(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) â€“ Visitor information centers, museums, restaurants and two marinas at Arkansas State Parks will see a reduction of operating hours to efficiently manage available resources during the recent statewide increase in COVID-19 cases.
â€œFlexibility is necessary during these unprecedented times,â€ said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. â€œDue to the impact of COVID-19 on our parks system, we must make adjustments in order to ensure that our most-used amenities and facilities continue to be available to the public during the days and hours they use them the most.â€
Visitor information centers and museums will now operate five days a week â€“ focusing on staying open during busiest days. Contactless check-in for camping and cabin rentals has been in place for months and will continue.
â€œOur goal is to continue to offer the premier level of service to our guests that Arkansas State Parks has become known for,â€ said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. â€œThe safety of our guests and staff is paramount, and these measures will allow us to still offer the park experience that so many visitors have counted on for decades and do it in a safe way.â€
State park restaurants will remain open but with reduced seating capacity. Buffets remain closed but carry out meals will still be available. Cabins, campgrounds, and lodges across the park system will remain open and continue to welcome guests.
The marinas at DeGray Lake Resort State Park and Lake Ouachita State Park will offer restricted service through February 2021. This is traditionally the slowest time of year for these facilities and marina users can contact the park office if assistance is needed.
PPE for all staff and cleaning regimens based on CDC recommendations will continue at all Arkansas state parks. The statewide mask mandate will be enforced as directed, and rangers will continue to encourage social distancing.
Localized conditions could lead to a further reduction of hours for some park facilities. Please refer to the COVID-19 updates on www.ArkansasStateParks.com for updated information.
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.