Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Limits State Parks to Day Use Only
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) —Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism (ADPHT), today announced all Arkansas State Parks will be open for day use only effective 8 a.m. on Friday, April 3, until further notice. ADPHT is eliminating all overnight stay opportunities. These changes will maintain some access to parks at this time but discourage trips from out-of-state visitors. This move is consistent with 28 other states.
Due to the inability to offer adequate space for social distancing, the following areas and trails will be closed:
Cedar Falls Trail and Cedar Falls Overlook at Petit Jean State Park
Day-Use Area on Highway 300 and the East Summit trailhead parking areas at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, including access to the West Summit, East Summit, Kingfisher and Base Trails, the Little Maumelle River Boat Ramp and the Picnic Area
Fossil Flats Mountain Bike Trail and the Woody Plants Trail at Devil’s Den State Park
Additional trails and facilities may be closed if visitors are unable to maintain physical distancing on other trails or other day-use areas.
“Our state parks are valuable resources for the citizens of our state,” said Hurst. “We are making this decision to slow the traffic to our parks and to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. People may still come and enjoy outdoor activities for the day. Our uniformed staff will be reminding them to practice social distancing and be good stewards of our beautiful parks.”
Any deposits to the parks will be refunded, and any fees will be waived. Questions about reservation cancellation should be made to the parks directly.
Additional limitations to day-use visitation will be implemented to reduce the opportunity to spread the virus.
Parking will be restricted at highly visited parks to designated lots only and enforced through citations/tickets issued by Park Rangers. Some parks will close the entry gate to the park when it is full for crowd control.
Problematic areas such as trails that are either too narrow for proper social distancing or so popular that crowding occurs at the trailhead may be closed.
Park Rangers will enforce social distancing by patrolling parks and dispersing gatherings of more than 10 people. Uniformed staff, including superintendents and interpreters, will actively help educate visitors on the grounds on busy days.
Park Rangers or other park staff from across the system will be deployed to highly visited parks as needed in anticipation of crowds.
Complete and up-to-date information on the parks and closings can be found at https://www.ArkansasStateParks.com/covid-19-update.
ADPHT has three major divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage, and Arkansas Tourism. Arkansas State Parks manages 52 state parks and promotes Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas Heritage preserves and promotes Arkansas’s natural and cultural history and heritage through four historic museums and four cultural preservation agencies. Arkansas Tourism improves the state’s economy by generating travel and enhancing the image of the state.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.