Arkansas State Parks and the US Forest Service Recommendations on Viewing the Eclipse

Arkansas State Parks and the US Forest Service Recommendations on Viewing the Eclipse

Jackalope

The Great North American Eclipse is a highly anticipated event set to occur on April 8, 2024. Arkansas is located in an excellent position to experience it as the path of totality will be visible in the state, stretching from the southwest corner to the northeast point. In total, 53 of the state’s 75 counties will be in this path, including cities such as Little Rock, Hot Springs, Texarkana, Conway, and Jonesboro. The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is fully prepared to receive the expected record number of visitors to the state.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Arkansas for this historic event,” said Shea Lewis, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and director of Arkansas State Parks. “The Great North American Eclipse will be a memorable occasion for many and a chance to experience the beauty of The Natural State. Our parks and heritage locations will be fully staffed and ready to handle any safety issues.”

Among the key tips for experiencing the eclipse in Arkansas is to arrive early and stay late to avoid traffic delays.

There are thirteen Arkansas Welcome Centers located at different entry points to Arkansas. These centers offer various resources to ensure the safety and provide a memorable experience for visitors. You can find more information about Arkansas Welcome Centers at arkansas.com/arkansas-welcome-centers.

Arkansas.com/eclipse is a comprehensive resource for eclipse information. It provides details about the eclipse, as well as links to traffic, weather, safety, eclipse events, and lodging resources.

A group of people watching the eclipse.

Arkansas offers a great selection of fun and educational activities to enjoy during the weekend of the solar eclipse. With 52 state parks available, 26 of which are in the path of totality, you’re sure to find a perfect spot to witness the celestial event. To learn more about experiencing the eclipse safely and get information on eclipse times, visit arkansasstateparks.com/eclipse. Please be advised that entry to Arkansas State Parks will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. It is important to note that when a park reaches its full capacity, further entry may not be possible. To assist you in planning your visit, maps that provide details on the estimated number of day-use vehicles allowed at each park location are available at arkansasstateparks.com/articles/parkseclipsemaps.

Details on events at Arkansas State Parks can be found at arkansasstateparks.com/events. Venues highlighting the state’s heritage, including the Old State House Museum, Historic Arkansas Museum, and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock will be open during the eclipse and some will also have special eclipse programming and events leading up to that day. More details can be found at arkansasheritage.com.

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Arkansas State Parks within the eclipse path.
Arkansas State Parks within the eclipse path.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is ready for the Great North American Eclipse and this exciting time in history for the nation and Arkansas.

Eclipse viewing tips for National Forest Visitors from the US Forest Service in Arkansas

On April 8, the moon, earth, and sun will align in a total solar eclipse that will pass across a large portion of the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Visiting the National Forests is a wonderful way to enjoy the eclipse! The scenic integrity of national forests is unmatched, and the experience of enjoying the eclipse in solace is highly appealing. Reviewing the following eclipse tips about how to view the eclipse in a way that is safe and respectful of the natural beauty of the area will enhance any visitor’s experience!

Eclipse.

Be Prepared! Bring and wear appropriate eye protection. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses.”

Be Fire Safe! Ensure that you know Smokey Bear’s rules for preventing wildfires. If you have a campfire, keep it small and make sure to “Drown, stir, feel” to put it all the way out when you are done. “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

  • Report any wildfires to 911. The national forests will not be conducting prescribed burning activities between April 6-9, so if you see large areas of smoke, it could be from a wildfire.
  • Check for any county burn bans before you head out. Visit www.arkfireinfo.org for current burn bans and wildfires.
  • Don’t park vehicles in tall grass during dry conditions – hot engines and exhaust pipes can cause fires in dry grass.
  • Keep campfire areas Firewise. Clear out a secure space around your campfire, and keep defensible space around your sleeping areas in the event of an escaped campfire or wildfire.
  • Don’t leave any campfires unattended – if you plan to leave it, make sure it is out cold by dousing it with water or smothering it with dirt.

Be Aware and Be Patient! Unprecedented crowds could be in many areas around National Forest lands on and before April 8. Here are few tips to make your experience safer and more enjoyable:

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.
  • Thoroughly research your destination and plan your trip accordingly. Leave your planned route and information about your departure and expected return with a friend or loved one.
  • Bring your own supplies: Have enough food and water for your entire stay.
  • Many parts or all of the forests are in areas where cell phone signals are weak or nonexistent. Consider alternative means of communication.
  • Have a map: Bring a paper map of where you are going or download directions ahead of time in case cell service goes out due to large crowds. Download Forest maps on the Avenza app! Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf and follow the Eclipse Resources link for maps of National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
  • Pack it in, pack it out! Bring trash bags to pick up any garbage from your viewing site and dump it in the nearest garbage receptacles on your way out.
  • Gas up! Fuel up before making the trek to remote areas to view the eclipse. Fuel shortages may cause long delays at the pumps before and after the event.
  • Drive slow and carefully! Many forest roads are winding, gravel roads with no shoulder or steep shoulders. If you pull over to watch the eclipse, make sure you are not blocking traffic in either direction; but also make sure you don’t get your vehicle stuck on a steep shoulder. Be alert of large vehicles like logging trucks on the road.
  • Avoid cliff edges at higher elevation locations. Watch children closely and keep pets on a leash.
  • The Arkansas youth turkey hunting weekend is April 6-7. There will be turkey hunters in the woods. Wear bright colors while in the forest or on trails, but avoid red, white, or blue clothing during turkey season. The head of a male turkey can be a vivid red, powder blue, and white during spring.
See also  2024 Day-Use Permits now available for National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma

Be Informed! Follow us on Facebook (@ouachitanf and @ozarkstfrancis) for updated safety and fire information. Information updates could include closed areas or warnings of burn bans that prohibit campfires or other open flames for cooking.

Be Amazed! A total solar eclipse is an awe-inspiring natural event that can be appreciated by everyone. To learn more about where you can go and what to do to protect yourself and the National Forests, visit the Forests’ eclipse resources at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/osfnf.

Searcy County Waterfall

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