As the summer season approaches, Arkansas state parks are beginning the reopening process with many popular trails now available for public use.
Stacy Hurst, Secretary of Parks, Tourism and Heritage, joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson today at his daily COVID-19 press conference to provide an update on state parks.
“Today, May 15, is our reopening day at our state park lodges and cabins. We will also loosen other restrictions,” she said. “As of today, our occupancy rates are not totally dissimilar from where they were in 2019. What these numbers represent are available rooms, so we are very optimistic that this will be a very good May for us.”
Gov. Hutchinson shared a few of the occupancy percentages for five cabin parks. Devil’s Den State Park has a 67.85 occupancy percentage. Crowley’s Ridge State Park has 58.82 percent, Lake Chicot State Park has 51.68 percent, Lake Catherine has 43.24 percent and Moro Bay State Park has 41.18 percent. In terms of state park lodging reservations, 71 percent accounts for Arkansas residents while 29 percent accounts for other state residents.
“We are taking great precautions as we consider the safety of visitors and our staff,” Hurst said. “For example, if you rent a state park cabin and stay in it for 2 or 3 days. We will let that room stay vacant for 2 or 3 nights after that, have the staff clean the room, let it stay open and that is the safest way to approach renting that room out to the next customer.”
According to the Arkansas State Park website, reservations for lodges, cabins, yurts and Rent-A-RV are restricted to Friday through Monday to allow for thorough cleanings in between uses.
Hurst also announced that the East and West Summit Trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park will reopen today (May 15) at 5 p.m. The day-use area on Highway 300 will reopen which also includes the Base Trail, the Kingfisher Trail and a portion of the Ouachita Trail.
Parking will be limited to the designated parking spots within the state park and uniformed officers will be enforcing social distancing.
The Ozark Folk Center State Park’s Craft Village is scheduled to open on Tuesday, May 19.
More detailed information about specific parks can be found here.