News Releases

Boat Launch Ramp at Jacksonport State Park Closed Temporarily Until Mid-June

For Immediate Release

Jacksonport -- The boat launch ramp at Jacksonport State Park that offers access to the White River will remain closed until mid-June, according to Park Superintendent Mark Ballard. It was closed temporarily beginning May 4 as a safety precaution after work began to raise the Mary Woods No. 2, the park’s historic sternwheeler, from the bottom of the White River where it sank on January 30. Ballard said, “We’d hoped to have the boat launch ramp reopened by Memorial Day Weekend. However, because of complications in the raising of the boat and due to high water levels in the river, it will remain closed for a few more weeks.”

Ballard continued, “Unfortunately, this will also mean that the boat launch ramp will be closed during the annual Portfest “Rollin’ on the River” Festival which will be held on the banks of the White River in Jacksonport State Park during June 4-5.” He noted that this marks the 29th year for this event sponsored by the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ballard noted that an alternate boat launch ramp site is located in Newport on Ark. Hwy. 14 just south of the White River bridge. There is no charge to launch from this Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ramp.

He emphasized that the park’s boat launch ramp will reopen just as soon as the salvage operation of the Mary Woods No. 2 is complete. It is being conducted by River Diving and Salvage Incorporated of Bloomsdale, Missouri. Before the sinking, the Mary Woods No. 2 was moored at the park where, open for tours seasonally, it served as one of the park’s two museums.

For updates on the boat launch ramp’s anticipated reopening date, contact the park at: (phone) 870-523-2143 or (email)

Ballard noted that the closure is necessary for safety reasons since the salvage team is working in the boat launch area to raise the Mary Woods No. 2. He said, “We know the public understands the safety precautions we have initiated since this salvage operation is taking place within a few hundred feet of the launch ramp, and because the launch ramp site is serving as the staging area for all the equipment necessary to raise the boat.” According to Ballard, all other park facilities remain open. These include the campground, picnic area, pavilion, swimming beach, visitor center, and courthouse museum.

Jacksonport State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. The park is on Ark. 69 in Jacksonport, just three miles north of Newport.

For further information, contact: Mark Ballard, park superintendent, Jacksonport State Park, 205 Avenue Street, Newport, AR 72112. Phone: 870-523-2143. Email: