Chuck Haralson, Ken Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism on Wednesday (Jan. 4) announced two planned inductees to the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame.

Chuck Haralson, former chief photographer for Parks and Tourism, and author Ken Smith will be recognized during a luncheon March 13, during the 43rd-annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. The conference will run March 12-14.

Haralson worked in the photography department at Parks and Tourism for more than 30 years, beginning his career as a darkroom technician in 1977 and becoming chief photographer five years later.

In addition to providing thousands of photographs for the tourism department’s library and for billboards, postcards and calendars statewide, Haralson has had photos published in National Geographic Traveler, Audubon Magazine, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Women’s Day, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, according to a Parks and Tourism press release.

Smith is a former civil engineer and park planner for the National Park Service from 1962 to 1974 and education director for The Ozark Society from 1974 to 1977.

He is also the author of the “Buffalo River Handbook,” published in 2004, and “The Buffalo River Country,” published in1967. The parks department said his book played a key role in gaining attention for the Buffalo, which helped promote the river as a tourism destination and led to its establishment as Buffalo National River in 1972.

He is also a leader of the Buffalo River Foundation.

“Smith has dedicated his life to tireless advocacy on behalf of the Buffalo, devoting countless hours to building trails and promoting conservation of the river,” according to the press release.

Hall of Fame induction is intended to honor individuals “who have been actively involved in tourism for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole,” according to the Parks and Tourism press release.

More information on the Governor’s Conference on Tourism is available at www.arkansas.com/governors-conference.

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