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 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 U.S. 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/.
A prescribed burn will be conducted within Queen Wilhelmina State Park in the Spring Trail area on March 10 and 11, weather permitting. The burn will be conducted by staff from Arkansas State Parks, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and local fire departments. This time of year is optimal for the removal of dead wood on the forest floor that would provide dangerous fuel should a wildfire break out in warm weather months, especially under drought conditions. A prescribed burn is a valuable tool in park resource management to reduce fuel in the forest, for ecosystem restoration, and to maintain a healthy forest. For additional information on this prescribed burn, contact the park at: 479-394-2863.
Four prescribed burns will be conducted within the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area from March 10 through March 31. The location of these burns are: Burn One--The Blackburn Creek area near the park's public shooting range; Burn Two--The Van Hollow area with Piney Road on the west side, Ark. 12 on the north, Old Piney Store Road on the south, and Little Cliffy Creek on the east; Burn Three--The Lookout area at the intersection of Ark. 12 and Ark. 127; and Burn Four--The Jeske Place along the War Eagle Creek on the south boundary of the park. The burns will be conducted by staff from Arkansas State Parks, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and local fire departments. During these burn activities, park visitors are cautioned to drive with care due to the possibility of reduced visibility from smoke. This time of year is optimal for the removal of dead wood on the forest floor that would provide dangerous fuel should a wildfire break out in warm weather months, especially under drought conditions. A prescribed burn is a valuable tool in park resource management to reduce fuel in the forest, for ecosystem restoration, and to maintain a healthy forest. For details about these prescribed burns, contact the park at: 479-789-5000.
The Ridges at Village Creek, the 27-hole golf course at Village Creek State Park, is closed temporarily due to snow and ice on the course. This closure may continue until early in the week of March 9. For updates on the anticipated reopening date, contact the pro shop at: 870-238-5226. All other facilities at Village Creek State Park are open and operating under regular hours of operation.
The dining hall/kitchen in the group lodging area at Crowley's Ridge State Park is currently undergoing renovation. While this renovation is underway, the group lodging area is closed until early fall 2014. This closure includes the entire group lodging area, including the five bunk cabins, dining hall/kitchen, and this area's bathhouse. All other park facilities are open, including the park’s 26 campsites and four rental cabins. For updates on the anticipated reopening date for the group lodging area, contact the park at: 870-573-6751.
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 early 2015. 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.
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 remain open to the public.] This park cave closure continues to be necessary in an effort to protect this cave and the bat species that inhabit it from from White-nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern U.S. and several Canadian provinces. White-nose Syndrome was first detected in February 2006 in Schoharie County, New York. The disease has spread as far west as Missouri and Arkansas. For more information about this cave closure, visit:
In May 2009, the Farmer's Cave and Big Ear Cave at Devil's Den State Park near West Fork closed to the public. On April 16, 2010, the park's Devil's Den Cave and Ice Box Cave also closed. The temporary closures of these four caves continues to be necessary in an effort to protect these caves and the bat species that inhabit them from White-nose Syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern United States and several Canadian provinces. White-nose Syndrome was first detected in February 2006 in Schoharie County, New York. The disease has spread as far west as Missouri and Arkansas. UPDATE JULY 2013: The fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome has been confirmed in the park’s Devil's Den Cave, but no bats exhibiting the disease here. For more information about these cave closures, contact the park at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-761-3325