Sanders, ADPHT, ADH Announce Outdoor Recreation Grant Awards

$500,000 awarded to projects in seven counties

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On Wednesday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined Secretary Shea Lewis, Secretary Renee Mallory and Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Katherine Andrews to present $500,000 in Outdoor Recreation Grants to projects in seven counties across the state. The Sanders Administration revived Great Strides after the program went dormant in 2017, fulfilling one of the recommendations of the Natural State Initiative. The funding for this grant program comes from Arkansas’ Tobacco Settlement Fund. 

“Great Strides is back and better than ever. I know that when deciding which applications to accept, the grant writing committee had a special focus: smaller Arkansas communities without robust access to outdoor recreation. What these projects lack in size they make up for in impact. This program goes a long way toward making sure that every corner of Arkansas – not just a few big cities – is a great place to live and raise a family,” said Governor Sanders. 

“The funds we are handing out today undoubtedly will enrich the quality of life for Arkansans statewide, fostering greater access to outdoor recreation,” Shea Lewis, Secretary of ADPHT, said. “Working with the Department of Health is an opportunity for a great partnership where we can leverage each other’s specialized knowledge and skills to promote a healthier, more active lifestyle for our residents and visitors.”

“The Arkansas Department of Health is thrilled to once again partner with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to grant awards in communities around our state and enable accessibility for outdoor activities. Designated outdoor trails and walking paths lead to healthier communities. Outdoor trails can improve our physical, mental, and social health and wellness. This well-being allows us to keep improving and making choices for a healthier lifestyle for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Our goal is for these grant awards to continue to positively impact the health of Arkansas communities,” Renee Mallory, Secretary of ADH, said.

“Today is a celebration of the partnership between the Office of Outdoor Recreation and the Department of Health with the goal of providing access to outdoor recreation at the local level and improving the overall quality of Arkansas’s outdoor recreation resources,” Katherine Andrews, Director of OOR, said

View photos from the event

The 2024 Great Strides grant recipients are:

  • Emerson, $93,735, Purple Hull Pea Park
  • Humnoke, $43,942, City of Humnoke Park Trail
  • Brinkley, $66,340, Brinkley City Park
  • Alexander, $96,990, Alexander City Park
  • Lewisville, $99,857, Lewisville City Park
  • Sevier County, $8,330.08, DeQueen Lake Trail
  • Tyronza, $78,424, Tyronza Park
Recipient communities will use these grant funds to establish health and fitness trails that encourage physical activity and provide health benefits through safe and easily-accessible facilities.
The Office of Outdoor Recreation received twenty-one grant applications from fifteen counties across the state totaling $1,611,270.28 in requested funds for fiscal year 2024, with funding to be disbursed totaling $500,000. On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, seven projects were chosen for funding equaling $491,118.08.

Outdoor Recreation Grants Program
The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) resides within the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation and is tasked with the promotion and facilitation of public outdoor recreation in Arkansas. To help accomplish these goals, the ORGP offers technical and funding assistance for land acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation facilities to local governments throughout the state. Funding for Matching and FUN Park grants is provided by a portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Click here, to learn more about the ORGP or call Terrance Youngblood at 501-682-1227.

The Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation
The Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation works to leverage the state’s natural assets to grow the outdoor recreation economy. The office focuses on economic development, education and workforce training, conservation and stewardship, and public health and wellness to ensure the state’s strategic growth as a place where outdoor businesses and recreation communities can flourish.

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism.

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