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Why Is Arkansas Called the Natural State?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Arkansas is called "The Natural State" because it has vast wilderness, natural resources, and diverse wildlife in many areas. It also has a thriving agricultural sector and environmental protection acts that serve to protect the natural resources residents have long enjoyed. There are also several endangered animal species living in select habitats throughout the state, primarily in the Ozark cave regions and wetlands.

One primary reason Arkansas has the nickname "The Natural State" is because it has several protected areas of wildlife. This includes the Buffalo Natural River and Hot Springs National Park. Several species of animals live in these and other regions, including species of bats, fish, and deer. Two bat species found in the Ozark caves are endangered, as well as certain types of crayfish found in the same areas. Because of the presence of this varied wildlife, several areas are heavily regulated to prevent the destruction of natural animal habitat.

Arkansas is also known as The Natural State because is features several areas of wetlands and rivers, including the Mississippi River. Rivers wind around most borders of the state, and are home to several freshwater fish species. Arkansas is a leader in catfish sales and accounts for a large portion of the nation's catfish needs. It is also a prime player in chicken farming, and is second only to Georgia for providing broilers in the form of whole chickens or chicken parts.

The agricultural in Arkansas has also played a major role in its reputation as the natural state. It is the leading provider of rice for the nation and accounts for roughly 46% of America's total rice consumption needs. Other crops, such as cotton and soybeans are also commonly grown. It was cotton which allowed for the state's expansion and growth in the 1800s, and it was a major player in the South's cotton boom.

Natural resources also abound in Arkansas, including diamonds. It is the only state in America where diamonds are mined. Other natural resources which play an important role in the state include petroleum, natural gas, and coal. There are several groups in place which aim to conserve and prevent wastefulness of Arkansas abundant natural resources so that they will last for many years to come.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Jan 27, 2014

I'm a native Arkansan and have always found the "Natural State" slogan somewhat confusing. We used to be called "the Land of Opportunity."

So, what happened to the opportunity? Did we give up and decide to focus on being known for our natural resources instead?

Seems like an odd change to make.

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