With state budgets shrinking, tourism departments across the nation are seeking novel ways to lure travelers this summer.
Arkansas is leading the charge by combining history and motorcycling with a tie in to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. They’re hoping a new Heritage Trail created to make battle sites easily accessible by motorcycle will give them a much needed bump in visitors to the state.
Eight Civil War campaigns in the southern state are designated on the trail produced by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
A brochure with a map lays out how those on motorcycle can visit the battle sites and pay tribute to the men who lost their lives in the Civil War by traveling along similar routes as those taken by the troops.
The first 1,000 bikers to travel on all eight routes will get a commemorative “I Rode the Civil War Trail Arkansas” patch. Their road trip will also be chronicled on the state’s tourism website, state tourism officials said.
The state’s Civil War sites include Prairie Grove, one of the most intact Civil War battlefields in the nation, where Union and Confederate troops saw intense fighting on Dec. 7, 1862.
Other trails featured on the map for motorcyclists lead to Pea Ridge and follow the Little Rock Campaign, the Attack on Pine Bluff, the Confederate Approach to Helena, the Camden Expedition, Price’s Raid and Ozark to the Battle of Fayetteville.
Motorcycle tourism is a popular way to explore rural locations around the United States and states are urging businesses to become biker-friendly by opening up spots designated for motorcycles and creating patches and stickers for enthusiasts’ gear.
The Arkansas effort was announced at the 37th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
Other Civil War sites to see on a motorcycle. Civil War Travel
Visit the most infamous Civil War POW Camp, Fort Sumter in Motorcycle Journeys Through the American South.