Governor announces starting May 1st, state parks re-open to Arkansans

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson slipping in the announcement today that state parks will be re-opening to Arkansas citizens.

The Governor said overnight camping will be permitted starting this Friday, May 1, but only for self-contained units like RVs.

Other aspects of state parks will re-open on May 15 including Marinas and Rental Equipment, Gift Shops and Visitor Centers, Museums and Exhibits, and on-site restaurants and dining facilities.

The Governor also mentioned lodging will be opening back up too and will only be available from Friday until Monday during the week so they can be cleaned and sanitized Tuesday through Thursday.

Secretary of Parks Stacy Hurst said they will go to great lengths to make Arkansans the only ones renting right now.

“We have an online reservation system and our staff is looking now to see if there any filters that might capture ‘out of state reservations’. We can make phone calls and send emails if someone does make a reservation from the state. We can send a cancellation notice through email and potentially catch that on an online reservation system, but again with that, we have a contact list check-in system set up and we will have staff going around the park to monitor it,” said Hurst.

In regards to the park restaurants re-opening he said there is no direct correlation when it comes to the restaurant announcements that are coming tomorrow but did mention that those restaurants in state parks will be subject to ADH guidelines that will be put in place.

Here is the full news release:

(News release) – Arkansas State Parks will begin a limited reopening of some facilities for Arkansas residents starting May 1, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today.

“Closing our parks, campgrounds, and visitor centers has been one of the toughest restrictions during this pandemic, but it was necessary,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I am elated that we can give Arkansans the opportunity to get out of their homes to enjoy our natural resources again.”

Rental of camp sites, cabins, lodges, and RVs will be limited to Arkansas residents.

Beginning May 1, Arkansas residents with self-contained RVs will be allowed to stay overnight in campgrounds. Bath houses will remain closed. Check in and check out will be automated.

On May 15, State Parks will open visitor information centers, museums and exhibits, gift shops, golf pro shops, marinas, and equipment rental. Staff will limit the number of visitors allowed into the visitor centers and shops, and will enforce social distancing.

On May 15, State Parks also will reopen to Arkansas residents cabins, lodges, and RV rental. Rentals will be limited to Friday through Monday to allow for deep cleaning between visitors.

“Arkansans love their parks, and we want to invite Arkansans back,” said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. “This proposal was reviewed and approved by Secretary of Health Nate Smith before going to the Governor for final approval.  These precautions will allow Arkansans to enjoy camping while maintaining guidelines for social distancing.”

Some high-use trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Devil’s Den State Park, and Petit Jean State Park will remain closed.

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