The Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service is establishing its first office in the state of Arkansas. It will be located alongside the Fay Jones School of Architecture in Vol Walker Hall, under renovation, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
The program, commonly called “Rivers and Trails,” is the community assistance arm of the National Park Service. It supports community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation projects. The Rivers and Trails program does not fund projects; it provides technical and professional assistance for communities to help them conserve rivers, preserve open space and develop trails and greenways. The program offers strategic planning, partnership development, trail and water planning, project guidance, funding strategies, public engagement, meeting facilitation, marketing assistance, open space conservation and greenway plans.
Guy Headland, outdoor recreation planner, will be responsible for projects in Arkansas, southern Missouri and southern Kansas. He will operate from an office provided by the Fay Jones School of Architecture, the administrative offices of which are located in the E.J. Ball building near the downtown square. Headland’s office will move into Vol Walker Hall once renovations on that building are completed in fall 2013.
Headland’s position is funded by the National Park Service.
The Rivers and Trails program office was previously located in St. Louis. Terry Eastin of Fayetteville worked with the office on a trail project in Little Rock, in her capacity as co-owner of Eastin Outdoors Inc., a company that plans, designs and builds trails. Eastin began talking with National Park Service officials three years ago about relocating the office to Fayetteville. Eastin also presented the idea of housing the office at the University of Arkansas, and worked with Jeff Shannon, dean of the Fay Jones School, who strongly supported the concept and helped see it to fruition.
“It’s wonderful to have such a tremendous advocate for natural and cultural sustainability as NPS on campus, and a relationship between the Fay Jones School and Rivers and Trails is a natural,” Shannon said.
Eastin said Headland’s presence will be good for university students, giving landscape architecture students, for instance, access to his expertise for presentations, project reviews and possible internships. Headland may also be able to connect students to community projects for design studios and research.
“It’s a huge benefit to the university, the students and the community,” Eastin said.
Headland also can begin interacting with local groups, such as the Illinois River Watershed Partnership, the Northwest Arkansas Bicycle Coalition, the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, as well as city officials in the region.
“The city of Fayetteville, and all of Northwest Arkansas, is pleased to welcome the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to the city of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas,” said Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
Richard Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, praised the move. “To have a Rivers and Trails office co-located within the Fay Jones School of Architecture is a perfect fit. It will give all of us in Arkansas another resource to help keep us The Natural State,” he said.
Guy Headland is the former owner of Headland Landscape Architecture in Springfield, Mo., and is a registered landscape architect in Missouri and an inactive license holder in Arkansas. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University.
His 11 years of experience include park and recreation master planning, trails design, campus master planning, streetscape design, and site design for schools, medical/dental clinics, entertainment venues and retail centers.
The National Park Service was his inspiration for studying landscape architecture in the hopes of promoting recreational opportunities for the broader public with a focus on good design and conservation principles.