Buffalo National River remains closed, but some not following rules
By Caitlin Sinett |
Posted: Tue 3:05 PM, Apr 14, 2020 |
Updated: Tue 4:48 PM, Apr 14, 2020
BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER, Ark. -- With its 95,000 acres of land, 100 miles of trails, and a 135-mile river, the Buffalo National River seems like the perfect place to avoid people.
"It is public land that's here for everybody," said Cassie Branstetter,
the Buffalo National River's branch chief of interpretation.
Apparently, too many people felt that way.
"We all have to do our part to slow the spread of the virus," Branstetter said.
The park closed more than a week ago after videos showed a long line of cars parked near the river while people were supposed to be social distancing.
Still not everyone is following the rules now, rangers reported that some people were still coming into the park a few days ago. Since the park closed, rangers have given out 16 verbal warnings and eight written warnings. About half of those went to people in Arkansas, the others were from out of state.
"It's just hard for everyone to understand or even to get that information who have been coming for years to the Buffalo National River," Branstetter said.
She said if a ranger finds someone in the park, they make sure to educate them first.
"In some instances, very very rare instances, if there are repeated folks who are attempting to not abide by the closure that's in time, there have been a few tickets that have been written," Branstetter said.
About eight citations have been given out, five to people from Arkansas and three out of state.
And even though turkey hunting season just kicked off, that's not allowed on park lands either.
Branstetter said it's up to the state and federal government as to when the park will reopen.
"We haven't heard any changes from those entities as of now, but whenever we hear that of course our goal is to open as soon as possible based on those health guidelines," she said.
It doesn't beat the real thing, but The Buffalo National River also has information and posts you can check out online if you're missing the park at home. Its website is www.nps.gov/buff/index.htm