GREENBRIER, Ark.- Today Arkansas State Parks are re-opening with some restrictions.
Friday is the first night in months, where people can camp in self-contained RVs.At this time only RVs are allowed since bath houses and other facilities are still closed.
“As long as they are self-enclosed in terms of the restrooms and they have an electrical hook up then they are welcome to come on out,” said Meg Matthews, Arkansas State Parks.
Meg Matthews with the Arkansas State Parks said right now RVs are the easiest way to safely camp with social distancing.People at Woolly Hollow State Park in Greenbrier agree.
“Just look around this place is completely full,” said Georgie Lake, Camping.
RVs are driving in one after the other, taking full advantage of the campsites.
”When I’m at home I wear my mask but out here I don’t have too. I can be free again,” said Lake.Georgie Lake and her husband used to go camping every weekend before COVID-19 hit. Now its been more than two months since they have stay anywhere.
So Lake was thrilled by Governor Asa Hutchinson’s announcement that Arkansas State Parks would begin reopening with some restrictions. “We come here like 4 or 5 times a year. We just love it,” said Lake.
While only RVs and Arkansas residents are allowed to stay overnight right now, it didn’t take long for the park to fill up.
All 30 sites at Woolly Hollow are booked for the weekend. ”I just pray that no body messes it up and they close down again,” said Lake.With State Parks back open, Lake is ready to continue traveling Arkansas with her husband.
“I’ve got everything booked up between now and August,” said Lake.
According to Matthews May 15 is a goal date for even more restrictions to be lifted.
Here is the full news release:
“Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst today announced that beginning May 1, campgrounds at Arkansas State Parks will reopen for RV campers with the following limitations:
- Campers must use private recreational vehicles with self-contained bathroom facilities.
- Camping will be only for Arkansas residents.
Park staff will be checking vehicle license plates for adherence to these guidelines.
“We believe that these precautions will allow Arkansans to enjoy the normalcy of going camping while maintaining appropriate social distancing,” Hurst said.
Tentatively, May 15 is the target date to reopen other services, including retail shops, exhibitions, lodges, cabins, and Rent-A-RV. The date is subject to change, depending upon health and safety considerations, and will include restrictions, such as limits on the number of people allowed inside visitor centers, retail stores, and exhibitions. Social distancing will be enforced. Restrictions will be placed on:
- Restaurants and food service facilities
- Museums and exhibits
- Retail stores, including gift shops and golf-pro shops
- Visitor centers
- Marinas and rental equipment stores
After May 15, reservations for cabins, lodges and Rent-A-RV services will be restricted to Friday through Monday to allow for thorough cleanings in between uses. Reservations will continue to be for in-state residents only.
Bathhouses will remain closed. Camping reservations listed under out-of-state addresses are canceled through May 14. All guests, including Arkansas residents with reservations for lodge rooms, cabins, camper cabins, YURTs, Rent-A-RV and Rent-A-Camp are canceled through May 14. Guests without on-board bathroom facilities, including water and electric hookups, also are canceled.
“Arkansas State Parks looks forward to opening all of our facilities and inviting guests from around the state and country in the coming months,” said Parks Director Grady Spann.
Some trails, including at Pinnacle Mountain, Devil’s Den and Petit Jean state parks, will remain closed. You can find the latest updates at www.arkansasstateparks.com/covid-19-update.
ADPHT has three major divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage, and Arkansas Tourism. Arkansas State Parks manages 52 state parks and promotes Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas Heritage preserves and promotes Arkansas’s natural and cultural history and heritage through four historic museums and four cultural preservation agencies. Arkansas Tourism improves the state’s economy by generating travel and enhancing the image of the state.”