DeGray Lake Resort State Park Receives 2012-2011 Region IV Park of the Year Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               
Contact: Greg Butts
(501) 682-7743

State Parks Director to Present Awards to Park Staff on November 10 at 11:30 A.M. at DeGray Lake Resort State Park 

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State Parks Division
Department of Parks and Tourism

            DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck has been selected as the recipient of the 2010-2011 Region IV Park of the Year Award by Arkansas State Parks, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. DeGray Lake Resort State Park is located seven miles north of Arkadelphia on the Scenic 7 Byway 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.”

            DeGray Lake Resort State Park is the Region IV winner of the 2010-2011 Park of the Year award. The fourteen other parks in Region IV are Historic Washington State Park at Washington; Daisy State Park at Daisy; Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro; Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs; White Oak Lake State Park near Bluff City; Poison Spring State Park near Camden; Conway Cemetery State Park at Walnut Hill; Logoly State Park at McNeil; Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources at Smackover; South Arkansas Arboretum at El Dorado; Moro Bay State Park near El Dorado; Marks’ Mill State Park near Fordyce, Millwood State Park near Ashdown, and Jenkins’ Ferry State Park near Sheridan.

            Greg Butts said, “Superintendent Mike Wilson and the staff at DeGray Lake Resort State Park bring credit to the State of Arkansas with their outstanding work and accomplishments. This award recognizes 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 DeGray Lake Resort State Park for its outstanding fiscal year efforts, Mr. Butts noted that revenues at the park increased by 6.5% in FY11 over FY10, while expenses were reduced19% compared to FY10. Despite the high spring flood waters and extreme high summer temperatures, the park had an exceptional year in all facets of its operation.

            The interpretive staff presented 1,116 programs to over 33,555 visitors. In addition to the standard programs, examples of special events in FY11 include Eagles Et Cetera, a Dutch Oven Workshop, Easter Eggstacy, JR Fishing Fest, educator workshops, fishing derbies, and the DeGray Lake Cleanup.

            Volunteers continue to play an important role at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. The total number of volunteers was 318 and those individuals logged 10,423 volunteer hours. Volunteer groups such as the Corps DeGray, Arkansas Master Naturalists, the Bismarck Fire Department, 4-H, and Boy Scout troops, and others have help maintain and inspire park services, facilities and programs.

            The staff at DeGray Lake Resort State Park shares one common goal – to serve the guests at the park. Many guests have been coming for a long time and are “like family”. Comment cards are a significant way that visitors share their opinions about the park. One visitor commented: “This was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. My first experience with anything like this. The staff was absolutely wonderful from the beginning to end. I loved the whole weekend stay! Amazing place and great people to work with.”  Another visitor states: “What a fun place!!! Everything had a A plus rating. The food was delicious. The service was excellent. The facilities were beautiful. We couldn’t have picked a better location”. Visitor comment cards reflect the park’s success and efforts… the park received an overall exceptional rating of 99.37%. Outstanding customer service by all park staff always bring visitors back to the park and makes memories that last a lifetime.

Along with DeGray Lake Resort 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 II Park of the Year and Overall Park of the Year—Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View; and Region III Park of the Year—Davidsonville Historic State Park near Pocahontas. Other award winners are: Outstanding Park Maintenance—Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro; Outstanding Volunteer Program – Hobbs State Park – Conservation Area near Rogers; Outstanding Hospitality Lake Ouachita State Park near Mountain Pine; Outstanding Interpretive Program—Hobbs State Park – conservation Area near Rogers; and Outstanding Special Event – Ozark Folk Center State Park’s “Bushwhackers and Scallywags – Civil War on the Sylamore”.

            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 Mike Wilson, DeGray Lake Resort Sate Park, 2027 State Park Entrance Road, Bismarck, Arkansas 71929 / Phone: (501) 865-5810 / E-mail: mike.wilson@arkansas.gov .    

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