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Increased Number of Visitors Focus of State Parks Staff

September 3, 2020 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

An increase in visitors at several state parks has prompted park officials to remind the public that COVID-19 restrictions remain in place and will be enforced. Pinnacle Mountain, Petit Jean, and Devil’s Den State Parks have all experienced similar rule infractions recently.

“We only allow visitors to park in the parking lot in designated parking spaces,” said Pinnacle Mountain State Park Assistant Superintendent Cale Davenport. “Once those spaces are filled, we are at full capacity. Some visitors have resorted to parking outside the park and walking in. However, that is not allowed, and those vehicles will be ticketed.”

Crowding on popular trails has proved to be a problem during this COVID-19 pandemic. The Yellow Rock Trail at Devil’s Den has a lot of foot traffic and the summit trails at Pinnacle Mountain were even closed for a time but have now re-opened.

“The West and East Summit trails on the mountain have always seen a lot of visitation, and now we are trying to limit that visitation not only for the safety of our visitors but also for the protection of the natural resource as well,” explained Davenport.

“We realize that many people enjoy hiking at Pinnacle Mountain, Petit Jean, and Devil’s Den state parks and want to keep the trails available to the public,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “But safety always comes first. Cooler temperatures in the morning and evening hours have expanded the number of people using these parks and we have seen a decline in COVID-19 rules being followed. We would like to urge everyone to abide by the conditions set out at this time, so we do not have to resort to closing off certain areas for use. We expect our park guests to be responsible park users with the pandemic and in leaving no trace.”

“Flatten the Curve” signage is posted in all state parks and explains the guidelines that need to be followed to maintain a healthy environment. Also, a list of what is and is not allowed is available online at ArkansasStateParks.com/Covid-19-Update.

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