Ozark Folk Center State Park Receives 2012-2011 Arkansas State Park of the Year, Region II Park of the Year, and Outstanding Special Event Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               

Contact:       
Greg Butts
(501) 682-7743

 State Parks Director to Present Awards to Park Staff on November 7 at 11:30 A.M. at Ozark Folk Center State Park


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State Parks Division
Department of Parks and Tourism

            Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View has been selected as the recipient of the 2010-2011 Park of the Year, the Region II Park of the Year, and Outstanding Special Event Awards by Arkansas State Parks, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. Ozark Folk Center State Park is located in Mountain View at 1032 Park Avenue off Hwy 5, 9 and 14, and is one of the 52 state parks operated by the State Parks Division, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

            The State Parks Division presents awards annually for park excellence within Arkansas’s state parks system. The awards were announced at the annual business meeting of the park superintendents. This year’s meeting was held September 27-29 at DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck. 

            The 2010-2011 awards honor the Park of the Year, Four Region winners, and awards for outstanding park maintenance, hospitality, volunteer program, resource management, interpretive program, and special event.

            Director Butts noted, “Visitor comments, maintenance and operations, budget management, revenue production, interpretive program development, volunteer program activities, community public relations, resource management and many other factors are considered in selecting the award recipients.”

            Ozark Folk Center State Park is the Region II winner, the Outstanding Special Event awardee, as well as the overall winner of the Park of the Year award. The nine other parks in Region II are Mammoth Spring State Park at Mammoth Spring; Lower White River Museum State Park at Des Arc; Mount Nebo State Park near Dardanelle; Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park at Scott; Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton; Pinnacle Mountain State Park near Roland; Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park at Scott; Bull Shoals-White River State Park at Bull Shoals; and Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier.  

            Greg Butts said, “Superintendent Grady Spann and the staff at Ozark Folk Center State Park bring credit to the State of Arkansas with their outstanding work and accomplishments. These awards recognize their efforts, the public’s response to those efforts, and focuses on their exemplary work in all areas of park management over the past year.”      

Recognizing Ozark Folk Center State Park for its outstanding fiscal year efforts, Mr. Butts noted that revenues at the park increased by 2% to over $1,678,890 over FY10, while expenses were 10% below the approved budget projections.

            Visitation increased by 7% over FY10 to more than 146,500 visitors. On average over 460 programs, workshops and special events are offered each year at Ozark Folk Center.

            A large and significant part of the day-to-day responsibility of the Ozark Folk Center State Park is preserving and interpreting the Ozarks traditional crafts and music. One of the major preservation efforts is passing engaging and passing along crafts and music to a younger generation. Ozark Folk Center State Park hosts several concerts throughout the year and has developed a “Music Roots” program that allows Mountain View students, fourth through twelfth grade the opportunity to learn an acoustic instrument along with old time music. Another program that has resulted from this focus is the Next Generation Concert. This concert is scheduled three times a year and is one of the best attended. The performers, all under the age of 20, provide a professional performance that is setting a new standard for the Ozark Folk Center.

            Volunteers and partners play an important role at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. The Committee of 100, Mountain View School District, Mountain View Bluegrass Association, Mountain View Police Department, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, International Herb Association, the Ozark Gateway Tourism Association , the city of Mountain View, and the Ozark Folk Center Cultural Center Commission have all partnered with the Ozark Folk Center State Park to help fulfill its mission. Volunteers contributed 8,524 hours valued at $217,914 in 2010.

The staff at Ozark Folk Center State Park shares one common goal – to serve the guests at the park. All fulltime staff have attended hospitality workshops and extra help employees are shown training videos. Superintendent Spann stresses to the staff the importance of hospitality, satisfying the visitor needs, and fulfilling the park’s mission.

            In presenting the award for outstanding special event to Ozark Folk Center State Park, State Park Director Greg Butts noted that the “Bushwhackers and Scallywags – Civil War on the Sylamore” and the programs and activities associated with it, re-connected visitors to Arkansas’s past, it’s land and people. To qualify for the “Outstanding Special Event” award, the event must include partners, increase revenue and attendance, and have measurable objectives. This event met all of these criteria and more.

Comment cards are a significant way that visitors share their opinions about the park and the majority visitor comments rate the Ozark Folk Center State Park as “excellent”. One visitor commented: “We enjoyed the Folk Center very much. Great grounds, music, and food. Our favorite vacation destination!”

            Along with Ozark folk Center State Park, other Arkansas State Parks Park of the Year Award winners’ for 2010-2011 were: Region I Park of the Year—Lake Ouachita State Park near Mountain Pine; Region III Park of the Year—Davidsonville Historic State Park near Pocahontas; and Region IV Park of the Year—DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck.  

Other award winners were: Outstanding Park Maintenance—Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro; Outstanding Hospitality Lake Ouachita State Park near Mountain Pine; Outstanding Interpretive Program—Hobbs State Park – conservation Area near Rogers; Outstanding Resource Management – Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources at Smackover; and Outstanding Volunteer Program – Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area near Rogers;

            For further information, contact: Greg Butts, Director, Arkansas State Parks, One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 / Phone: (501) 682-7743 / E-mail: greg.butts@arkansas.gov; or Superintendent Grady Spann, Ozark Folk Center State Park, 1032 Park Avenue, Mountain View, Arkansas 72560 / Phone: (870) 269-3851 / E-mail: grady.spann@arkansas.gov.                                                

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