Gov. Mike Beebe has named a former liaison to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to serve a seven year term on the panel.
At the announcement Wednesday at the Witt Stephens Central Arkansas Nature Center, Beebe said Andrew Parker has an ideal background for becoming a commissioner.
"A love for the outdoors, an understanding that hunting and fishing in Arkansas is a major past time, a major educational experience, a major family experience, a major economic engine and a corollary with the tourism that is so important for our state," Beebe said.
Parker, who today is Director of Governmental Affairs for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, said outdoor activities are extremely important for families.
"Hunting and fishing aren't just recreational sports. They're something more than that and they're something that kids all across Arkansas, no matter where they live, should have the opportunity to experience," Parker said.
"The 600 and more that work at the Game and Fish know this. They work daily to ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to experience all the adventure the outdoors has to offer.
Parker said he grew up hunting and fishing, became an Eagle Scout, and is particularly interested in educating people about the importance of conservation and wildlife awareness exposure.
After the ceremony, Parker told reporters he's particularly concerned that fewer young people are taking to the outdoors.
"I was reading an article not long ago that said the number of kids that are able to spend any time outside is rapidly shrinking. The number of hunters and fishermen is rapidly shrinking. I know how much it meant to me and it's not only that you get to go explore, but it teaches you how to think through problems."
Parker earned his undergraduate degree from Arkansas State University and his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He replaces Commissioner Ty Patterson of Texarkana. His term will expire in 2021.