Increased Number of Visitors Focus of State Parks Staff
COVID-19 Policies Will Be Enforced
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) â€“ An increase in visitors at several state parks has prompted park officials to remind the public that COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and will be enforced. Pinnacle Mountain, Petit Jean, and Devilâ€™s Den State Parks have all experienced similar rule infractions recently.
â€œWe only allow visitors to park in the parking lot in designated parking spaces,â€ said Pinnacle Mountain State Park Assistant Superintendent Cale Davenport. â€œOnce those spaces are filled, we are at full capacity. Some visitors have resorted to parking outside the park and walking in. However, that is not allowed, and those vehicles will be ticketed.â€
Crowding on popular trails has proved to be a problem during this COVID-19 pandemic. The Yellow Rock Trail at Devilâ€™s Den has a lot of foot traffic and the summit trails at Pinnacle Mountain were even closed for a time but have now re-opened.
â€œThe West and East Summit trails on the mountain have always seen a lot of visitation, and now we are trying to limit that visitation not only for the safety of our visitors but also for the protection of the natural resource as well,â€ explained Davenport.
â€œWe realize that many people enjoy hiking at Pinnacle Mountain, Petit Jean, and Devilâ€™s Den state parks and want to keep the trails available to the public,â€ said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. â€œBut safety always comes first. Cooler temperatures in the morning and evening hours have expanded the number of people using these parks and we have seen a decline in COVID-19 rules being followed. We would like to urge everyone to abide by the conditions set out at this time, so we do not have to resort to closing off certain areas for use. We expect our park guests to be responsible park users with the pandemic and in leaving no trace.â€
â€œFlatten the Curveâ€ signage is posted in all state parks and explains the guidelines that need to be followed to maintain a healthy environment. Also, a list of what is and is not allowed is available online atÂ ArkansasStateParks.com/Covid-19-Update.Â
About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.
The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the stateâ€™s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more about everything we have to offer.