My name is Luis Vidal, and I will be the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) intern for Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I wrapped up the school year at the University of Utah earlier this month, and enjoyed a quick camping trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve before leaving Salt Lake City for the summer. I arrived at the Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, the capital and largest city in Arkansas, last Saturday. After seeing a few city sights the next day I arrived at Hot Springs, a town of 35,000, where I will be spending the next ten weeks as an education and interpretive intern.
I started the first day of my internship on Monday. I joined two other park interns and numerous volunteers and we spent until Thursday receiving training, orientations to the park, tours, and classes on park history. Hot Springs NP has a lot of history preserved within its boundaries, from historic bathhouses that claimed to heal the sick to indigenous people using a local rock found in the park, Novaculite, for stone tools. Hot Springs is primarily famous for its thermal water, which was and still is both bathed in and consumed at the row of historical bathhouses that today are a part of the park. Today (Friday) I have begun researching the documents I will be translating and creating for the park this summer.
Hot Springs NP sits right in the center of the downtown area of Hot Springs and encompasses the surrounding mountains. My apartment is within walking distance of the park and all of the amenities that Hot Springs can offer. I am finding more similarities than differences when comparing here to home. There are coffee shops, bike shops, and a small yet vibrant downtown. I am excited to be here and be a part of the LHIP community, and I look forward to the many accomplishments we will all achieve this summer.