Major Renovation of Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge is Underway

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(MENA, Ark.)—Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge atop 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest mountain, has closed to undergo a $6.7 million renovation, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. The lodge will reopen in summer 2013. Butts said, “The improvements to the current lodge, a 38-room hostelry that opened by the State of Arkansas in 1975, should receive rave reviews when the lodge reopens.” He noted that the lodge’s enhancements will include all new windows which will be much larger to frame the views from atop Rich Mountain. Butts emphasized, “The panoramic view off the mountain is an important part of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park experience. Our visitors and overnight guests are going to enjoy the more wide open views from all the lodge’s public rooms, including the restaurant, and all the guest rooms.” He continued, “Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge is a very popular tourism destination on the Talimena Scenic Drive, and this is the first major renovation since the current lodge opened in 1975. It’s a state treasure which continues the lodging tradition that started on that very site in 1898.”

The exterior of the lodge will feature shingles and stonework. As part of the building’s energy efficient features, new insulated walls will envelope the current building. The lodge will expand from 26,335 square feet to 36,538 square feet to include a new hearth room with fireplace; a completely remodeled lobby, gift shop, and reception/registration desk; two additional guest rooms increasing the total to 40; and more space within each guest room to accommodate two queen-size beds each. Many of the guest rooms will include large, walk-in showers. Four guest rooms on the west end of the first and second floors will include gas fireplaces and spa tubs. Three guest rooms will be barrier-free to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities.

The public restrooms on the first floor will also be enlarged. The upstairs meeting room will also increase in size and feature windows on three sides. This room will offer access to a small balcony overlooking the south view from the mountain. Public restrooms will be located nearby. To enhance access and also serve the needs of visitors with disabilities, more stairwells and an elevator will be added.

The lodge’s covered north entrance will be remodeled. A wrap-around porch on the building’s south side will provide visitors with comfortable outdoor space for enjoying the views from the mountain. A new porch will be also be added at the west end.

In addition to the new insulated walls on the building’s exterior, many other energy saving features will be added to include a new energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system; energy efficient lighting throughout the lodge; a solar hot water system; and, other energy saving features. A new laundry will serve the housekeeping staff. And, a new fire protection system will cover the entire building. All other facilities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park including the park campground and trails remain open. Until the lodge reopens, the park offices are located in a trailer near the entrance to the park campground.

The design consultant is Borne Firm Architects, P.A. of Little Rock. The contractor is Wade Abernathy, Inc. of Mt. Ida. Funding sources for the project include Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Fund, and grant monies from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park is on Ark. 88 (the Talimena Scenic Drive) 13 miles west of Mena. It is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

For additional information, contact: Stan Graves, manager of Planning and Development, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201. Phone: 501-682-1633. E-mail: stan.graves@arkansas.gov.

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