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Updated Recreational Land Openings in Arkansas

Searcy County Waterfall

Update for Arkansas State Parks, US Army Corps of Engineers (3 districts), US Forest Service (2 forests) and Buffalo National River

(Updated May 11, 2020)

This article will be updated as new information is presented. We do not have all the answers but hope this serves as a quick reference to what is opening when. It should be remembered that these agencies act independently. They have no sway over other parks not mentioned here including city and regional park systems. Generally speaking, if an opening is not listed for a future date, the agency has probably not made a decision on that. Please be easy on these places as they come back online, much of the staff may still be off property, and bringing them back will take time. As always, park staff is not there to clean up after us. Let’s continue to take care of these special places by picking up after ourselves, practicing social distancing, and respecting the rights of others to be safe. Remember, many of these places were originally closed because we couldn’t master the art of social distancing. If you are unsure about the differences in these Recreational Land Managers, this article should be helpful.

Arkansas State Parks – (Website)

  • Camping – Camping is currently open for those visitors with self-contained (onboard) bathrooms. They are open to visitors from anywhere with the exception of “hot spots” named by the Health Department (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans).
  • Cabins & Lodges – Cabins and lodges will be open as of May 15 under the same “hot spot” restrictions of camping but will only be available Friday through Monday to give staff time to safely clean these facilities between guests. This also includes Rent-a-RV and YURT facilities.
  • Other facilities – No timeline has been set for an opening for tent camping, restrooms, and bathhouses, or swimming. Visitor Centers are expected to open with limited services on May 15 and as of this writing, interpretive programming is set to also begin again on May 15.
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US Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District – (Website), Vicksburg District (Website)

  • May 20th is the date for both the Little Rock and Vicksburg Districts of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE). They will be allowing camping at select campgrounds and only allowing reservations paid online. They will be opening most bathhouses making tent camping possible.

US Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District – (Website)

  • No word on these campsites opening yet.

US Forest Service – Ozark-St. Francis (Website), Ouachita (Website)

  • Improved campgrounds in both Arkansas-based National Forests remain closed. We have not seen an open date yet.
  • Dispersed camping is allowed through the forest. Please follow the appropriate guidelines.

Buffalo National River (Website)

  • The Buffalo National River will open for day-use, hiking, picnic, floating on May 15th. No overnight stays.
  • They will have limited bathroom facilities and many buildings will be closed.
  • The Lost Valley Trail will remain closed.
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