Parks and Recreation

Phase 1 Guidelines


  • May 5, 2020 – Camping opened for all visitors.
    • Camping remains limited to private recreational vehicles with self-contained bathroom facilities.
    • Self-quarantine guidelines to be followed by out-of-state travelers visiting from the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, along with the city of New Orleans and any international travelers.
  • May 15, 2020 – Planned opening of lodges, cabins and yurts for overnight guests on weekends (Friday through Monday), only.
    • Parks plan to open visitor centers, museums and exhibits, gift shops, golf pro shops, marinas and equipment rentals, as well.
    • Restaurants are also planned to open, following all ADH guidelines and with approved limited menus.
    • Staff will limit the number of visitors allowed into facilities and will enforce social distancing.

For a breakdown of what is open, limited, or closed, please go to the Arkansas State Parks website.

Quarantine requirement for travelers to Arkansas and those returning to Arkansas:

  • A 14-day self-quarantine is required for travelers entering Arkansas who have visited an international location or New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans in the previous 14 days. In the interest of the public health, these travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date they departed that location. They are instructed to notify the Arkansas Department of Health of their entry or return to Arkansas by calling the ADH Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-803-7847 or by emailing their contact information to


  • May 15, 2020 – Buffalo National River will resume day use only access for private and commercial floating on the Buffalo River, including all river access points.
    • All trails within park boundaries, except for the Lost Valley Trail, will be opened.
    • Limited restroom facilities will be available.
    • Park employees will be staffing trailheads and river access points to ensure traffic control and social distancing guidance.
    • Staff will be available to direct visitors to other areas of the park should locations become too congested to comply with health guidelines.
    • With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time: The Lost Valley Trail; Buffalo National River Headquarters building in Harrison; all established campgrounds in the park; gravel bar and backcountry camping within park boundaries; the Tyler Bend Visitor Center; the Steel Creek Visitor Contact Station; and the Buffalo Point Visitor Contact Station.


  • May 20, 2020 – Little Rock District visitors can begin making campground reservations May 7, 2020, with specific campgrounds scheduled to reopen on May 20.


  • May 11, 2020 – Ouachita National Forest officials announced that they are planning to reopen the Wolf Pen Gap Off-Highway Vehicle Trail complex, located near Mena. The area will reopen on May 15.
    • Designated OHV trails and trailheads will be open; however, the restrooms will remain closed.
    • Other developed recreation areas and campgrounds may not be immediately open and available for use.


The following measures are required:

  • The number of people allowed in the facility is restricted to up to 50 percent of the approved bather load or capacity.
  • Restrict pool access to fewer entrances as needed to control access and overcrowding.
  • Maintain a log of persons entering the facility when possible for use in contact tracing should an outbreak occur.
  • Screen employees for fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat or loss of taste or smell upon arrival for each shift and exclude them from work if they are ill.
  • Place signage regarding the COVID-19 symptoms and exclusions at all entrances. These signs should inform patrons and staff that those who have any of the following characteristics should NOT be allowed to enter:
    • Have had a fever of 100.4°F or greater in the last two days
    • Have a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat or loss of taste or smell
    • Had contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days
  • Place signage at all entrances advising the public that they may wish to refrain from entering if:
    • They are 65 years of age or older.
    • They have underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, asthma or weakened immunity.
  • Physical distancing of six feet should be maintained between people in all pool areas. However, family members may sit and enter the pool together.
  • Physical distancing must be enforced at slides, diving boards and other features that require waiting in line. Place markings on surface to maintain a six-foot distance and monitor for compliance.
  • The pool’s responsible party is required to maintain the safety of bathers by enforcing physical distancing of six feet.
  • Tables, chairs, water fountains and other high-touch surfaces should be disinfected frequently.
  • Adjust poolside tables or chairs so that seats are a minimum of six feet from seats at adjacent tables. Household groups may sit closer together than six feet at tables.
  • Maintain pool chemistry at the required levels. Test and document pH, free chlorine before opening and mid-afternoon to ensure proper residuals.
  • Snack bars are permitted, but no self-service condiments or similar items are allowed.

Pools and other water-related facilities which require lifeguards can begin immediately to open for lifeguard training purposes only, once approved by the health department.

This directive does not cover social events held at poolside. Such events are covered under the directives for large indoor or outdoor venues.