Pope County park evacuated as Arkansas River rises

Local News

POPE COUNTY, Ark.- The Sweeden Island Park this time of year would normally be buzzing with people, but now it’s creating a different kind of buzz. 

“It’s going to basically engulf this entire campground,” says Jarred Webster, the president of Adkins Development Program. 

Webster shows parts of the part that is still above water. He has been taking care of this campground for almost a decade. 

“I grew up out here,” Webster says. “Actually, that tree right there. I got married right in front of that tree.”

He says this is the worst flooding he has seen, even surpassing the 2015 flooding. 

“What we are looking at are my eight lower campsites, they are pretty much completely underwater,” Webster shows. “The only thing that would give you a clue as to it even being a site is that you can see the top of one of the power boxes right here.”

The water covering eight campsites and all park utilities are quickly threatening the rest of the park. 

“We were issued a mandatory evacuation because the river close to coming up from where we are standing right now,” Webster explains. “They are saying it could come up over our head.”

Webster is waiting for the water to recede to reveal what is left to clean up if that is even possible. 

“It’s going to be covered in mud, and you’re going to get the people out here that just want to just come play and tear stuff up, and that’s going to put me steps further from being able to do it,” Webster says. 

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