Monday, February 1, 2016

Iron Ranger Challenge: Get a Move on in Arkansas National Parks!

Iron Ranger Challenge: Mile 0 

My name is John Kester III and you may have seen me mentioned in some of Johnnie's previous posts (see Dogwood Walking Spring Path; Mt. Kessler Greenways; Swimming Holes 2). I am grateful to Johnnie for introducing me to the awesome outdoors of Arkansas. I now have the privilege of posting on the Trails of Arkansas blog in the coming year to document my experience pursuing the Iron Ranger Challenge.

On January 1, 2016, the national parks of Arkansas kicked off the Iron Ranger Challenge ( — a year long program to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and encourage healthy and active lifestyles for park visitors.

Over the course of the year, visitors can choose to hike, bike, paddle, walk, run, or roll 100 miles in any or all of the Arkansas National Parks. Arkansas National Parks include: Arkansas Post National MemorialBuffalo National River; Central High School National Historic Site; Clinton Birthplace National Historical Site; Fort Smith National Historic SiteHot Springs National Park; Pea Ridge National Military Park; Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Visitors who complete 100 miles of activity will receive a special Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge commemorative award. 

As of January 7, over 400 people have signed up for the Iron Ranger Challenge!

To register for the Iron Ranger Challenge, simply enter your first name and email at the following website Once you confirm your subscription, you'll receive periodic emails with event details, training and wellness tips, and activity suggestions. On the first day of each month -- beginning February 1 -- you'll receive an email form to record your mileage for the previous month.

Buffalo National River Deputy Superintendent Laura Miller encourages visitors of all ages and fitness levels to participate in the Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge. "The National Parks in Arkansas have so much to offer. Visitors can see spectacular views paddling the Buffalo River, take a bicycle tour of President Clinton's hometown at the Clinton Birthplace Home, hike in the Ouachita Mountains and then relax with a thermal bath at Hot Springs National Park, and see places where history was made from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. There are so many great options in Arkansas, so get out and have fun." Source.

I will be posting at the end of each month to share the miles covered and my experiences during my treks. I have copied below some additional information about the monthly guided hikes in Hot Springs National Park and the social media outlets for the Iron Ranger Challenge. Please share any comments and feel free to share your experience in Arkansas National Parks this year!



Hot Springs National Park Hike, 1st Saturday of each month through December 2016

Social Media for Iron Ranger Challenge:

Pictured below: Johnnie and I after the annual Mt Kessler Trail Run 

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