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    Mount Magazine is the highest point in the Natural State

    9:50 PM, Oct 7, 2010   |    comments
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    "And of course were over 2,200 feet above the surrounding valley. So the elevation gain is quite impressive."

    Impressive - it's a good word to describe the views from Mount Magazine. On a crisp clear morning, you can see nearby towns, chicken farms, or even mountains in neighboring Oklahoma.

    They say from the top of Mount Magazine you can see 1/8th of the Natural State.

    "The first settlers started arriving right after the Civil War in the 1870's and homesteaded up here and cleared land and actually had farms. At one time there were 25 different families living here on top of mount magazine," says Park Interpreter Don Simons, who  has been on Mount Magazine for 10 years.

    He says the cooler temperatures up here made the area quite popular with visitors. By 1900, an old structure served as the Skycrest Inn, the first hotel on the mountain.

    In 1940, a lodge built by the Works Project Administration and operated by the forest service opened on the mountain. The 26 rooms stayed booked during the summers. But a fire destroyed the lodge in 1971.

    In 2006 the state completed a new lodge, considered the crown jewel of the state parks. And the mountain top is as popular now as ever before

    Simons says, "Yeah I don't like to over analyze it. I just like to get out and enjoy it. And just like everybody else, I have to come out here and make sure the scenery is still out there."

    As the layers of green fade into a gentle blue, one can see the plume of Arkansas Nuclear One in the distance. Lake Dardanelle is some 23 miles away.

    To the south, Highway 10 is in clear sight, and yet it seems so far away. And you find that in spite of the brand new lodge and impressive surroundings -- people still socialize pretty much the way they did 100 years ago to pass the time up here.

    Lodge activities director Brandy Oliver explains, "There are a lot of people who come from local places on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. They eat dinner in the lodge restaurant and they just kind of sit on the porch and talk to the people who come through visiting from different places. A lot of people enjoy doing that."

    Join the thousands of others who have visited Mount Magazine State Park. The state's highest point just may leave you Amazed By Arkansas.

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