Memorial Day Prep


Zoie Clift
travelarkansas@gmail.com
 

As folks start to make travel plans for Memorial Day,
I thought I’d update everyone on a few areas in light of the past storms that
had affected some areas of the state. 
Below are a few quotes and bits of information from colleagues in the
field. Conditions can change pretty quickly (as all who know Arkansas weather
can attest to) so as always check for updated road and weather information
before hitting the road. Enjoy!

 


 


“Camp Area A, C and D are open, “ said Lee Howard,
Park Superintendent for Lake Ouachita State Park in Mountain Pine. “That
amounts to about 75% of our campsites open and the remaining 25% with no timetable
for opening.” Other details: All cabins are open. The marina is
partially open and work has commenced to get the docks straightened out from
the wind damage. Electricity is on, but the telephone lines are still down.
Open for boat rental or gas sales. “Due to the flooding, historic Three Sisters
Springs is closed and the swimming beach is also flooded out,” added
Howard.  He also said all trails
are closed until further notice.

 

All quotes and information is from Bill Barnes, owner
of Mountain Harbor Resort in Mount Ida.

 

Actually Lake Ouachita [the largest lake in the state] is in wonderful shape compared
with where we were a month ago. Entering the season with extremely low water is
both aesthetically not very nice but is also a little dangerous with so many
islands at the surface, etc.   So – with that said – the lake is
beautiful; has started down very gradually; and should be wonderful for
Memorial Day weekend. There was some debris that washed in during the rains but
most of that has blown to shore.

Access to storage docks at all the marinas is a little
less convenient. Numerous walkways are under water, but as far as I know
everyone (I know we are) is providing shuttle service to all of their boats.
Fishing is very good with lots of fish in shallow water. I saw some nice ones
come in over the last week – both bass and stripers.

All of our facilities are open and all of the foliage,
flowerbeds, and the forest is fresh and green.

I washed my dogs for the first time on the launching
ramp a couple of days ago. The water isn’t bad. I wouldn’t go swimming
voluntarily yet, but by Memorial Day it should be great.  Some launching ramps around the lake
are closed. Folks should talk to the Corps or to the resort they are headed to,
but again, everyone has made provisions.


The LOVit Trail is fine.  A few trees down, but nothing that would affect a beautiful
hike.

To recap, everything at Mountain Harbor is open, and we are full
of smiling faces awaiting customers.

 

Ouachita National Forest


 
“Almost all of the recreation areas are back in
service after recent flood events,” said Alett Little, Acting Public Affairs
Team Leader for the Ouachita and Ozark/St. Francis National Forests.  “Both Charlton Recreation Area and Albert
Pike Recreation Area remain closed, however. It is always best for the
traveling public to check in with Ranger Districts prior to planning trips.”


 

 
“Lake Catherine was fortunate that we did not have any
flooding or storm damage,” said Richard Boyes, Superintendent at Lake Catherine
State Park in Hot Springs. “ We are open full bore and expecting a big Memorial
Day weekend.” Of note, all their cabins and campsites are booked for the
holiday but it’s still a good destination to check out during other times or
for day trips.  

 

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area


 
“Cossatot
is completely open,” said Stan Speight, Superintendent of Cossatot River State
Park in Wickes. “The river is back at normal stages so we should be set to go
for Memorial Day. The River Corridor Trail is finished and it’s a great trail
and enjoyable to walk, especially with the weather we have right now.” Of
note, as always, if are planning a canoeing or kayaking trip on the river,
check river levels/gauges before you go.
 
These are just a starting point of the many attractions found across the state. For further information on places and things to do here visit www.arkansas.com.
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