year-round. Guided horseback rides are offered seasonally.