Ozark Mountain Gravel Ride

New Rural Recreational Roads Initiative Expands Rider Access, Creates Economic Opportunity

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

Last week’s announcement by Tom Walton at Axios’ Recreation Economy forum designates specific gravel routes for recreation, expanding cycling access in Northwest Arkansas 


BENTONVILLE, ARK. – Nov. 15, 2022 – To build on the economic, cultural, and environmental benefits of outdoor recreation investments in Northwest Arkansas and across the state, Tom Walton announced the Arkansas Rural Recreational Roads initiative or Arkansas R3.   

The effort will designate specific gravel cycling routes on country roads throughout Northwest Arkansas – and eventually the state — to preserve them and maximize their value. These gravel and dirt roads provide vital connections to farms, communities, and commerce. Learn more at ArkansasR3.com.  

“Gravel is the fastest-growing form of cycling and is more accessible to beginners than mountain biking,” Walton said. “A significant number of people have access to this activity right from their front porch.”  

Delta Gravel Ride
Delta Gravel Ride

Walton, the co-founder of Runway Group, says that investments in outdoor recreation are about building momentum. The focus substantially drives the economy and creates memorable outdoor experiences for everyone by providing access.   

Mullet Run - Northwoods Trails - Hot Springs

“We believe that active, better-connected communities build a more vibrant place to live and work,” said Walton. “Our investments in recreation, real estate, art, and hospitality all play a role in creating a more dynamic community, and the Arkansas R3 initiative will continue to build on that progress.”   

The commitment to being a desired outdoor destination has paid economic dividends. In Arkansas, the outdoor recreation industry contributes $2.9 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, supports more than 96,000 jobs, and generates nearly $9.7 billion in consumer building, according to Arkansas Money and Politics. Nationwide, the outdoor recreation industry fuels $689 billion in economic output and led to the creation of 4.3 million jobs in 2020. 

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The latest outdoor economic numbers for the state are available at ArkansasOutside.com.


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