For five decades I have been an avid outdoorsman and believe that we must protect our public lands, such as national parks and wilderness, so that her future generations can learn about our nation's history and see the beauty of our extraordinary country.

I had this in mind when I introduced H.R. 2611, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Boundary Modification Act, which exemplifies my commitment to history, preservation, and conservation. I was joined in sponsoring this important measure by the House and Senate Arkansas delegation and my friend, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). The bill passed by unanimous consent in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the president. This measure expands the National Historic Site designation to the houses across the street from Central High School because of the importance of the streetscape in the events that unfolded in September 1957. Already, this bill is helping to preserve these homes to ensure they will forever stand is a living monument to the Little Rock Nine’s brave actions to integrate Central High School.

In 2018, I successfully drafted and passed legislation that expanded the Flatside Wilderness Area located in Perry County. My goal was to make the area more accessible to visitors and to ensure the Flatside Wilderness remains an integral part of what makes Arkansas the “Natural State”. President Trump signed my Flatside Wilderness Act into law on January 10, 2019. In the act, I named the 640-acre addition for former second congressional district Congressman Ed Bethune, a distinguished conservationist and the legislative father of the original Flatside Wilderness Act, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The act also initiated a study by the U.S. Forest Service of approximately 2,000 acres adjoining the Flatside Wilderness to determine if these qualify for inclusion as well.

I was proud to be an original cosponsor on the land and water conservation fund (LWCF) legislation that improves public lands management, protects cherished landscapes, and increases public access for recreation while protecting private property rights. This bill also included a permanent reauthorization of the LWCF. It was signed into law on March 12, 2019.

Also, I was very pleased to be an original cosponsor of the Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act, which will reduce the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service and ensure our National Parks remain attractive places for all Americans to visit. This bill was included as a part of the Great American Outdoors Act, which has passed the Senate, and will come back to the House for approval in July.