Beaver Lake Campgrounds Closed After Storm Damage

Assessing the Damage: Northwest Arkansas Parks Reeling from Storm’s Impact

The Community Bicyclist

The aftermath of this past weekend’s severe storms has left a path of destruction across Northwest Arkansas, with popular outdoor recreation facilities and events bearing much of the damage. Local authorities are currently assessing the extent of the damage and working to determine timelines for reopening affected areas.

Parks Take a Hit:

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism has reported significant damage at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. Fallen trees, downed power lines, and debris-littered landscapes are posing safety hazards, forcing temporary closures.

“The focus right now is on ensuring the safety of park visitors,” said a spokesperson for Arkansas State Parks. “Crews are working diligently to clear debris and assess structural damage. We will provide updates on park closures and reopenings as soon as possible.”

City parks officials in Bentonville and Rogers announced that trails and parks in those towns were closed indefinitely on Sunday morning.

Uncertainty for Campgrounds and Recreation Areas:

Popular camping destinations like Rocky Branch, Horseshoe Bend, and Prairie Creek campgrounds and picnic areas have been closed, leaving booked campers scrambling for alternative plans. Park officials are contacting those with reservations to facilitate cancellations and refunds.

Similarly, hiking and biking trails may be partially or fully inaccessible due to downed trees and debris. Park rangers advise visitors to exercise caution and check for official updates before heading out.

Events Affected:

The Bentonville Bike Festival grounds sustained massive damage as Coler Bike Preserve was struck hard by the storms. At 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, event officials canceled the final day of the event. As of now, the War Eagle Trail Running Festival, scheduled for June 1st at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, is waiting for damage assessments at the park to decide its fate.

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Damage at the Bentonville Bike Festival.
Damage at the Bentonville Bike Festival.

Officials Urge Caution and Patience:

While the extent of the damage is still being evaluated, initial reports suggest it may take several days, or even longer, to fully clear affected areas and ensure visitor safety. Officials urge residents and tourists to be patient as crews work tirelessly to restore access to these beloved outdoor spaces.

Stay Informed:

For the latest updates on park closures and reopening timelines, visitors can check the websites and social media pages of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (for federally managed parks), and city park websites.

Looking Ahead:

NWACC - Trail Tech

The full impact of the storm on Northwest Arkansas’s outdoor recreation industry remains to be seen. However, the resilience of the region and its dedication to preserving its natural beauty suggest a swift recovery effort is underway.

If you are in the area for the event or if you’re a resident looking for recreational activities, we suggest visiting facilities located south of the affected areas. Fayetteville and Devil’s Den State Park offer world-class trails and mountain biking, and they were not directly impacted by the storms.

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