RELEASES SAFETY TIPS FOR USING TRAILS AND OUTDOOR SPACES
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas State Parks remain open at this time to provide needed outdoor spaces for our guests. While we have some diminished services, the parks are open for day-use activities including hiking, running, cycling, fishing, paddling, wildlife watching, etc. It’s vital that people find ways to engage in physical activity and be out in nature during this time; the benefits to our immune systems and our mental health are significant. But it is critical that we do so in ways that will help keep everyone safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Before a visit to one of our parks, check the current status at each park by visiting https://www.arka
It is important to remember that Arkansas State Parks are not the only outdoor spaces that remain open. Arkansas is blessed with thousands of square miles of national forests, lakes and rivers, and regional and city parks right in your own backyard. While many of these places are also experiencing diminished services, most are still open to day-use activities and are excellent places to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining safe distances from other people. Please contact these parks directly for closure information or search online for updates.
During the COVID-19 event, things are changing quickly and parks across the state are working to respond to these conditions to keep our guests safe. Please respect our park staff when asked to not congregate or when they must close various facilities in the parks. Social distancing means physical distancing. People who live in the same household need to keep 6 feet from others.
Below are some recommendations on how to keep yourself, other guests and park staff, safe when spending time outdoors during this pandemic:
GO SOLO AND AVOID CROWDS: #6FeetApart #PhysicalDistanc
- Do not hold social gatherings at parks or anywhere.
- Stay 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Share the trail and yield to others to maintain a safe distance.
- Choose less frequented parks and trails. Do not park in a crowded parking lot or use a crowded trail.
- During this crisis, some parks and trails are open for safe activities solo or with people living in the same household.
- Examples of safe activities to do solo or with people living in the same household:
- Birding and wildlife watch
cking a ball
- Sit under a tree, read, write, listen to music, draw
STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY: #KeepParksSafe
- Do not visit parks that are closed.
- Do not use water fountains or playgrounds.
- If the parking lot is full, pick a different park. Do not park on the side of the road near the entrance; in most places this is illegal and you may be ticketed or towed.
- Many restrooms and facilities are closed; plan ahead before leaving home.
- Don’t stay long – give others the opportunity to have a safe experience.
- Stay at home if you or others in your household are sick.
- Keep your dog on a leash. Treat your dog as a family member by keeping them distanced from others and other dogs. Clean up after your pet.
- Leave no trace: pack out what you pack in because garbage collection is limited.
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.