The Buffalo National River will resume visitor access for recreational day use of trails, except the Lost Valley Trail, and the Buffalo River on May 15, 2020. It temporarily closed for recreational use on April 2 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Park employees will be staffed at trailheads and river access points to ensure traffic control and social distancing. Visitors will be directed to other areas of the park if one becomes too crowded. The public is encouraged to follow local health guidelines in terms of wearing masks.
A return to full operations will continue to be phased and visitor services will be limited.
All campgrounds, gravel bar and backcountry camping are still closed. The Tyler Bend Visitor Center, Steel Creek Visitor Contact Station, the Buffalo Point Visitor Contact Station and The Buffalo National River Headquarters in Harrison are closed as well.
“The National Park Service is a public service agency of the Federal Government, our mission is to protect the natural and cultural resources of the park, while providing for the enjoyment of the park by the public. We hold this mission dear to our hearts. We also understand that the park supports the health and well-being of the Nation and can help Americans during this emergency by giving them outdoor spaces to enjoy while following Health Department and CDC guidance,” Mark Foust, superintendent of Buffalo National River, said in a statement.
“The park was closed at the request of communities and state and local leaders concerned about overcrowding and the potential spread of the virus in our communities. It is important to note that because Buffalo National River is a unit of the National Park System, when it is open, it is open to all, regardless of their place of residence. We have been working closely with the State of Arkansas on our phased resumption of access and we will continue to do so. As long as the staff is able to safely do the work of the park with required personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and safe distancing, it is our great pleasure to resume visitor access to the park. We ask our visitors to work with us to ensure the park remains open and accessible to all. Crowd sizes and visitors’ ability to enjoy the park with appropriate social distancing will be key to our progress to eventually providing complete access to all.”