Since 1995 Arkansas has had the nickname: “The Natural State,” identifying a shift in the late 1980s when Arkansas began building its tourism industry. Before this name came along, there were others.
Unofficial nicknames “Bear State” because of the great number of black bears, “Toothpick State” after a type of knife, and “Rackensack,” a negative nickname describing rural Arkansans, were all used. In 1923 “Wonder State” became the first official nickname, shifting in 1941 to “Land of Opportunity.”
Over five decades later, with 52 state parks and seven national parks, “The Natural State” became the perfect nickname still used today.
– Rebecca Hastings, The Arkansas 100