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Bill to expand Flatside Wilderness passes US Senate

December 24, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Last-minute lobbying by U.S. Sen. John Boozman led to the Senate passing a bill that aims to expand an area of natural public land in Arkansas, despite a partial government shutdown .

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that senators approved the Flatside Wilderness Enhancement Act on Saturday and it now awaits a signature by President Donald Trump.

If signed, the act will add 640 acres to the existing 9,541-acre site, a popular outdoor recreation spot less than 50 miles northwest of Little Rock.

The extra acreage would be known as the Bethune Woods-Flatside Wilderness, in honor of former U.S. Rep. Ed Bethune who championed the creation of the original Flatside Wilderness and fought to preserve a total of 91,100 acres of wilderness across the state. President Ronald Reagan signed the Arkansas Wilderness Act into law on Oct. 19, 1984.

“It is satisfying, after all these years, to see Congress reaffirm its support for Arkansas wilderness. As for the name change: I’m humbled,” Bethune wrote in an email.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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