State Parks Director's
As of January 2, 2012, admission fees are no longer charged for access to state park museums and exhibit galleries. Museum admission fees were dropped at Arkansas Post Museum, Hampson Museum, the 1872 Courthouse at Jacksonport State Park, Lower White River Museum, and the 1886 Frisco Depot and Frisco caboose at Mammoth Spring State Park. And there is no longer a fee to see the exhibits at Parkin Archeological State Park, Plantation Agriculture Museum, Powhatan Historic State Park, the Battlefield Museum at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, and Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. Fees are charged to join a park interpreter on a guided historic or archeological site tour. However, self-guided tours are free.
Although the caves at Devil's Den State Park and Withrow Springs State Park are closed to the public as state and federal agencies work to protect these caves and the bats that inhabit them from White-nose Syndrome, Arkansas's show caves are still open for business. These seven caves in the Ozarks include Blanchard Springs Caverns operated by the USDA Forest Service and the following privately-operated caverns: Bull Shoals, Cosmic Caverns, Mystic Caverns, Old Spanish Treasure Cave, Onyx Cave, and War Eagle Cavern.
Information on these caverns can be found at: http://www.arkansas.com/things-to-do/caves/.
The Ed Banks Low Water Bridge that crosses the Cossatot River from the east side on Weyerhaeuser Road #52000 (Ed Banks Road), and from the west on Weyerhaeuser Road #82000, in Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area will be closed to all vehicles beginning November 1. This action is necessary to ensure public safety because the current structure is a safety hazard to vehicle traffic due to damage from flood events over time. The bridge was constructed by the Dierks Land and Coal Company and maintained by Weyerhaeuser Company as part of their timber operations, and Weyerhaeuser Company has determined the river crossing is not necessary due to alternate trucking routes. The bridge will remain open to foot traffic as the river crossing for the park’s River Corridor Trail. The bridge’s closing will not impact the Ed Bank Access along Weyerhaeuser Road #52000 which serves as a put-in point for floaters, or affect the park’s facilities located on the east side of this access.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge closed on March 5, 2012, to undergo a major renovation. It will reopen in spring 2014. This temporary closure applies to the entire lodge including all 38 guest rooms, the restaurant, lobby, meeting room, and restrooms. All other facilities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, including the campground and trails, remain open. Park offices are temporarily located near the entrance to the park campground.
Due to damage on the dam, Lower White Oak Lake is currently without water. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the agency that manages White Oak Lake, the lower portion is not expected to refill until 2014. As a result, the White Oak Lake State Park marina is closed and all boat rentals have been suspended. However, all other facilities at the state park remain open including the visitor center, campground, trails, pavilion, and playground. In addition, a wide variety of interpretive programs will be offered in the park through the summer. [NOTE: Upper White Oak Lake is in good condition, and anglers are catching bass, bream, and catfish. Upper Lake access is a short drive from the park.] Contact the state park at 870-685-2748, or the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 501-223-6300, for updates on the lower portion of the lake.
On April 16, 2010, War Eagle Cave at Withrow Springs State Park at Huntsville closed temporarily to the public. [NOTE: This is the cave on the state park's War Eagle Trail. It is not the privately-owned War Eagle Cavern on Beaver Lake. All show caves in Arkansas and the surrounding region remain open to the public.] This park cave closure is necessary in an effort to protect this cave from the possibility of contamination from White-nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. The disease is transmitted bat to bat. White-nose Syndrome was first detected in February 2006 in Schoharie County, New York. It has now spread as far west as Missouri. For more information about this cave closure, visit:
On April 16, 2010, Devil's Den Cave and Ice Box Cave at Devil's Den State Park near West Fork closed to the public. Earlier, in May 2009, the park's Farmer's Cave and Big Ear Cave closed. These temporary closures are necessary in an effort to protect these caves from the possibility of contamination from White-nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. The disease is transmitted bat to bat. White-nose Syndrome was first detected in February 2006 in Schoharie County, New York. It has now spread as far west as Missouri. For more information about these cave closures, visit: