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Hot Springs National Park Hot Springs National Park is an unusual geographical mixa highly developed park in a small city surrounded by low-lying mountains with abundant flowers and animals Hot Springs Reservation was set aside on April 20 1832 by the Federal Government to protect the 47 hot springs flowing from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain at a temperature of 143 F for future generations The name was changed to Hot Springs National Park on March 4 1921 The Hot Springs National Park is the oldest area in the national park system It is also the smallest of the national parks The park contains 583924 acres Waters gushing from hot springs are more than 4000 years old The pores and fractures in the rock conduct the water deep into the Earth As the water percolates downward the increasingly warmer rock heats it and filters out the impurities In the process the water dissolves minerals in the rocks Eventually the water meets the faults and joints in the Hot Springs Sandstone leading up to the lower west side of Hot Springs Mountain where it flows to the surface The waters gush at an average rate of 850000 gallons a day For Indians the Hot Springs was a neutral ground where different tribes came to hunt trade and bathe in peace Tradition has it that the first Europeans to see the springs were the Spanish explorer Hernando deSoto and his troops in 1541 French trappers hunters and traders became familiar with the area in the late-l7th century In 1803 the United States acquired the area when it purchased the Louisiana Territory from France and the very next year President Thomas Jefferson dispatched an expedition led by William Dunbar and George Hunter to explore the newly acquired springs Their report to the President was widely publicized and stirred up interest in the Hot Springs of the Washita In the years that followed more and more people
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